Our kids are little work-from-home pros by now, and choosing the right computer to meet their needs can be crucial to their success and enjoyment.
Buying a computer for your child sounds like it should be so easy, but choosing the right computer for your child can be a daunting task. There are several things to weigh out as you narrow down your options.
Some questions you’ll want to answer before you begin to shop around are:
Our children are used to working with computers, smartphones, and tablets by a very early age. With our children using computers so frequently, it makes sense that they would want to know how those computers work and want to learn how to make computers work. That’s where coding comes in to save the day.
Coding is no longer just for professional adults pursuing a degree in computer science. Coding is for everyone, and that includes our curious kids. So there’s no reason that we shouldn’t encourage an interest in coding.
How can you tell if your child would be interested in coding? Well, if they don’t come right out and tell you they want to learn to code, it’s a good idea to look to their other interests for clues.
If you have a child that has expressed interest in making their video games someday, you’ve got a child that’s interested in coding. If you’ve got a child that asks you about how their tablet works, you’ve got a child that’s interested in coding. If you’ve got a kid that’s shown strong abilities in math or science but also has a creative streak when it comes to writing or drawing, coding is going to be right up their alley.
Many people, kids included, have a curiosity about coding, but they just don’t know what it is. Not knowing what coding is, puts it in an “out of sight, out of mind” zone. However, introducing them to coding can open up a world of possibilities and opportunities.
If you’ve already gotten to the other side and you’re ready for a computer to help your child get started, then you’re halfway to a new world. So, let’s get into it and figure out what’s the best choice for your child.
With the growing demands of technology in education, you’ve probably already been looking at finding the right computer for your child. Whether your child is doing school online, finding an interest in online games, thinking about starting a YouTube channel, learning to code, or just needs access to extra educational support, kids need access to a computer earlier and earlier.
The days of sharing one PC for the whole family are gone, but trying to buy enough computers for the whole family to utilize can get expensive, especially if you don’t know what each person really needs out of their computer.
For younger students learning to code, you don’t have to spend a lot of time on the technical specs of your child’s first computer. In this instance, look more at your budget and what you’re comfortable spending. Aim to find something within your budget that meets the need. A computer, desktop or laptop, with a wifi connection is really all your child needs to dive right into the world of coding.
You may want to save on things like the latest and greatest processor and instead spend the difference on a program that will allow you to monitor your child’s online activity. It’s incredible how fast a little online research can go horribly wrong. While we can’t protect our kids from everything, there are ways to keep them safe online without restricting the educational and fun opportunities that exist for them.
As your child’s computer needs grow, there will be opportunities to look into computers with more advanced specs. They might not change computers as often as you have to buy a new pair of shoes, but it’s not uncommon to need to ramp up the core or RAM of your child’s computer as they age. Once every 2-3 years is not unexpected.
If you’re a tech-savvy parent yourself, you may find that starting with a basic computer and building it up as your child grows might be the solution that best suits your family. Of course, building your own computer can get pricey, but when you have a machine designed specifically to your preferences and needs, it’s hard to find anyone into computers that wouldn’t geek out over that a bit. (And it lights up, Mom!)
For PC users, if you know you need to stick to your budget, there are fun ways to make your child’s computer more fun and engaging. When going the PC route, there are keyboard and mouse combos out there that are backlit with pretty colors for a reasonable price. A mousepad of their favorite character or subject can bring a pop of personality too.
There are cases, stickers, and laptop wraps for laptop users to express themselves. These little bits of extra effort can make sitting in front of the computer a little more fun, and it gives the child a real sense of ownership. When something belongs to us, we’re more inclined to take care of it or feel a responsibility.
Additionally, you may want to consider your child’s temperament and their proclivity for accidents that result in damaged property. Durability may need to be a top priority in these instances.
Lastly, If your child’s been on a computer for years and moved beyond basic coding, you may need to spend a little more time researching the right computer for your child. The basic specs for a computer to run programming courses for more advanced students are:
It’s hard not to want someone just to tell you that this is the student computer to meet every child’s needs, but if such instructions exist, they’re probably trying to sell you something.
However, with the questions mentioned above in mind, here are a few options to give you an idea of where to begin your search for your child’s computer.
It’s lightweight, durable, and offers the familiar feel of a touch screen tablet while introducing a laptop concept. It charges quickly, and it has long battery life. If your child is old enough for a computer, you’re probably very familiar with how quickly a kid can kill a battery, so battery life is huge.
Over a year ago, we probably didn’t envision our children hosting zoom meetings, sending emails to their teachers, and submitting their work entirely online. However, that’s the new reality, isn’t it?
This laptop is ready to meet a child’s work-from-home needs, and with its long battery life, it’s still ready after school for their playtime on the screen as well. Additionally, it can support different operating systems to suit your preference. Sometimes it’s easier to be your child’s tech support when you’re familiar with the OS yourself.
This is definitely closer to a grown-up computer. It has a powerful processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB hard drive. It’s versatile to allow for laptop and tablet type usage. A stylus can be purchased for your note taker or artist, and it has a great battery life, especially when you consider the processing power it’s bringing to the table.
These are just some of the many options available to parents. As with many purchases, it’s a personal experience to meet your expectations and stay within your personal budget. The best person to decide what’s right for your child is you.
Finding the right computer for your child means looking at all the variables specific to your situation. It’s always a best practice to consider your budget, and it’s also important to understand what needs need to be met with your purchase.
Consider your child’s age, amount of screen time, and the main use for their computer. When it comes to coding, consider whether or not they’re starting with the basics or they’ve been at it for years and are ready to advance.
Coding is the process of giving a computer instructions through a programming language, so as those instructions increase in their complexity, the computer’s ability to process the information should advance as well. If your computer is falling behind and can’t keep up with your child, it’s time to consider a new option to meet their needs.