Introducing Girls to Code
As a VP at Hackbright Academy, (the leading coding school for women) people always ask, “What is the best age to introduce my daughter to code?” My answer.… “As soon as possible!” The same goes for all the STEM sciences (Science, Tech, Engineering and Math.) It’s never to early to introduce a child to something new. The next question they ask is always– How?
Every child is different, but why not expose them to “all things science” early on in a fun way. There are: science museums, science based board games and video games, science based TV shows, experiments you can watch on Youtube, great tutorials by Khan academy, coding camps for kids, and the list goes on. The earlier any child is exposed to something new, the more it opens their eyes to possibility. It makes them curious about the world. First hand exposure is always a great tool and it provides a safe environment for children to ask questions if they are a bit shy.
The other day I passed a dad and daughter on the street. They were crouched down on the sidewalk looking at something. (I’d say the daughter was about 7 years old.) Once I got closer, I could see that they were inspecting an acorn. A very large and lonely acorn that seemed out of place on such a busy city street. Where did it come from? The dad was talking about what an acorn is, what it does, the shell, how it will spout, etc. He was also taking the time to answer all his daughter’s questions. It was a wonderful exchange and teachable moment that they were both clearly enjoying. He didn’t rush by the acorn on the sidewalk, he stopped and took notice of his daughter’s curiosity. He used the opportunity to teach her about nature. This type of time and patience helps ignite curiously in kids. So, introduce your child to code (or any science) when you are ready to dive in and be part of the conversation with them. If they see that you are engaged and curious then they will be too.
If you need help identifying some great reseources for your child, just reach out!
Visualization and Mindfulness for Teens and Tweens (guest blog)
Everyone has anxiety, including teens and tweens.
Anxiety is important.
It’s a natural reaction that our body has to a new situation. It serves as a basic survival function – like a warning system that alerts us whenever we perceive a dangerous experience.
But for some, it works over time and needs to be controlled- especially for young people.
These meditation techniques can help your tween or teen with anxiety, and give you the tools you need as a parent to help them overcome these challenges.
- Visualization– The tween/teen needs to talk about their anxiety in tangible ways. What does it look like? How big is it? Where does it live? What does it sound like? Eventually, they draw the anxiety as they see it and we talk about the details. Basically, have them paint a very vivid picture of their anxiety. The key is to get them to connect their anxiety to the painting instead of some scary elusive being next time the anxiety visits.
For more from this article, go to http://blog.sivanaspirit.com/visualization-mindfulness-teens-tweens/
When working with teens, always be authentic.
[Authenitic— of undisputed origin; genuine.
Whenever I’m asked about my work with teens, I remind people that the key to success with this age group is being authentic. I always say: “Teens can stiff out an inauthentic adult in seconds.” ….but what does being “authentic” really mean?
- Do not be judgmental. Meaning…. just listen to them. Don’t be shocked or surprised by what they say. Sometimes, they will tell you things for the shock value alone to see how you will respond. The key is…..DON’T!
- You don’t always need to lend advice. Just listen to them. As easy as it can be to lend them guidance at this age, hold back sometimes.
- Don’t ask soooo many questions. This will easily annoy or frustrate them.
- Don’t cut them off or redirect the conversation. Let them take the conversation where they want.
- Maintain eye contect and show other visual signs of confirmation (such as, head nodding, smiling, etc.)
- Last, but not least, be present and engaged. Regardless if they are talking about a minor issue from school or a serious struggle with a friend, it’s important to them. And if it’s important to them, then it should be important to you as well.