Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Malika, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    We recently did a house exchange with some people who live in Paris and while there (spending time inside an alien house being challenging because of J's unleashed hyperactivity in a new place) taught him chess with a set belonging to the other family. It was just a kind of impulse on my part because I really wouldn't have thought that a five year old (unless some kind of intellectual prodigy) would be able to learn and play with any success - and certainly not learn strategy. However, to my great surprise, J has really taken to it and demands to play all the time. In a few weeks playing he has made a lot of progress and can now understand strategy a little and is able to think ahead to the extent of not playing a move which would endanger himself. Of course I am still verbally talking to him about his choices and sometimes being kind, as it were. Nonetheless I can see that if this carries on before too long he will be able to play a real game and maybe beat me (has to be said my level is most decidedly NOT that of a chess master :))
    Anyway, the reason I am writing about this is that I seriously think chess will help him with impulsivity. It teaches, above all, to look ahead and to think before acting. It also helps in a way with maturity because you cannot be naive and play good chess. All sorts of life lessons seem to come up when we are playing and I talk about them a little! I have read that chess also helps with school work and intellectual development generally. So I'd really encourage those of you who know how to play and have the inclination to teach your kids! It seems that even young children can learn - and J is, while bright in some ways, certainly not gifted. He's good at maths and chess is of course a mathematical, logical skill so maybe that gives him an advantage. Anyway, good at chess or not, I would far rather he was doing that than playing video games!
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My difficult child loved chess when he was younger. He could focus and he loved the strategy.

  3. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    My son loves chess. It is very calming for him.
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    A very good idea. I often think adults tend to under estimate children.

    My grandma taught me to play checkers at 2 or 3 yrs of age. Once I had the basics down, which c''s checkers (lol) she no longer either talked me through it and played to win, as did the man she worked for. By the age of 4, I was beating them as much as losing. It gave them someone else to play as a partner. I started teaching Darrin around the same age........but easy child was determined to play "nice" and so the concept was lost. I may start him again this winter with no playing nice and see if he can pick up on the planning ahead part. I'm big on once they have the rules down, they win on their own or not at all. Teaches that you can't win every time, motivates them to think before they act, and is one heck of a triumph once they do win a game.

    Card games are good too. Grandma had me playing rummy by the end of kindergarden. :)
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    My father started teaching me all of his hobbies when I was about 3 years old, and chess was one of them. And he was too much of a narcissist to let anyone win against him, even a 3-yr-old girl. Every victory, I earned.

    I think chess really helped me with focus, planning and strategy, pattern recognition and all sorts of other things. I think chess has a reputation for being a highly challenging game, but it doesn't have to be. You can play it at many different levels, and enjoy it at each one.

    I think it's a great idea.
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well, we've played two games today (one at lunchtime, one after school) and for the second I helped him very little - just pointed out a suicidal move he was making a couple of times. I won and he just clapped - no tantrums or upset. So that was good :) Chess is too difficult a game for me not to help him a bit at this stage, otherwise I would just win very quickly every time and he'd get discouraged but I don't see it as being about winning or losing anyway. It's just an opportunity to practise some skills... eg he sometimes wants to tell me what he's planning or point out things to help me, in the chattering, hyperactive way, and I tell him it's not appropriate, he has to keep it in his head...
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Malika... with "our" kids? absolutely everything we do is geared toward "teaching opportunities". It isn't the skill-of-the-moment or even the activity-if-the-moment, but rather, what can be learned during this activity? and yes - how to communicate, when to not communicate, how to think inside your own head, looking/planning ahead... vital, real-life skills.