In my first-ever post, I shared the first half of my fourteen tips on how to successfully help your kids new to chess thrive and get better at it. In this follow-up post, I share the remaining seven suggestions of mine. The following seven tips have a more holistic nature, and I intend to discuss a number of them in more detail in future posts.
Now, let us see what the remaining seven suggestions are!
8. Provide Constructive Feedback:
When reviewing games or moves, make them listen to their coaches for constructive feedback. If you know nothing about chess, do not use the chess engines to measure their accuracy or point out their mistakes. Leave that to their coach, but make them review the comments from their coaches. Also, encourage them to play the same opening even if they lose a game. At times, kids tend to want a change to brush off the bad memory. Let your child know their mistakes are now found and understood, and they will do better next time. Such confirmation of abilities could go a long way in helping a young player develop their own chess style and understanding of the game.
9. Set Realistic Goals:
Help your child set achievable goals related to their chess progress. These goals can be based on improving specific aspects of their game rather than just winning. There is no strong linear relationship between one’s knowledge of the game and their immediate results. Sometimes, a great deal of work pays off years later. For example, I studied the two knights versus a single pawn endgame at length back in 2001. However, such endgames scarcely happen; when they happen, they are usually an easy draw.
Nevertheless, I always played this endgame with good precision and technique. Finally, in 2023, my knowledge and technique came in handy, and I scored a much-needed win in this game. So, keep up with sustainable growth and believe that doing the right thing will eventually pay off!
10. Avoid Overloading:
Be mindful not to overload your child with chess-related activities or expectations. Balance is vital to preventing burnout and maintaining a healthy interest in the game. Once again, the key concept is “sustainable growth”.
11. Create a Supportive Environment:
Create a positive and supportive environment at home for chess learning. Offer encouragement, resources, and a quiet space for practice. Try to be present at part of their practice and give them praise for completing even the dullest tasks. Chess training is not fun at first, so your encouragement can go a long way to keep your kid’s interest high!
12. Be an Active Listener:
Listen to your child’s experiences and feelings related to chess. Be there to offer emotional support and guidance when needed. Sometimes, you must listen to your kid’s emotions and not offer solutions or advice in return. Sometimes, we chess players need to vent and we appreciate a silent listener.
13. Lead by Example:
Show your child that it’s OK to make mistakes and that you value learning and personal growth in your own life. I suggest you give examples of your own life experiences. It would help your kids to be more accepting of the ups and downs of this sport.
14. Seek Professional Guidance if Needed:
If your child becomes overly anxious, frustrated, or stressed about chess, consider consulting a child psychologist or sports psychologist who can provide specialized guidance. Remember that chess should be an enjoyable and enriching experience for your child. By providing psychological support and fostering a positive mindset, you can help them develop as chess players and resilient, confident individuals.
Before we are done here…….
Finally, do not forget that chess is a very demanding cognitive activity. The hours and time spent training in chess need to be balanced with growth in other aspects of your child’s life, especially physical activities or other activities related to the creative part of the brain. Doing so will help your kids improve at chess and turn chess into a robust educational tool that can help your child learn and develop critical thinking, decision-making under uncertainty, discipline, and mental prowess.
I hope this post, in a nutshell, has given you an insight into how to support your kids to fall in love with chess!