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My little computer noob

Noah has taken up a recent fascination with the computer, so I asked him if he’d like to learn how to use it. After all, at age three he can semi-legibly write his own name and almost color completely within the lines, so why would he not be able to grasp a complex electronic device such as a computer.

The first thing we did was talk about the mouse. I helped him see how moving the mouse also moves the pointer on the screen. I let him try, and with even the subtlest of movements as he did so, the mouse would shoot clear to the opposite side of the screen. So, I went into the mouse settings and slowed it waaaayyyy down (I always wondered why they had those slow settings. I guess now I know). Within a few minutes, he was able to move it to different buttons with ease.

Next, we learned how to click on things. The concept of clicking wasn’t hard for him at all. The ability to click without bumping the mouse off of the spot he needed to click took a little more practice. I ended up grabbing a laptop mouse which was about half the size, which made it all ten times easier for him. Once he had mastered that, I opened up the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse page, and started showing him some of the things he could do.

After that… he had no need for Dad anymore. “Dad, I don’t need help!” he chirped almost immediately. As awkward as it was for him, I let him have at it with no further instruction. And guess what? He did just fine. In fact, he did *too* fine.

So, I sat back and had a Proud Papa moment. My son was going to be an awesome little computer nerd, just like me.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing


PS, what things have your children done at an age much sooner than you would have expected them to be able?

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76 comments
super mario flash
super mario flash

These goggles are awesome! I am an adult and I have never had so much fun. I ordered some for a camping trip and we had such a blast.

Julie
Julie

Check out starfall.com for him. My cousin turned my son onto it when he was about 2 1/2. He loved it, and it really helped him. He's 5 1/2 now, and reading at almost a 2nd grade level.

judy
judy

My 3-yr-old loves the laptop. He recently mastered dragging and dropping by playing some of the games on the BBC CBeebies website

Jack
Jack

I have an Iphone which I have wanted for a while now. I've wanted it because I like having my cell and myMP3 player be the same thing. My daughter however (not even two years old yet FYI) likes is because she has not only figured oput how to flip the pages aropund but get in and out of the apps that she likes....I had to go on a small hbunt for my phone for a while until i realized that she would keep stealing it on me. I now just put it on a high shelf that she can't reach. Now she goes for my brand new Ipad for the same reasons...lol

AJFabio
AJFabio

When my son was not speaking at the age of 2, our family Dr. suggested that we take him for a speech evaluation. His initial test results were age 4 comprehension, and age 1 expression (meaning that he understood words and sentences like a four year old but could only express in language like a 1 year old). After 16 weeks with his speech therapyst his evaluation results came out as: age 5 comprehension and age 4 expression. He went from communicating with noises and grunts to speaking in full paragraphs. He's 5 now, and when we're reading books he can quote entire pages (sometimes he corrects me if I get a word wrong). He can also break down the plot of a movie half way through the first viewing. My favorite quote from him is when he has something profound to say: "Oh, and Daddy...(insert mindblowing enlightenment from a child)."

Jessie Begani
Jessie Begani

My son is also 3. Hes been a computer geek for a year now. Dude is gonna be a scientific mastermind, I think. He loves puzzles, patterns, problem solving and taking things apart to rebuild them. However, he has no imagination. Zip. Zero. Play-Doh time I will make look alike food; "No, Mom. It's Play-Doh. You can't eat that." Killjoy.

Allison H.
Allison H.

My 14 year old rolled over from his tummy to his back, repeatedly, his 2nd day alive. CRAZY! He is still muscle bound, and wayyyyyy competitive. My sweetheart, though. Thanks for sharing such awesome insight into parenting and life!

Lisa
Lisa

http://www.starfall.com/ is a fun place for little ones to enjoy learning to be on the computer and to learn reading, etc. Try it out!

@TheNoobieMom
@TheNoobieMom

At 8month my daughter is still far to young for this.. but I remember watching my best friends daughter at 2 and half, go through the book marks to find her favorite Barbie site. She was so short that in order to see the screen she had to stand in the computer chair. Pretty mind blowing to see how second-nature it's become to this generation!

Jenn
Jenn

I was totally afraid of computers until my mid-twenties. Then I got a job with lots of extra times, so I learned all about the computer and all the different programs. Then When the computer blew, I had to build one from parts--starting with an empty body and filling in the rest. Went from terrified to computer nerd in two years. I do remember my first experience with a mouse, though--I was certainly more spastic than your awesome three-year-old!

