Computer Lessons

Easy ways to help your child learn computer skills

How do you teach your child computer skills? All that's really needed is having a computer available for your child to use. Most kids find computers fascinating and will take every opportunity to use it.

The first step is to set up a workstation for your child. This is important because the ideal positioning of the keyboard, mouse and monitor is vastly different for a child than for an adult. If you try to share a work area, one of you is going to be at risk for repetitive stress injury. A child-sized work area with the computer set up for their use is the best solution. Buy a couple of his favorite video games for the computer and load up on free software from educational sites. Voilà! Your child will do the rest.

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Take a few minutes to explain the basics of turning the computer on and off, logging in and accessing programs and let them go to it. Many children's programs are set up as games that teach basic keyboard usage, drag-and-drop or copy-and-paste techniques and mouse usage. Other computer games have detailed instructions in advanced keyboard operations and some basic computer skills. Typing game commands improves word-processing skills and your child's vocabulary.

There are also many programs available to help with school projects and specific subjects. Some of these programs teach your child how to do computer-based searches and help develop Internet skills. Schools typically already use these programs to teach children. Contacting the school might give you an idea bout which program you can consider to keep everything consistent.

Don't forget to take advantage of the many parenting options offered in the computer. These options provide filtering of your child's online activities and protective guidelines in their user account. Although Web searches are excellent sources of information for research papers and school projects, there are certain precautions necessary for children on the Web. There are actually sites online available for children that are designed to teach children Web safety. These sites have security measures to protect your child while helping them to learn Internet skills such as managing downloads, website construction and e-mail usage.

All of these skills will help prepare your child for functioning in our computer-based world. With computer and Internet skills your child can find any information they need from anywhere in the world, save it into their computer and use programs to do everything from write a report, design a website or plan an oral presentation. The world is quite literally at their fingertips.

By Cynthia Albillar