Spreadsheets without headaches, is this your latest parenting dream? Do you want to teach your children computer essentials, a marketable skill they will be able to start using today for the rest of their lives?
You can do it. It’s not as hard as it sounds. And it won’t be hard for them either. You simply need to take baby steps with this one, and you will find the task rewarding for all of you.
From identifying the basics to learning how to use formulas, the job is easier than you think. Follow this simple formula to learn how to teach your kid how to use spreadsheets and their simple formulas here.
Do Not Teach Them Brand Recognition, Yet
When you are teaching your children how to use spreadsheets, and even the parts of a spreadsheet, do not teach them brand recognition. In spreadsheet language, that means, don’t just use one application — as in, only Excel, or only Google Sheets.
Teach them how they are all used. Yes, they are all used very similarly, but they are also all used differently.
In many cases, the formulas are the same, but you will see a different dashboard and tabs menu between Microsoft and Google. Both of those things, the dashboard, and the tabs menu need to be learned individually.
So when you are teaching your children how to use spreadsheets, do Google Sheets one day, Microsoft Excel another, and so on. Keep alternating on these computer essentials.
Remember That You Won’t Be Able to Do it All in One Day
Nobody learns spreadsheets all in one day, and your tiny humans have tinier attention spans than you and your adult friends still learning Google Sheets do. So you need to take baby steps here. Put the time into chunks. Maybe schedule one half-hour a week on spreadsheet learning, until they get the hang of it.
Start the first week with the absolute basics. This is what a spreadsheet looks like. This is what a cell looks like. This is what a column looks like. This is what a row looks like
. You can leave it at that for the first lesson. Take baby steps. When they get tired or bored, stop, because there isn’t anything you are saying that will be retained.
Make Them Learn Computer Essentials the Hands-On Way
Teaching spreadsheets is an arduous task, but learning happens when the student is able to do the task themselves. So make sure that you have your children performing basic functions on the spreadsheets before you get into major formula work.
Let them perform some basic data entry to start. You can start with how to add numbers in a Google spreadsheet, then teach them how to copy and paste, and even how to format with fonts, colors, and different tabs on the spreadsheet.
You don’t need to get into conditional formatting just yet, but show them one basic function after another. When they start to feel comfortable with spreadsheets and just being on them, then they can move to more advanced things like formulas.
Teach Children the Formulas Last
The formulas in spreadsheet applications will always be evolving, or at least expanding. Currently, both Google Sheet formulas and Microsoft Excel formulas number in the hundreds, and there are thousands more on the way in the future.
This is not the part of spreadsheets that children really need to learn right now. A computerized spreadsheet program is useful for so many things, such as reports, data entry, sorting, charting, and organization.
At the same time, they can always look up formulas for the spreadsheets they are working on. The key to teaching your children how to use spreadsheets is showing them how to get comfortable with the application.
Spend more time on that, and how to look up things like formulas for when they will need them.
Definitely teach them a few basic formulas, as much as their age and skill level can handle. You may even want to move to some beginner conditional formatting where they can color code certain cells.
With formulas, focus more on the fact that they are there and can help, without really emphasizing a need to memorize 10 or 20 of them right away.
Teach Your Children Spreadsheets Today
When it comes to teaching your children how to use spreadsheets, start slowly. Start early too. This is a skill they will be able to take with them through life. If they can handle it in their early years, they may want to.
There is no reason a 7-year-old can’t be shown what rows and columns are if they are already learning how to add 1 plus 1 in school. Show them how to figure that out using tech and they might just come in handy when they apply for jobs using spreadsheets.
This is just a template of how to get that process started. You can find games online that can help you to teach them, bring arts and crafts into it if it will help, or incentivize the time with extra screen time if they do well.
The ball is in your court. You know them better than anybody, and you know how best to teach them computer basics for kids.
Take baby steps, and watch their knowledge base on computer essentials grow, and quicker than you think. After that, reward yourself too. This is not an easy task. Way to go for taking this on.