It is never too early to start to tech your kids computer skills. Today’s younger parents were brought up with computers in school, although older parents (40+) have had to learn by trial and error.
The future is high tech, and is going to get even more so. Children of today, therefore, are going to have to handle computers in the same way that older parents had to learn to ride a bike. That was about as high-tech as it got in the 1970’s, but things have come on apace.
You can start to work on computer skills for your kids as soon as they are old enough to be able to press a button. However, at that age you have to sit alongside them; you can’t give them a project and tell them to get on with it.
To begin with, you can teach them how to boot up the computer and how to use the mouse. In the early stages you will find that there are lots of games online that are designed for infants and toddlers, and it is surprising just how fast they will “catch on” when they discover the fun that can be had. There are digital coloring books, memory games, and animal games, all of which provide entertainment at the same time as your kids are learning what the computer can do.
As children grow older you can expand their knowledge by doing things like setting them up with a Facebook page. Sit with them while you explain what they need to click on next. It will take time at first, but they will soon be chatting with their friends.
Of course, it goes without saying that you should ensure that you have the appropriate parental controls switched on, so that kids do not inadvertently come across websites that you do not want them to visit.
As your child gets older, you will find that there are many websites out there which teach children computer skills by using interactive lessons so that they can begin to learn word processing and things such as how to use the keyboard. Sit with them while you use your computer yourself, and explain what you are doing and why you are doing it.
When your kids are comfortable with using the mouse and keyboard you can go on to more advanced skills. For example, you might want to set them up with a free email account. You can then send them emails telling them things such as the fact that you have just left work and will be home in an hour, or you could ask them what they would like for dinner. Once they have mastered email, they will be able to talk to other relatives, whether in the US or even abroad.
Whether you want to let them play computer games on an Xbox or Playstation is something you need to consider carefully. Many kids today spend hours in their bedrooms glued to their screens. While you have a choice about what games you let them have, remember that many of these are extremely violent, and not really suitable for youngsters.
There is also the consideration of health. Spending hours cooped up in a bedroom when they could be getting some exercise learning to play tennis, or going for a walk in the woods with your dog does not lead to a healthy lifestyle, and at the same time they will be missing out on expanding their horizons in the world away from the laptop.
If you want your kids to grow up as well-rounded individuals today, you need to tread a very fine line between the real world and that of total dependence on the computer.