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5 Reasons why kids should learn to play chess

Kia Morgan Smith is a popular mommy blogger at Cincomom.com where she blogs about her life as a mom of five children and wife.

Knowing how to play chess can be extremely beneficial to children – here's why

I never understood the benefits of chess because I never learned to play the game. As a kid I would watch the adults play the game and sit for hours methodically choosing their moves. In fact, I thought the game took too long and they were just being picky about moving their pieces across the board. What I didn't know was the level of intelligence, planning, patience and just the mere thought process that was required to win.

Knowing how to play chess, in fact, helps you in so many other areas in life. When I realized this, I knew that chess was a game I wanted my kids to play. Also it was a game that many black kids didn't play. There are some great benefits to introducing this game to all children, and here's why.

1. Critical thinking

Moms can really be "mama bears" at times. If you're a mom who finds it easier to answer a question for your kids instead of requiring them to think it through, or you are always quick to come to their defense, then you'll want your child to play chess. Chess requires critical thinking skills. Your child will have to think ahead several moves before moving. Chess is methodical. Sometimes as parents we coddle our kids and think for them. We are always quick to do things for them instead of allowing them to use their own brains to conjure up a solution. As a parent, if you're having problems pulling back and allowing your child to do things on their own, enlist them in a chess class and allow them to learn and think on their own. This is a great way to do that.

2. Pump up the brain power

I don't want to get too technical but there's something called dendrites in the brain that grow exponentially when kids are engaged in a game like chess. What this means is that your child gets increased brain power potential and capacity. Our children need brain power to survive in the classroom these days with mandated state tests that are truly difficult for some kids to master. Every little bit helps and there aren't many games that help the brain to get a little pumped.

3. Life skills

Ever heard the saying, common sense is not common? Well at least with chess your kids develop analytical, synthetic and decision-making skills, which they can transfer to real life. We all know real life skills are essential.

4. Higher order thinking

Chess calls upon higher-order thinking skills, helps them analyze actions and consequences and visualize future possibilities. What are higher-order thinking skills? With kids you want them to be able to truly analyze information on a higher level. Students must master the lower-level skills before they can engage in higher-order thinking and playing chess helps them do that.

5. Learning discipline

Chess teaches discipline from a very early age. This is one of the best parts of having your child learn chess, if you know what I mean. Chess teaches kids to anticipate and to plan ahead. That's a very useful skill that they can apply to planning out their clothes for the week for school. Also with playing chess, you have to plan things out. Another plus is that your kids learn if they plan well, they get rewarded in chess. if you don't plan well, you suffer the consequences and get punished. That also applies in real life.

Check your local area for chess clubs and sign your kids up. They are often low cost. Or talk to your child's school about starting a chess club. Knowing the benefits it offers to kids is all you need to prove your case.

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