In the following article, we want to get to the bottom of the question of whether chess for kids is useful and valuable.
It is well-known that young children have a huge capacity for learning! In their first years of life, toddlers acquire many various skills and abilities.
They are able to learn multiple languages as well as various physical competences like walking, jumping, climbing and a lot more. In addition, every child loves playing games. They start playing simple board games from a very young age. So why should chess for kids be any different?
Children can learn chess very early, some even as early as two years old! The key is to teach them in a child-oriented way, instead of relying on standard methods for adult learners or for school children.
Chess for kids should not be seen as a myth invented by parents, but a great chance to develop children in a social, as well as academic, way while having a lot of fun together!
Chess For Kids – How to teach them?
Don’t hurry! Chess is a highly complex game with billions of possibilities and many rules. So, don’t overstrain your kids with information en masse. Teach kids at the correct speed for them.
This speed will vary from child to child, so the educator must be alert to the subtle indicators that a child is ready to continue on to the next subject.
Moreover, select a suitable chess set for your child. It’s nonsense to buy an expensive wooden chess set when your child will start playing with it, starting to examine the beautiful shapes of each piece.
Buy a set with big plastic pieces which are robust and allow the child to discover all the nuances of the board the pieces.
Additionally, it is important not to thrust all six pieces into a young child’s hands, explaining to him or her how they move in just a few minutes.
- Improve your chess quickly with GM Lemos’ FREE Grandmaster Guide for Beginners – 2.5 hour video!
Unfortunately, that’s how many children are taught and that might just be why some lose interest quickly! It’s too much for most young (or old) children to grasp in one sitting.
Instead, it is a good idea to break up the lessons into segments, isolating the game into component parts. The book Chess Is Child’s Play – Teaching Techniques That Work! starts with the rook and goes over its movements in great detail.
Why Start With A Rook?
Many people begin their chess lessons by teaching the movement of the pawns. It seems logical at the time, but however, often it is not the perfect piece to start with and has been revealed to be a mistake.
That’s because the pawn is one of the most complex pieces! As such, it should be taught last. The rook’s movements are the easiest to grasp.
When breaking down all the aspects of a piece’s movements, there are many baby steps that can be applied. It’s much easier to learn these skills using just one piece on the board. So, start step-by-step with one piece after another instead of overwhelming children with all of them at once!
Why Tackle Chess At Such An Early Age?
The Benefits of Chess for Kids – Academic Reasons
If we all teach children to play chess when they’re four or five, they will be primed for school. Chess teaches children many fundamentals, like problem-solving, focus, patience and follow-through.
Imagine if every child was equipped with these skills as they entered kindergarten and first grade. They would embrace learning in a different way.
Ideally, schools would pick up on the trend and include chess in their curriculum. However, even if the schools didn’t teach the game and a child only played at home, he or she would have an advantage over non-chess playing students.
Studies show that chess helps children improve test scores in many subjects – math, science, reading and more. Children do better in school when they study chess.
Kids who play chess do not only have a higher IQ but they are also more creative – something which is helpful in every school subject. Particularly, their concentration and discipline are better through chess which is key to success at school.
Many children have problems trying to concentrate on one thing for a long time. The one-on-one chess lessons for kids are perfectly effective to train the attention span of a kid!
Use this ancient game to develop your child’s skills and ease the start of school for them!
The Benefits of Chess for Kids – Social Reasons
Chess doesn’t only help to train some academic skills, but it is also a very social game. Children learn to be patient and to wait for the opponent’s move.
Moreover, they get confronted with rules which they have to follow. Following concrete rules is hard for many children so it is very meaningful to start learning it early.
Then, you always have company while playing chess, so you can have a lot of fun together! Teach your children chess in a playful way, so that they can discover things and get excited without any boredom.
Don’t make your lessons exhausting but enjoy a fun and nice time playing the board game together.
Another great advantage of chess is that kids start to learn to deal with losses which is a key competency for their whole life and prepares them for school and social interaction with their peers.
Children are naturally drawn to chess. If they are taught properly, and not rushed through the basics, they want to play and improve. Frequently, many children love to show others what they are already capable of.
So, why not let a child show his or her wonderful abilities and teach his friends or even adults to play the game of kings and queens?
Don’t Be Intimidated To Teach Your Kids
Sometimes parents can be intimidated by chess. Perhaps they were taught the rules too quickly and never quite grasped them. These parents sometimes feel that a child must be a genius in order to pick up chess and play a game. This isn’t the case. Anyone can learn to play and the fact is that chess helps children become smarter.
Tackling this problem, the book Chess Is Child’s Play teaches the parent to play, while teaching them to teach their child. Even a parent who has never seen a chess set can pick up this book and teach their children.
If every parent introduced their children to chess before they started school and then continued to play with them at home a few nights a week, it would complement their children’s studies tremendously, giving them an advantage in life!
Conclusion – Chess For Kids Before They Start School
Finally, surely, children are able to learn chess before entering school at an age where they are capable of acquiring dozens of various things! The key to success in teaching kids chess is a lot of patience and a very child-oriented approach, capturing the special needs as well as the individual strengths of the child.
Have you already had experience teaching toddlers chess? Then feel free to share your story with us in the comments section.
Are you a parent who hasn’t had enough time to play chess for a while? Need a refresher of all the basic rules of the game? Then we have a special offer for you. Learn chess in only 30 minutes with one of the world’s best female chess players ever – GM Susan Polgar.
In her DVD, Susan quickly teaches you the basic chess knowledge including chess pieces, points, chess rules and moves in a playful way which you can transfer to the training with your child. Click here to get instant access with 40% off.
Other interesting articles for you: