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As parents, we’re proud when our kids learn to sing “A B C D E F G…” But in today’s digital world, we need the Alphabet Song version 2.0. It goes something like this: A S D F G H J K L ; …” What? Semicolon? Yes! It’s part of the home row on your keyboard – which means it’s part of ABC 2.0.
Although we’re trying our best to unplug and balance our kids, we know they’re still absorbing technology: The latest national study compiled from Common Sense Media shows kids 8 and younger are accumulating record amounts of digital media per day. More than half of kids between ages 5 and 8 use mobile devices, and 9 out of 10 use a computer. The stats on our 2-, 3-, and 4-year-olds are not too far behind. But what are they doing besides playing apps and games?
With all this screen time, young kids are easily picking up all kinds of unhealthy tech habits and inefficient ones, too, like hunting and pecking at the keyboard. Believe me, it’s way harder to teach a child to break bad keyboarding habits later on – which is why teaching your kids to type is more important than you think.
Think about it: Whether your child is working on a tablet, laptop, smartphone, or traditional computer, all devices today still use a QWERTY keyboard. In the same way learning letters and their sounds is the gateway to literacy, proper keyboarding is the gateway to digital literacy. So the simple answer is: You should start introducing your child to the keyboard at the same time your child starts to show an interest in all of this fascinating technology.
Now mix learning letters with learning keyboarding, and you’ve got a recipe for preparing your child for school and the digital world. Kids as young as 2 years old can learn both letters and the keyboard, and quickly move on to proper techniques, such as curling their fingers like a “kitty cat” and meeting F and J, the “line leaders” of home row. (Discovery Kids Puterbugs was designed to help with exactly these skills.)
Today’s media is occupying such a substantial place in our children’s lives. It’s time we pay attention to what they’re doing on it, and teach them healthy habits – including proper keyboarding – early on. Now I can guarantee it will be cute when your preschooler rattles off the letters of home-row and pronounces the word “semicolon”, but it’s even sweeter when she can locate it on your keyboard.
For a limited time, save up to 50% off online membership to Discovery Kids Puterbugs – fun, teacher-created lessons that safely introduce kids to typing and technology while they learn letters, reading and writing. Check out www.discoverykids.com/puterbugs and enroll with Promo Code: TYPE2LEARN
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Laura St. John is co-creator at Discovery Kids Puterbugs, the largest provider of computer classes for kids. In addition to online membership, classes are also taught by certified trainers at select locations. For more information on class schedules near you, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.