Peach
Peach

My oldest son is now 14 months old, and he can move! His pediatrician was shocked at the 9 month appointment when my son walked around on his tip toes and climbed onto everything.

My youngest son started holding his own head up at about 14 days old. He's now 31 days old and has already pushed himself up off the floor twice.

The Pediatrician (who's also my OB) has been doing his job for about 30 years, he said he's never seen such active and strong babies before.

JulieH
JulieH

Smaller mouse is super for kids. Now, hopefully, he has his own User account to play /on the PC. Don't want to lose your own stuff or have your icons moved about or setting changed. My two and a half year old granddaughter learned her alphabet, numbers and colors on my computer ("Give me an A!"). I set the font to 35 point and changed colors every so often. Fun!

saffronrose
saffronrose

I forgot--when my son was about three, he started getting migraines. We'd give him baby acetominophen, and put him down for a nap, careful to be quiet. When *we* had migraines, he understood that we needed him to be quiet. He'd try to make us feel better, same as we did for him. He is very compassionate.

When he was 1 1/2, I had put the spoon, with which I was feeding him, down. He picked it up, not to feed himself, but to try to feed *me*. It was so sweet! He's always been generous with other kids, and has even given away toys to stranger kids. The kids' parents look to us for comment, and we tell them it's his decision. He tries to help his classmates and other kids, still, as a teen. Since he was in third grade, he has been talking about working in a daycare, and wants to run one of his own someday.

saffronrose
saffronrose

When my son was two, he understood "different book", after we said we'd read him another, but it had to be a different book (did NOT want to reread the same books several times in a row!). By three, he could buckle himself into his car seat--five point harness.

At seven, he clearly grasped social issues and could remember historical facts when tested. I was explaining civil disobedience, which the Santa Cruz City Council was engaged in with medical marijuana. I explained that it made seriously ill people feel better for a while, but that Federal law says it's not legal. I explained right-to-die on your own terms, and how the Federal law didn't allow that (Oregon), even though the states involved voted for it.

His response? It sounds like the government wants people to be hurting. I was proud of him. He has turned out to be a politically-interested teen.

Monika
Monika

My now 12 year old was full on walking at 8 months. She looked so weird walking because she was so short and fat! We got some looks!
I never knew you could change the mouse settings, good to know.

LacqueredLiz
LacqueredLiz

That is so AWESOME! Love this story.
To answer your question, my son, now 22 years old, at the age of I-don't-exactly-remember-but-it-was-very-young was handed a crayon and he drew a mermaid. He never drew a single stick figure EVER. His creatures and people have always had substance and form...albeit the form might have been a bit unbalanced at first.
I realized that was unusual and fed his artistic side with all the art supplies he could handle. Today, he is a graphic designer working in Seattle, WA...without a degree. Yeah, he's THAT talented. B)

Dorothy Krajewski
Dorothy Krajewski

I get scared at how much my 8 yo can now do on the computer, especially the internet. I've had to put parental controls and web filters in place to slow him down! And it scares me that that's all he wants to do. Thankfully, the 4yo is still happy enough to just watch his brother. Plenty of time to be a computer geek when they're older I think.

Jen
Jen

My oldest, now 15, had mastered the mouse and Jumpstart Toddler by 18 months. He is still pretty great at the computer. My 8 year old said her first word at 9 months, and hasn't stopped talking since. :)

raerogers
raerogers

3 years old and I knew my alphabet by heart. Frontwards AND backwards. Seriously. To this day I can actually say my alphabet faster backwards than I can forwards. I can freak people out a little bit, lol :)

Kelly
Kelly

My son (at4) got his own netbook. We've bookmarked sites he can go on and password protected the system. Since he can't spell we are ok for now. Disney, Hasboro and PBS are great sites to learn with!!

@visualtapestry
@visualtapestry

It is amazing how fast the little ones pick up the computer. Soon, he'll be teaching you a thing or two!

Remy
Remy

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse was my son's first website too, at age 3.
Good memories. He did not want my help, but he liked to do it much more when I was sitting there with him on my lap. After all, what good is being good at stuff if your daddy can't see how awesome you are?
HAVE FUN, NOAH!!
The silly slides are my favorite!.

