As the world continues to evolve in more tech-centric ways, more and more parents are dealing with issues relating to kids and coding. For one thing, a lot more kids are showing an interest in coding. They’re growing up in a tech-oriented world, and programming is a relevant subject in their lives. For another, though, there is actually a growing link between coding and academics. An article on kids and coding written just last year in the U.S. noted a “push to include computer coding” as a regular subject, with 20 states evidently having enacted legislation to this effect.
None of this means that coding will replace math, science, or reading courses in schools. But it becomes more and more relevant, and that should only expose more kids to the challenge, excitement, fun, and opportunity of computer-related education. And because of this, we wanted to provide a few worthwhile ideas for parents whose children are already showing interest in this subject.
4 Constructive Ways to Support Your Child’s Coding Interest
1. Enroll in a Coding Course
The idea of enrolling a child in a coding course is something we have covered previously, and as expressed at that time, there are various benefits. First and foremost, even for kids who aren’t considering a serious pursuit of programming, coding encourages critical thinking and creativity. Thus, a course can be viewed as part of general childhood development. More to the point, though, a course in coding at a young age can help to set an interested child up for a more serious pursuit and eventually even career opportunities down the road.
2. Seek a Mentor
One of the challenging factors in all of this right now is that while there is growing enthusiasm for including coding in school curriculums, schools themselves aren’t always equipped to handle it. In many cases, there isn’t a faculty member on hand who can teach a course on computer programming languages, and schools won’t always make hiring such a teacher a priority. So, if your child shows interest in coding but doesn’t have access to the relevant education at school just yet, you might consider seeking out a tutor or mentor. Even an hour or two each week outside of school can help to jumpstart your child’s coding education and set him or her up to be ahead of the curve when classes become available.
3. Save for University
Sometimes those classes don’t become available until university — which, incidentally, is where a student will still find some of the best and most thorough training for advanced programming and computer science. For this simple reason, another one of the best ways you can support coding interest is to take a long-term view and start saving for his or her university experience! For many in Canada, this means taking on a Registered Education Savings Plan, which is basically a tax-advantaged way of saving tuition. According to a guide to RESPs, these plans involve the government matching up to 20% for a $2,500 contribution per year, which can certainly add up over time. Starting early will give you the best shot at helping your child cover university costs — and, by extension, the coding preparation needed for a future career move.
4. Unlock the Tech World
Lastly, no matter how old your child may be — in grade school just beginning to take an interest in programming or on the cusp of university eyeing a computer science major — you can support the interest by unlocking the tech world! We mean that you should encourage a child with these interests to listen to and read content about this world, both in broad strokes and about actual coding practices. The best tech podcasts can make for a good start and help a child get a sense of what sorts of industries and practices a coding career may lead to. Beyond these, though, there are also additional podcasts, YouTube channels, books, and documentaries that will further expose your child to the ins and outs of programming. Making these available, within reason, is an excellent means of support.
For many parents today, it’s still a bit of a strange concept — a kid more interested in computer code than math, science, or reading. But there are more and more kids who fit this description, and they too should be guided through the appropriate education and opportunity. By taking the steps above, you can provide incredible support for the interest and possibly even the foundation for a strong career.