How to introduce programming to your child?

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Some time ago I was scrolling through Quora, looking at what questions I can answer and in that way potentially promote this blog.

Everything was going nicely until I read one question that was a bit weird at first. Somebody was asking “How can I effectively introduce a 12 year old child into coding and programming?”. There was not any description or extra information, just that question.

Then I was trying to remember when I was introduced to programming and realized it was around when I was 15 years old. So 12 years old is not that bad. Then I remembered that in high school there was a good guy in my class who already knew object-oriented programming while we were starting with programming. Cool, right? That guy had pretty strict parents. Oh no…

Questions like this are worth investigating further

Quora has a nice feature that presents you set of related and similar questions. I decided to check if there are more parents like this who want to teach programming to their children. THERE ARE SO MANY OF THEM.

Now don’t get me wrong – I believe that some children that age might be curious about computers or saw some movie about hacking and they decided that they want to learn to program. And that is 100% fine, you should let children try any profession and let them decide for themself. And if parents don’t know how to help their curious children then it is logical that they will ask a question on Quora.

However, knowing that guy from high school and his parents I think that some of those questions are products of greedy parents. I really believe that this is the same type of parents who push their children in sports so they can be professional athletes one day who will give them a lot of money.

They are doing the same thing with programming now. They heard that some programmers earn a lot of money so they decided to check on Quora how they can exploit their children.

If you doubt this and don’t believe me, I have so many visual pieces of evidence for you.

Exhibit A
Exhibit B
Exhibit C
Exhibit D

I will also give you this link so you can see more if you want. The most surprising thing is when you see that some of those questions are asked by people who claim that they have professional experience with programming. Did they forget when and how they started to learn to program?

It is not all that bad

It is so good to see that most of the answers to these kinds of questions are trying to convince parents to let their children be children. After all, they will have enough time to decide what they want to do in their life. And that is the right thing to say – don’t force your children to do something that they did not choose themself no matter how much money they will earn. They will spend a lot of that money on therapies later in their life.

Another good thing is that there is a whole new market you did not know exists until today. I bet you can sell a lot of things to these parents who are ready to invest in their children.

For example, I came up with this new set of children’s books

Children’s books to learn to program

For the parents

If you have a child and you are interested in introducing programming to that child then better think twice if that your greed talking or you are doing something good.

If you only have good intentions then I have something for you. However, it is important that you understand everything and then explain that to your child. If you as an adult can’t understand programming then how do you expect somebody much younger than you to understand?

The first thing I would recommend how to introduce programming to a child is like in this video. Do exact same experiment with your child and explain why they are wrong in their steps. This video is the best analogy for programming and it is easy to understand.

Do this challenge with your child as the first step to programming

After that, you should read this post – Learn programming from zero – the ultimate step-by-step guide. That post is explaining everything you need to know about programming basics. That way you will be able to help your child with the next step. The next step is to start with Scratch. Scratch is the world’s largest coding community for children and a coding language with a simple visual interface that allows young people to create digital stories, games, and animations. Scratch is designed, developed, and moderated by the Scratch Foundation, a nonprofit organization.

Scratch should be easy and fun enough for your child to see if it has any interest in programming.


Let the children be children.

This Post Has One Comment

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