Chess is so much more than a fun game to pass the time or a way to get your children interested in extracurricular activities: it can actually provide tangible and practical benefits for children’s mental and social development. Chess for children has been shown time and time again to benefit young players in a number of ways, which is why chess games for kids have truly taken off within the past few years.
The benefits of playing chess for young children are practically endless, so here are the top 8 benefits of chess for kid’s development that all parents need to consider.
Chess helps children develop problem-solving skills
One of the core aspects of playing chess is learning how to problem solve; confronting opponent’s chess moves and figuring out how to get around them and put your own plan into action are perfect ways for children to learn how to approach problems from a variety of different ankles. Problem solving skills are essential for both academic and social purposes, which is why young players who play chess will have a head start on these essential life skills when compared to their peers who aren’t playing the game.
Chess encourages children to be patient
Patience is not an easy virtue to teach, but children who play chess are more likely to be patient and develop a deeper understanding of how to be patient in all types of settings—including school, where longer attention spans will help them focus and learn more productively. Children who play chess will be able to develop coping strategies for impatience, such as learning how to wait their turn as well as learning how to wait gracefully without showing impatience.
Chess helps children improve sportsmanship and social skills
Sportsmanship is something that many children don’t learn until later in life—if they learn it at all. Children who play chess will benefit from having to learn important sportsmanship skills early on, since they will be required to treat their opponents with respect, learn how to lose and win gracefully, and generally learn how to interact with others in a respectful way. This type of essential social skill development is truly priceless, especially in the modern age when sportsmanship is often tossed to the wayside.
Chess increases children’s IQ level
Research has shown that regularly playing chess actually increases a child’s IQ level. There’s no definitive percentage for just how far your child’s IQ will go when they play chess, but regular playing the game, participating in tournaments or even just keeping up regular hobby games for fun will all go a long way towards increasing intelligence.
Chess helps strengthen motor function
One of the more overlooked benefits of chess for younger players is the increase in motor function. Children who play chess will have improved coordination and motor function due to the necessity of moving chess pieces around the board, learning how strong or weak their grip needs to be on each piece, and generally needing to keep chess pieces from falling over. Motor function will increase even further as players graduate from magnetic pieces to standard pieces, which are more delicate and require a finer grip. Even very young players—think 4 years old—can benefit from learning chess, as they are the ideal age for improving motor function.
Chess helps children develop spatial thinking
Another great benefit of children playing chess is the development of spatial thinking. Spatial thinking—or spatial reasoning—is an essential component for chess strategy; spatial reasoning is often difficult to encourage in children, which is why regularly playing chess is so beneficial, as it encourages an often-neglected type of reasoning to grow and thrive. Spatial reasoning will help children problem-solve later on in life, both academically as well as in their everyday lives.
Chess helps children learn how to plan ahead and develop strategy
Children who play chess will need to learn how to plan ahead and develop a strategy if they want to start to win matches. The ability to create future plans and strategies around the many factors that go into winning a chess match will help children in other areas as well, and not just academically; children who regularly play chess will be able to better confront a variety of problems they face in life, including problems with their peers or even their own internal issues as they grow and develop over the years.
Chess improves children’s ability to concentrate
Concentration is key to success in life, and many children in the modern world are losing their ability to concentrate for longer periods of time thanks to the popularity of quick-fix smart phones and other mobile devices. Chess will improve a child’s ability to concentrate and focus, an essential skill in the modern world, as they must concentrate on understanding the moves of their opponent while also deciding on the next steps of their own chess plan. Their improved concentration will help them in all areas of life, but especially academically—children who play chess are much more likely to concentrate during classroom time, which in turn leads to better absorption of the material and a better overall academic performance.
There are many benefits for children who regularly play chess; the benefits listed above are the top benefits that you, as a parent, should carefully consider as you decide whether or not to encourage your child to take up this exciting and highly beneficial hobby. If you would like your child to get into chess, you can encourage them by purchasing a quality chess set for kids or by teaching them how to play using your own personal chess set.
Whether they end up loving the game simply as a hobby on the side or they decide to take it further by participating in tournaments and other forms of competitive play, one thing is for certain: chess will bring about numerous benefits to their lives.