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Burnout Prevention for Young Coders: Techniques to Stay Calm and Focused While Learning to Code

Published on December 6, 2023 | Posted in  

Even the richest, most rewarding concepts can get tiring or tedious if you study them the wrong way or without ever taking a break. Some people think that diving headlong into a subject is necessarily the best way to absorb the material, but that’s not true! Plunging yourself too deeply can backfire by causing boredom and burnout.

There’s something overly severe about equating joylessness in learning with higher-quality learning, especially when the students are kids and teenagers. Pleasure and learning can go hand in hand. Indeed, they must! Kids should have fun — that’s a goal in and of itself. Plus, when learning is fun, kids learn more effectively and feel more motivated to enjoy a lifetime of learning.

RP4K is proud to prioritize fun in learning, and we know first-hand that there’s no conflict between the two. Let’s check out a few tips to help prevent young coders from feeling burned out.

Make Coding a Game

What is it that you’re trying to code? Many young programmers use their coding skills to design and create video games, which can be a very strong motivator. Imagine going from playing video games to being the one in the driver’s seat, building them!

RP4K sessions revolve around teaching kids how to build video games, ones they can really play with friends and family afterwards. Teachers often look for a carrot to dangle in front of students to keep them hungry to learn. When programming video games is the carrots, the teachers at Real Programming 4 Kids rarely need to look for more motivation.

However, they also use “gamification” dynamics in their sessions to harness what makes playing video games so engaging for learning purposes. Things like the score-counting mechanisms and different types of competition can be isolated and leveraged to help kids learn. There’s nothing boring about that.

Popular Languages, Suitable Levels

There’s nothing worse than putting too much on a student’s plate. Giving them more than they can initially handle may sour them on coding, discouraging them in an early phase of learning to code that’s so crucial to instilling joy and purpose.

woman on couch with a laptop, trying to concentrate

At RP4K, we only teach the in-demand coding languages, ones that employers and teachers will emphasize down the road. However, even young kids with no experience coding are ready to start learning simple programming languages, like Python.

From there, students improve and refine their skills in one language before advancing to the next one. As they move up, their confidence grows along with their abilities. The languages they learn get more powerful and let students convert their imaginations into reality.

We’re proud to teach the following coding languages:

  • Python
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • C#
  • C++

If a programmer can write lines of code in all these languages, they’ll be more than qualified for countless jobs, or they can go it alone and carve their own path as a designer of websites, apps, or video games. RP4K will never force the learning on our students or push them into the deep end before they’re ready.

We always prioritize fun and will only gradually ramp up the complexity so students enjoy the material while feeling stimulated but not overwhelmed.

Take a Break

There’s nothing like going for a walk to clear your mind, stretch your legs, and take a breather. Many studies confirm that taking a break between periods of learning helps people absorb the material.

Going for a walk can clear your mind. Maybe grab a bite to eat! It’s always better to learn on a full stomach. Nobody has the capacity to sit for hours at a time being a productive learner. You’ll go cross-eyed if you try to force it so hard.

Break your coding practice into chunks. Do 45 minutes here, 15 minutes off. You can change the ratio to suit your preferences, but don’t be scared to walk away from your work. It’ll always be there when you come back!

Partners and Community

Everything is more fun when you do it with someone else. Do you have any relatives or friends who like to code? Making a task into a group project brings some levity and fun.

Our weekly coding classes for kids are limited to four students each, so your child will have all the support they need from their teacher and peers. In over 20 years of doing lessons, we’ve found a maximum of three other students to be the right cut-off number. Students can talk to each other and work through problems together and won’t have to shout to be heard by their teacher.

Nobody wants to learn in a noisy, disruptive environment. Our teachers are all undergrads studying computer science and computer engineering, so they’re the perfect people for young coders to talk to about how to code and where coding can lead them after school. RP4K teachers also grew up playing computer games at home, and their passion for gaming gets passed down to their students.

Stick to One Task

Sometimes, the amount of work you need to do on a game or program can seem daunting. Breaking up the sections into chunks or tasks you do one at a time can really help make the goal feel attainable.

It may seem like a small thing, but defining what you want to accomplish in one sitting will help students focus on it. It blocks out unnecessary distractions and helps you concentrate on what really matters.

People need to stay motivated while coding, and a singular focus can really help.

Learning to code is excellent for kids for many reasons. These fundamental STEM skills help improve how they think and solve problems. Learning to program also helps kids as they advance through school and beyond, when they try to get a job or carve their own professional, digital path. But more importantly than all these things, kids need to have fun. Knowing a few tips to help concentrate helps kids learn, but it also makes the sessions more enjoyable. Nobody has fun when they’re struggling to focus, so that should be the only reason you need it!

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