I'm the X-Wing dad in SoCal. My kids are now 13, 11, and 7. The 13 and 11 year old play consistently at Leagues and tournys ranging from the FLGS event Tournies on up to Regionals. While we all would love to attend Nationals and Worlds, my work schedule makes that impossible. Too far away and sold out long before I know id I'm going to be available for travel. The 7 year old is still (IMHO) too young for anything more than just fun at home games. When she turns 9 or 10 we will see what happens.
So, when I got my kids into the game it was first on their own asking. If they have no interest in it then it will be a bad experience...a chore...and not worth investing the Time, Talent, and Treasure into. I initiated them with basic ships; Academy TIEs and Re Squad X-Wings. I started by making them read and understand the basic rules. You have to have that foundation set so they know the flow of the game. We played a few fun games together so they could see the flow of events and see how the rules act on the game itself. Then came the homework.
First off I refused to let them fly a turret ship until I was comfortable with their level of piloting. If you give them a turret too soon it becomes a crutch and they wont learn to fly. I started by having them set a base onto a blank board and then selecting each template and putting a second base down where the movement ends. we examined the starting position vs the ending position. How many base-lengths did the ship move? How far up vs left/right for the turns? Its new facing? Then came target practice. They set a base anywhere on the table and a marker somewhere else. They then had to use the templates to get the base to land on the marker. This gave them a foundation of looking a move or 2 in advance of where they are vs where they want to be.
The we moved to multiple ships. How the moves interacted with each base. How far apart do you need to start to avoid a bump. How close to maintain support in the R1 zone. A solid week was used just getting the knack of formation flying down.
Then came obstacles. We tossed out obstacles in random locations then had them fly a base around the obstacles. Looking at what moves would land on the rock, what was a safe move, and even what move would take them across the rock, but far enough they would be off it so they can still shoot. W made it more fun by setting a few coins down between the rocks. If they could get the ship onto the coin without hitting an obstacle, they kept the money (that was an expensive week).
And finally, formation flying through obstacle. And all of that was done with just small bases. We then graduated to using actual ship dials...the TIE and X-Wing. How the dials constrained your selections and what moves would stress you vs clearing stress. And how different the ships would fly based on the available moves.
After the homework came the basic games. Basic ships with limited upgrades. X-Wings with R2 units. TIEs with and extra hull or shield. And finally the graduation to named pilots and the more advanced upgrades. By this time the kids were adept at building their own lists and confident in getting a new ship and being able to interpret the dial and the pros/cons of the various upgrades available. And still no turret ships. Those came along between 9 months and a year later. By then the kids were quite adept at flying their ships...even showing the ability to pocket the corner of the base right into nooks and crannies of the obstacles. The advancement to turrets was a graduation day and while they enjoyed the freedom the turret gave them, they rarely NEEDED it.
So now the kids enjoy the competitive aspect of the game, but also love the pick up games, fun games and scenarios, and creating the random odd-ball list just to see how it works. They have each come up with lists that fit their individual styles, they have each won minor Tournaments and consistently win games at top level events. But more importantly they have fun and they don't give up. While The Boy may exhibit occasional butt-hurt in his tone (give him a break...he just turned 11 and he's still a kid who wants to win) but the kids don't resign a game and have never dropped from an event, regardless of how badly they were doing. They understand the dice gods will just say "NO" on some days. They've learned good sportsmanship and honest play.
And as a dad I get that pride at the end of an event when other players...adults...come up to me and compliment the kids on their gameplay, sportsmanship, and skill at the game. They have each developed their own reputations among the SoCal community and long time players already know (and some have learned the hard way) that that little girl across the table knows her stuff and will not be going easy on you...but it will still be an enjoyable game.
As for X-Wing mom (She Who Must Be Obeyed)...She does not play. Has no interest in learning, and is fine with that. But she does love the fact the Daddy and Kids have "our thing" that we enjoy and spend our time together with. So its turned out to be a nice family bonding hobby too.