Krikit
Krikit

Give him a month (tops) and he'll be so far ahead of you technerdeek (a "Krikitism" ~:D ) wise, you won't know what happened! HA! ~;D

Krikit ~:)

Debbie
Debbie

My grandson is 4 and is very, very good with the comp. Look into STARFALL.COM for letters and reading preperation! My grandson is now reading stage 3 beginner books because of STARFALL! Wonderful site for preschoolers and kindergarteners.

Laura Ellsworth
Laura Ellsworth

My daughter, less than a month after her 2nd birthday, last Saturday announced she wanted to go potty...and went into the bathroom, pulled down her pants, and with a little help actually DID pee a little bit on the potty! (She's not done it successfully since, but...)

Bridgette
Bridgette

When my son was 3, I thought I was letting him play a computer game (I believe it was Freddy the Fish...). What I learned he was doing was going into my desktop and changing the background picture. When I saw that it had been changed, I asked "This is pretty, who did this?" My baby said, "Me do it, Mama!" with a huge smile on his face.I couldn't believe it, so I said "Show me." And show me he did. My jaw dropped. He's 14 now, and he and his 17 year old brother have always been light years ahead of me on how to operate computers.

Sara
Sara

Everything!! My 17 month old daughter amazes me every day. She is talking with a larger vocabulary than we ever anticipated at this age, has more teeth than we expected, walked, ran, and climbed before we were ready. Just this morning she was carrying my husband's keys around the house. She went up to the front door, singled out the key (it's identifiable by the colored edge), and attempted to put it into the keyhole...17 months old!

Amy
Amy

Hey Dan, another great kids site (completely safe with no ads yay!) is Dreambox.com. It's a math education/learning/reinforcement program! I've started kids less than 36 months old on that program, and they've LOVED it and started to excell/learn in math. It can be used all the way until third or fourth grade I believe. As the kids get correct answers they proceed through more and more difficult tasks :)

Meagan P.
Meagan P.

My 15 month old son knows how to use my ipod touch. His favorite thing to do is bring up either the Thomas the Tank Engine game or Little Einstein video's.

Tiffany
Tiffany

Haha, yes, computers were super easy for my kids to figure out. My 7 year old has had his own laptop since he was 4. He's been able to navigate youtube and Playhouse Disney for years. My 5 year old has her own laptop and enjoys Paint and a few kids computer games. My 4 year old is getting his first laptop for his 5th birthday. He's been using his brothers since he was 2. Download KidRocket. It's awesome. It keeps them from accidentally clicking around and screwing up your computer settings. And it only allows them to go to the kid-friendly sites. Disney, Nickelodeon, HotWheels, Barbie, etc... It has a painting program. It has a program that is sort of like a lite-brite but on a computer screen. And it also has a math quiz thing that you set up the right grade level. They can send emails to the email addresses you pre-program into it - my daughter sends my husband "paintings" she makes on the computer at least 10 times a day. haha. It doesn't allow them to receive emails though - if someone replies to an email he sends, it goes to your email address. And the best part, it is a free download!

maidenfine
maidenfine

My daughter has to be told not to swap out DVDs in the player. She knows how it all works, but she hasn't learned how to hold the DVDs so they don't get fingerprints. And she also hasn't figured out that the DVD player and the VCR aren't the same. Occasionally, we'll find a DVD in her VCR. And she likes to play with our computers, except that she can't read. So if she gets hold of one, we find that she's done things on our computer that we aren't sure how to undo.

As for my son, he's not quite two months old and when I was laying down with him on my chest the other day, he lifted his head all the way up and looked around the room. His Daddy and I were both very impressed with his neck strength. His big sister was a blabbermouth, but was slow to learn to walk. I have a feeling he's going to be the opposite.

Amy
Amy

My son could recite the months of the year in order and spell all of them correctly by the time he was 3. He is a spelling nerd, like I am, and I love it!

