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Do Children Like Having It Difficult?

Dec 4, 2014

Teaching something to your own children can be a delicate issue. Parents usually have very strong opinions on what their child ‘needs’ and what is ‘beneficial’ for him or her. Because of this, many parents turn away from professional advice, believing their child is developing in a completely different way.

However, this is only part of the story. Parents are right to cherish their children as unique personalities, but the general development and learning habits of children are well documented and conform to a specific pattern according to age, social background and health.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at how children develop with a little help from the child development information website.

Infants/Babies (0 – 2 years) This is a time for developing the bonds that will last a lifetime and providing the child with the inner resources to develop self-esteem and the ability to relate positively to others.

Toddlers/Preschoolers (2 – 5 years) At this stage children are now free to roam around their world. It is a time for active exploration of their environment.

School Age Children (6 – 12 years) While toddlers and preschoolers need constant supervision, school-age children gradually become ready for more independence. However, learning to make good choices and exercise self-discipline does not come easily for many.

Adolescents/Teenagers (13 – 18 years) A time to really begin defining one’s self and realistically contemplating the future. Skill development is accelerated to prepare for college or job training programs. Talents are perfected. Social skills are honed and relationships take on more of a serious nature.

Now that you are familiar with how children develop and what tendencies dominate in each developmental stage, let’s talk chess. For Chess, we need to look to the development of the brain. The brain of children will grow. You will that the way children understand certain aspects of chess will change according to their age and the time spent playing chess. In fact, there are different phases for children learning chess:

Material phase – children are very active in learning how to move chess pieces and how to take them from opponents. Sometimes they identify themselves with a specific piece. For example the powerful Queen and as long as they have that piece – they will only work with the Queen. This is very common and there is no need for discipline – let your child enjoy the power.

Spatial phase – this is when children learn to see the “board”. They learn to play with more pieces, and they start to see the goal (mate) easier, because of their overview. This phase allows children to greatly improve their skills, because they are motivated to win and they learn that in order to achieve victory – each piece has to be used.

Time phase – it can cost you or your child some years before the can see more moves ahead. By looking ahead, you can start to plan and have some goals during your Chess game. Using tactics to win a piece becomes possible.

There is no doubt that chess is a great way for a child to learn and develop both mentally and physically. But the main point is that learning chess isn’t the same as learning how to write – chess is fun!

However, to keep it fun you can’t push your children. Rather, you must allow them to learn at their own pace, and then when progress is made, move on to more difficult tasks.
For example – it is easier to learn how the rook piece moves rather than the knight, so your children should first focus on the rook. Once those movements are learned, they will have the motivation to move on to more difficult lessons.

The transition from easy to difficult has to be smooth, without any stress or pushing.

However, many parents make the mistake of teaching their child in a very strict way, the result of which is that the child will have a negative association with chess and there will be no pleasure or direct benefits from playing the game.

The merit of all things lies in their difficulty.
              Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers

Learning chess should be an exploration-discovery journey for a child, and it should be enjoyed! Have fun going from one square to the other, and if the challenge proves to be more difficult – go back and find the hidden secrets of the chess pieces, just like an explorer would.

By knowing the developmental phases you can now recognize how your children are learning chess and how to help them.

The biggest thing I have learned, and I can’t stress this enough, is to let the kids learn by exploring. Teachers need to find a way to step back and watch.
                                                       - Connie Davis

This attitude of ‘gaming your training’ is especially visible on Chessity – simply allow your child to go at his or her own pace and they will achieve spectacular results. What’s more, these results will be fun and have long-lasting health benefits.

In fact, there is a separate section, designed for little learners. Here children can easily play, learn and explore, with simple guides helping them to move forward.

Check it out here.

How do you use Chessity with your children?

Do they like to learn by themselves or with someone to help them?


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chessdrummingninja 21:52 - 4 Dec 2014
As a youth self defense instructor, I agree that we have to keep the children motivated in a positive, fun way. What we cannot, what we must not do as a society, however, is always "protect" them from the pressures of the world. In other words, there are strike outs in baseball. There are losses in chess. The biggest struggle I have right now is to tell some of my students that they just were not at all ready for the testing we did last night. Rather than give them a belt they didn't earn, I am going to stress that we'll work together more, everyone learns at their own pace and that we'll refine what they have learned and try it again in a few months. I'll highlite what they did well and show them where we can improve. The world would not have had Michael Jordan had he not been cut from his high school basketball game.
Laimonas 11:06 - 5 Dec 2014
Yes! I know exactly what you mean. When I was younger, I remember that every time I did not perform well in academics or sports, my teachers would not really encourage me, but acted as if "you did your best, it's ok" and my immediate thought was "No! I can do much better!" and so I was motivated to learn or train and I did perform much better :)

However, in my case there was another side to this - whenever my teachers would congratulate me for doing something exceptionally well, I felt proud and thought that I do not need to put in as much effort as before. This always resulted in poor results later.

So there are really two sides to this story, learning to be a teacher myself, I noticed that you must be a silent observer, who puts learners on the right track if they seem to have lost their way, but who does not interfere with their successes and failures, because they won't always have a teacher beside them later in life.

That's my two cents :)
combinatie 22:38 - 20 Jan 2015
MeesterFred 19:17 - 16 May 2015
Please review the "Time phase"-bit. It is misunderstood.
MeesterFred 19:17 - 16 May 2015
Please review the "Time phase"-bit. It is misunderstood.

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