Extracurricular activities for kids can be very hit or miss in holding their interest. With some they’ll find a lifelong passion or interest, but others might not make it through a school year. When it comes to learning how to code, there are many factors that can impact your child’s interest in this skill. Find out the most common reasons why kids stop their coding journey, and what you can do to make sure they get all the benefits of learning to code.

Starting With the Wrong Language

Different coding languages

There are many programming languages in existence. Especially for parents who don’t have any experience with coding, it can be difficult to decide which one is best for your child. What’s most important is making sure your child starts with a language that is ideal for beginners. Choosing a language that is difficult for beginners sets kids up for failure and frustration right from the start.

While many college programs might begin with Java or C++, these languages are not ideal for kids who are just starting out. Choosing a language with a syntax that is less rigid and easier to learn is ideal.

It’s also important to consider why your child is interested in coding in the first place. Kids who want to create their own websites should definitely consider HTML and CSS along with JavaScript. Those who have a goal of creating their own games would do well to start off with Scratch before graduating to more advanced languages that game developers use professionally.

Also make sure to take your child’s age into account. Elementary-aged students often do better starting with block-based languages like Scratch before moving on to text-based languages. Middle and high schoolers can start with easier to learn text-based languages like Python, HTML/CSS, and JavaScript.

Picking the Wrong Program

Just like you don’t want to pick a programming language that is difficult for beginners, you also don’t want to choose a program that isn’t tailored to your child’s age and experience level. Enrolling younger kids in programs that are meant for teens or adults makes it more likely that they’ll fall behind, not fully comprehend what is being taught, and ultimately want to quit.

Kids also benefit from learning how to code from a live instructor versus a self-taught program or series of videos. Having a teacher available to answer questions and show coding concepts step by step is invaluable for young learners.

That’s why all of CodeWizardsHQ’s classes are taught online by a live teacher. Programs are divided by age group – elementary, middle, and high school – so the classes are tailored for each specific age range. Each program also follows a structured curriculum that focuses on project-based learning. Every coding concept is taught and mastered through fun projects, with students building and customizing their own games, websites, and apps. Not only does this make learning to code fun, but it gives students incentive to keep learning when they get to see results from their lessons right away.

Frustrations With Debugging

Frustrations with debugging

Learning how to code is similar to learning a foreign language – each programming language has its own syntax that you have to learn to be able to write the code correctly. Learning the rules of a particular language takes time, and kids are bound to come across errors as they learn. That’s where debugging comes in, which is the process of finding and fixing errors, but it can be frustrating. Especially for kids who are used to learning things easily, debugging can be discouraging and lead kids to want to quit.

Strengthening problem solving skills is one of the huge benefits of learning how to code, so it’s important as a parent to support your child when they come across roadblocks. Coding also teaches kids how to practice computational thinking, which is the process of approaching a problem step by step in a logical manner. Encourage your child to take each error one step at a time to help minimize feeling overwhelmed.

While it’s natural to feel some amount of frustration when dealing with errors, the goal is to persevere through that frustration. Using extra available resources can help in these situations. For example, CodeWizardsHQ offers live homework help sessions and has an active student forum where kids can go for help as well. If your child is struggling enough to want to quit learning to code, even after additional help, it’s important to consider if an adjustment needs to be made with the language they’re learning or the program they’re using.

Benefits of Coding

There are many benefits to learning to code that make it worthwhile for kids to stick with it, even if it’s tough in the beginning. As mentioned earlier, it really does provide a great framework for problem solving and computational thinking that kids can use in any subject in school and beyond. As they get further into coding, they’ll also get extra practice with math, both with actual numbers and with concepts like variables.

For kids with a creative streak, coding opens up a whole new world to what they can create. Programming allows kids to make interactive websites and games. In fact, several CodeWizardsHQ students have incorporated their own artwork and music into their projects.

Ultimately, with technology so much a part of our everyday lives, coding sets kids up for success in the future as well. Not only are programmers highly in demand on the job market now, but more and more jobs benefit from having coding skills. Having programming knowledge really does give kids a head start on the future, in addition to a fun skill they can use right now.