We all want to foster a love of chess in our children, if not only for the way it’s proven to hone their minds and academic performance. But before our children can start talking about ELOs and dreaming in notation, we’ve got to start them on the right foot. Here are a few key lessons we’ve learned about teaching chess to children, that you can try with yours!
1. Simplify the Game
One thing to remember is that chess is intimidating. We come across adults in our classes all the time that are daunted by the many rules of our game, so you can imagine how a young child might feel when faced with all of the rules at once. When teaching chess to children, we often find that the child can benefit from learning a simplified rule set that focuses on the most intuitive rules first, and once those have been grasped we can add rules as we go along. This not only keeps the game simple for your child, but it keeps it fresh and exciting for them, and for you as a teacher for that matter!
2. Use Online Tools
Chess is a blast for those of us that fully understand the strategy behind the game, but what catches the attention of a child just beginning to learn the rules? Through our years of teaching chess to children and teens, we have found that visual learning is the key. Although chess itself is not a visual game, there are a range of online tools that help bridge that gap, using a variety of visual clues to help your child pick up rules they would otherwise have trouble with.
One of our favourite tools is ChessKid Adventure. It turns chess, a game that is foreign to your child, into a game that is much more familiar to the style they are used to playing. Creating these familiar connections is key to your child’s success in learning chess. We also have a great blog that highlights a few more valuable online chess tools.
3. Join a School Chess Club
There is no better setting to teach chess to children than group chess lessons, especially when that group is made up of their school friends! We see tremendous improvement in a child’s game when they are playing with their peers while under the supervision of a skilled chess teacher. When surrounded by familiar faces, children are more willing to take risks and commit to learning something new. Those same peers provide learning experiences for each other as well.
We offer chess clubs in schools across London and the UK! Our curriculum provides a solid foundation in chess for all skill levels, from beginners to competitive players, but at the same time, we aim to develop analytical, social, and organizational skills for our children in the most fun way possible. Reach out to us and let’s talk about bringing chess to your child’s school.