Uncertain times are difficult for adults and especially tough for young minds. Currently, we are learning to live with COVID-19 and it has been more challenging for parents with younger children. Today’s kids are under a big amount of stress and studies show that heavy stress loads have negative effects on their mental development.
There are a lot of sources of stress for kids. Also, their stress may be intensified not just by what’s happening in their own lives, but also by what’s happening in their environment. Hearing you complain about work or discuss world news can cause stress so it’s important to be careful about how and where grownups discuss current global events inside your household. Children pick up their parent’s anxieties and start to worry themselves.
The pandemic may end, but many are worried about the long-term mental health effects as a result of distress due to the current health crisis, especially among children. Studies show that children in quarantine during previous outbreaks like the Ebola, SARS and H1N1 indicated that children are more vulnerable to the psychological effects of quarantine that disrupts their everyday lives than adults.
For children experiencing distress, they can turn to coding as an outlet. Coding uses the elements of art and visual language while building on the fundamentals of problem-solving and creativity in a way where children are more comfortable expressing themselves – visually. Going out of the usual treatments, coding’s cognitive benefits can help alleviate the stressors in children in a time of crisis. It also serves as a productive coping mechanism in the years to come.
Distress in Children
First, let’s define what distress in children looks like.
A recent article in Psychology Today explains quarantine’s negative effects of isolation and restrictions on their lifestyle on children’s mental and physical health. Worse, parents do not have the resources to help their children. As a result, there is a growing concern that the psychological impact of the pandemic on children could potentially be ignored and discounted.
Distress in children manifests differently according to age. For instance, preschoolers experienced clingy behaviours, bad dreams, speech difficulties, and fear of being alone. Older children aged 6-12 and adolescents aged 13-18 experienced reactions such as sleep disruptions, changes in appetite and physical symptoms like rashes, headaches, etc.
How Coding Help Children Fight Distress
Coding and computer literacy has been recognized as essential parts of childhood education in recent years. It seemed to have replaced learning a second language for many young learners. However, one thing that’s an often-overlooked benefit of coding is the ability to teach kids about coping with distress through problem-solving, computational thinking and creativity. Computing projects can also provide a structure that allows children to foster collaboration, persistence and communication. In other words, coding exercises provide learners with many coping skills recommended by experts.
Creativity and Problem-Solving
Research suggests that nurturing a child’s problem-solving skills improve their overall mental health. A study shows that children who lack problem-solving skills may be at a higher risk of mental health issues. Parents and teachers introduce problem-solving through modelling and instruction, testing a child’s logic and critical thinking, traditionally taught through traditional activities like block play and obstacle courses.
But unlike traditional activities, children who code are introduced to problem-solving and creativity, allowing them to build unique projects, explore ideas and express who they are. They learn how to manage frustration and find solutions rather than just giving up.
By applying coding and computational exercises, young adults and children experiencing feelings of confusion or distress, quarantine-related or not, may build up resilience and rely on new, proven coping mechanisms.
According to experts, computational thinking has also become a fundamental skill for kids like writing, reading and math. A 2019 World Bank report on children learning to code explore the relationship between mental health, computational thinking and coding. The report suggests that coding is linked with computational thinking. So, by getting children to code, we help them develop computational thinking abilities.
Moreover, the report argues that the best reason for kids to learn computational thinking and coding is because it improves mental health development, both cognitive and non-cognitive.
Read more about Computational Thinking here.
Why Children Should Learn to Code
While coding offers many benefits for children, here are some reasons why they should learn to code and how it could foster mental development that leads to better coping and stress management.
1. Coding nurtures problem-solving and creativity
Problem-solving and creativity are both key components of coding. Together, they help children with their self-expression.
2. It improves logic and critical thinking
One of the most important benefits of coding is the ability to improve children’s critical and logical thinking as written in the book called Innovative Technologies and Learning.
3. It improves children’s mental development
Teaching coding to children could lead to improvements in their cognitive abilities like memory and attention, as well as non-cognitive skills like collaboration and teamwork.
4. Coding fosters early literacy and development
As a form of literacy, coding encourages new ways of thinking. Experts urge people to think beyond the traditional views of coding as a technical skill, but rather a way for kids to achieve literacy in the 21st century like reading and writing.
Children who learn to code also learn a lot of life lessons. Read more about what these are and why children should learn to code here.
Coding bootcamps for children
You as a child knows how fun it is going to boot camps based on childhood experiences. Coding bootcamps introduces the world of coding and programming to kids. It provides a fun and thrilling activities that help kids learn and understand the basics and principles of coding. Other than that, coding camps also expands your child’s horizon to computer sciences ranging from coding to artificial intelligence.
Skill Samurai’s coding bootcamp is a surefire way of making code learning more fun and interesting. Now that the lockdowns are easing up, we are reopening our doors too. Try our coding classes and get an intro offer. Enrol your child now.