Being a modern mom on one hand and a technically unfit on the other I had a long learning path. Digital natives (both of my kids belong to those species) have grown up with internet access, depend heavily on mobile devices, and multitask across devices and between work and entertainment. Of course, I want my kids to have all the fun in the world, but a bit of concentration on school and everyday tasks also won’t hurt.
We all practice early child development to a certain extent, but modern world offers way too much distraction. My objective was to teach my kids basics of concentration, or at least not to deviate from eating or reading or even playing, as once they grow older if they don’t learn certain patterns in early childhood it is harder to get them back on track. A very good friend of mine (a progressive mom and IT specialist) integrated basic coding approach to everyday life of her 5 kids and encouraged me to do the same.
Do you have kids? Do you have a husband or wife? Do you give them directions?
Coding is telling a computer what to do. The problem is, like your kids, they don’t know anything. You’ve got to remind them of everything. Everything. Also, computers are incredibly bad-tempered and perfectionists. People code in programming languages. Programming languages are like normal languages, but they are for bad-tempered, perfectionist computers.
Coding solves problems. Coders think up a problem, and then you solve it by breaking it into smaller, easier to solve puzzles. The basic of any coding on any language and environment is logic. You are given a task: from bunch of chaotic data on the point of entry you process it into a logic structured showing displaying a result or action at the exit point.
The steps for solution:
- Sorting/classifying data
- Building the logic of the resolution tree
- Coding the resolution tree
For example, you want to make a burger. You have 2 buns, a tomato, salad leaves, ketchup, cheese and patties.
- You sort it in a stacking order: bun-patty-ketchup-salad-tomato-cheese-bun
- Then you build a burger following the stacking order
- In this simple example solution and coding are already embedded as you just eat your burger next.
Following this simple algorithm quite a few things can be explained to the kids, as most of our everyday routine is actions in consequent order.
The logic behind many of actions of our kids is the main challenge for the parents. How often do you tell your kid “why have you done it so and so?” Logic just screams to do it the other way round.
The simplest example: wake up in the morning, brush teeth, eat breakfast, get dressed, go to school. Either you repeat day after day and train them eventually, or not. The other way is to offer a kid to imagine a vision of solution tree how it should be in his understanding and practice it changing steps till they find the suitable algorithm. Once coming to school in the pyjama or hungry they get the logic pretty well. Or take the pain of all the parents -homework. The shortest resolution tree: first homework, then entertainment. If they get the algorithm wrong, they can either sit till late, miss cartoons or come to school empty-handed (here it is all individual - whatever will impress child/parent the most). As they practice in strengthening their logic of actions it might take one day, or a few nights, and lost nerves, but eventually they figure out a way.
As parents, we can’t always be there to solve every problem for our children. In fact, this isn’t our job. Our job is to TEACH our children how to solve problems by themselves. This way, they can become confident, independent, and successful individuals.