In the past, parents (and nearly everyone) encouraged girls to play with dolls and boys to play with robots. This, in part, enabled boys to become more interested in the area of robotics while girls drifted off to other fields.
Today, more and more families, individuals and organizations are taking various steps to boost the interest of young female students in robotics. The good news is that these strategies seem to be working since there is a constant increase in the number of girls signing up for robotics courses in Dubai and in other cities.
Encouraging Your Daughter to Take an Interest in Robotics
If you want your young daughter to discover more about the world of robotics and eventually pursue this field, here are some tips that can help you out:
1. Read with your child
Take the first step in encouraging your child to know more about robotics by buying books about cybernetics. Choose ones that are appropriate for your daughter’s age. Do not be afraid to get ones that are fun and interactive since these books will be helpful in sparking her curiosity.
As she gets older or starts developing a deeper interest in this field, you can buy more books that offer more in-depth information.
At the start, you will have to read these books together with your child. Be ready to explain certain concepts she may not understand. If you are unfamiliar with a particular idea, do not be embarrassed to look this up on the internet or research about it with your daughter.
2. Schedule some screen time
Aside from books, your little one can discover more and develop an interest in cybernetics online and through some apps. Search for sites that allow kids to read or watch videos about robotics.
You can also find websites that share experiments which teach children about this subject. Encourage your child to visit these sites, too.
Apps such as Robotizen and Lightbot teach kids the basics of robotics and coding. These are apps that are educational and fun. If your little girl needs a bit of a push to develop an interest in robotics, these apps can help her (and you) out.
However, make sure you limit your daughter’s screen time. Although she will learn a lot from these websites and apps, you want her to stay active and healthy.
As such, make sure she only spends an hour (or a bit more) every day in front of the computer or her device. And make sure you have other robotics-related activities ready for her to do.
3. Give your daughter the right toys
Buy puzzles, building toys and child-safe electronic kits and encourage your daughter to play with them. Again, play with your child until she gets the hang of using these toys and becomes more confident in unleashing her creativity.
Some toy kits allow children to use simple circuits to create more elaborate projects that do fun things such as draw or shoot confetti. These playsets may be expensive but are excellent for getting your daughter to build her first project.
4. Look for places and events that showcase robotics and visit them with your daughter
Search for science museums, engineering exhibits and discovery or tinkering events that are in or near your area. Visit these places or attend the events with your child. Encourage her to participate in offered activities, if there are any.
Although these events are opportunities for your daughter to learn, remind her to have fun, too. If she wants to bring a friend to this escapade, allow her to do so. It is important that she enjoys these jaunts so that she can find joy in learning and exploring.
5. Encourage her to join a robotics or STEM club
A lot of schools and well-known national and local clubs have begun to pay closer attention to introducing girls to STEM and robotics. They are now taking a more active stand in helping motivate young girls to explore typically male-dominated fields.
Talk to your daughter and motivate her to join such clubs. These organizations are specially created to help girls succeed in these areas. You may not even have a hard time encouraging her if she has friends or classmates already in these clubs.
6. Be on the lookout for relevant programs your daughter can participate in
Aside from local clubs, your daughter can also benefit from joining an internship program that provides girls opportunities to learn more about different possibilities in the robotic and STEM fields.
With such programs, your child will know and experience first-hand what it’s like to work in these fields. They will get more in-depth information and have a clearer picture of what their future could be like if they pursue a career in robotics or STEM.
If your daughter had a wonderful time with the program, you will have no difficulties encouraging her to pursue a career in cybernetics.
Learning experiences of this type are not just valuable for your daughter now; they will also be highly useful once your child starts applying for college or university admission.
7. Introduce the concept of mentoring
Children, in general, will benefit greatly from having mentors. Your daughter may identify better with robotics when she sees people she admires in the field.
Female teachers, technology professionals and family members who specialize in STEM or robotics are often good candidates. Talk to them about being a possible mentor to your daughter, but make sure your child is on board with this plan, too.
If this relationship emerges as positive and productive, it can have more of an impact than parental motivation and support.
8. Always motivate and expect your daughter to succeed
Show your support by expecting your child to do well in math and technology and communicate your expectations clearly. Give positive feedback and celebrate your daughter’s attempts at trying new things. Always recognize effort, strategies and behaviors as well.
Stay positive and upbeat even if you are not comfortable with math, science or IT. Be a role model since your daughter will take cues from you. Also, be supportive and encouraging, and your child will find the right motivation to pursue a career in cybernetics.
Being a role model and giving your little girl various opportunities to learn more about the fascinating and rewarding world of robotics will go a long way in encouraging her to pursue this field. As long as you remain encouraging and supportive but not pushy, your daughter will warm up to the idea of carving her niche in cybernetics in the future.
About The Author
Maloy Burman is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Premier Genie FZ LLC. He is responsible for driving Premier Genie into a leadership position in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education space in Asia, Middle East and Africa and building a solid brand value. Premier Genie is currently running 5 centers in Dubai and 5 centers in India with a goal to multiply that over the next 5 years.
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Also published on Medium.