The life changing benefits of chess are no secret. Problem solving skills, reading levels, academic performance, & social intelligence are all things that chess can help your child excel at. The hurdle is always introducing your child to chess in a way that will inspire them to continue with it on their own accord.
Introducing Chess at the Right Age
Some chess prodigies pick up their first piece before they can walk, but that doesn’t mean this is the way to go. Introduce chess to children when they are at a maturity level at which they can handle winning and losing. Understanding strategy is also something that needs to come first. These are all traits you can pick up on when watching how they handle other games.
Around 5 years old, when a child starts schooling, is a great time to consider chess as an extracurricular activity. Your child is already developing the skills required to become a great student at school, and it’s easier on him or her to apply these skills to chess.
Where to Start
School chess clubs are an excellent way to start the journey. School chess clubs are often run by either teachers, or hired coaches. Introducing chess to children with success requires just the type of skillset that teachers/coaches have. Rather than jumping straight into the deep end, a good coach or teacher will break down the game into digestible pieces. This is so important if you want to keep the game fun for your child, instead of turning it into a chore they have to do. Once it’s fun, you’ll notice that your child will take on much of the work of learning themselves.
Tools That Will Help
There are two things to keep in mind. The first is that introducing chess to children can look very different from actually playing chess. Often games and apps emulate certain chess ideas in ways that children can understand. The puzzles and games might look much different from a chess board, but the concepts are directly related to chess, and that’s what’s important. Chesskid.com is a great resource to help introduce chess to children. The visual style and simplicity are perfect for a child to easily pick up on.
Another great tool is YouTube. Kids Academy is a great YouTube channel that has some introductory videos. Simple concepts, fun characters, all animated to keep your child’s attention. This can be a great introductory tool to prime your child’s mind to the concepts of chess before they join their school chess club.
When you’re ready to help your child take the first step into chess, we’re here to help! We love setting up chess clubs in local schools. Sharing the love of chess is what we do best.