There are many opportunities for young children to use the computer, like when using Rusty and Rosy’s Reading™ software. However, not knowing how to use the computer properly can make it difficult for young children to really enjoy the experience. My children are often clicking the wrong buttons, especially the right button on the mouse, and closing their screen or taking a big detour inside the computer somewhere!
I used to work for a company where I taught computer classes for children as young as three-years-old. Working with those young preschoolers I learned some tricks to help make using the computer and mouse a little easier. (These tricks even work for adults who are beginners on the computer!)
Whether using a mouse that has two mouse buttons or using a mouse that has one button (such as an Apple mouse), the first thing to teach your child is where to place her hand on the mouse. This can be done with the help of two different stickers:
- Choose two stickers that differ in color, shape, or both, and that are small enough to fit on the mouse.
- Place your child’s hand on the mouse, so you know where her fingers reach.
- Put one sticker on the left button. On an Apple mouse, put the sticker on the left side of the top of the mouse.
- Put the other sticker on the left side where your child’s thumb rests.
When my daughter was two, it helped to put a third sticker on the right side of the mouse, on the right button, to teach her middle finger where it needed to be and keep it from getting super clicky.
I used a yellow button and a dolphin (my daughter picked these out!)—something easy so when my children are using the mouse they know that their “clicker finger” goes on the yellow button and their thumb rests on the dolphin. When they are trying to select something on the screen, all I have to say is, “Push the yellow button.” It’s a simple tip, but it seems to make using the computer less stressful and much more enjoyable for everyone!
Additional Tricks: For using the buttons on a laptop with a touchpad, the same technique can be applied by putting a sticker on the left button. Placing a sticker on the spacebar can also be helpful for beginners as hearing “Click the red star” is somehow easier to figure out than “Click the space bar.”
Do you have any computer tips for young children?