Lindsay
Lindsay

Dan! My husband got his degree in Information Technology and my 4 year old has had his own (an old one that barely worked anymore) laptop since he was two. It sits in the den next to my husbands and they go in there together to "work". We were absolutely shocked how quickly he picked it up. Have Noah try Starfall and PBSkids. Both great sites. Logan can now close boxes in the upper right corner, and double click the mouse.

gt84604
gt84604

My two year old is this very moment asking for my iPhone so he can "spell the animals" (the term all my kids use for playing First Words Animals). Sometimes he wants to sit on my lap whil h plays, but he doesn't need any help.

lisa
lisa

My big guy rolled over at 3 days!

deleted3281677
deleted3281677

Oh my goodness, this brings back so many precious memories. My daughters are so big now (13 & 18), and although I enjoy this time in their lives, I also miss the early years. Where did all that time go? Anyway, both the girls were on the computer at about age 3, so eager to learn how to use it. It was a lot of fun watching them trying to use the mouse. My youngest seemed eager to do everything as quickly as possible. She started trying to walk at 10 months and at 11 months she was permanently up on her feet and walking steadily. So many memories...

Karen
Karen

When my oldest daughter was 3 and my oldest son 2, we left the house early one winter morning to head to preschool and work. My son wanted to know why smoke was coming out of our basement. I told him that it was hot air from the dryer and when it hit the cold air outside, it made it look like smoke. On our way in the car, he said "look mommy, that car in front of us has hot air coming out the back, its hitting the cold air and it looks like smoke too". I learned a valuable lesson that day. From that point on, I tried to explain things to them in terms they could understand, but with an approach of a more detailed explanation. Today the oldest 2 are 17 and 16, my youngest 2 are 14 and 12. The conversations I have with their teachers always amaze me. My best advice to any parent is this. Talk to your children, answer any question to the best of your ability. If you don't know the answer, sit down with them either at a library, your computer, or watch a program with them and learn the answers together. Not only with it give you more quality time with them, but it will also show them how to do find answers on their own, and that learning never stops. I am also a single parent, I've been since the youngest was 2&1/2.

Kimberly
Kimberly

My oldest blew me away last summer when he took apart our computer, fixed it, and put it back. He was 13 at the time. He knows so much more about how things work than I ever thought he did.

freemom
freemom

Wow! Thanks for the info. I've had the mouse trouble with my grandkids who wanted to do it, but I couldn't fix it so they'd give up in frustration. Now I know!

Maria AngelGypsy Ortiz
Maria AngelGypsy Ortiz

My son LOVES the computer! He can navigate to his favorite sites ( I did bookmark them to make it easier) His favorites are Nick Jr, PBS kids, and sometimes pogo or the mindjolt games on facebook. He also loves Youtube for his favorite videos. He likes the little cute animals with the silly songs or the videos for the songs from The Guild. My little geek! LOVE IT!

Jenn
Jenn

So sweet!! I remember the first time each of my kiddos tried a computer. Now they're "old hats" at using my laptop but I still restrict their internet usage tons! You should try http://www.pbskids.com and let him do the Cat in the Hat games :)

kessa3
kessa3

So cute! Its amazing how quickly they pick that stuff up. I did the same with my son, got him a smaller mouse. He clicks with his thumb though. Not sure if that will wind up being an issue for him later in life or not. He's figured out all of the remote controls in the house, my iPod Touch, and he very quickly learned how to get around on the internet. He learned so well that I had to disable it so he doesn't go to places he shouldn't. Youtube has videos that have pictures and descriptions that look like they would be child friendly, but they are not. Be CAREFUL!

Laura
Laura

I have a DVD/VCR combo. Before my son was 18 months he amazed my mom by being able to put the tapes in the VCR and the DVDs in the player. Opening and closing the door to the DVD player and knowing which button and sequence to hit to run it correctly, switching between both correctly as well..something my mom still hasn't figure out and my so is now 3.

~she~
~she~

My son was about Noah's age when he started working the computer. PBS was our favorite site too. Now that he's 11, I have to call him to help me figure out how to use the DVD player. He has it hooked up weird. I still surpass him at computer skills but he's passed me in every other technical area. (He helped me learn how to use my iPod.)

Vicky
Vicky

my little man has been webcaming with his grandfather in the uk from when he came home from the hospital. Now he makes the calls. lol. He uses a site http://readingeggs.com.au/ ... he has been wanting to learn to read for over a year... and I was hesistant. He got a leapstar explorer for christmas, and its the best thing I could have gotten him... all learning games which he loves. In the car the other day a voice comes from the back seat "mummy, do you know what a diagonal line is?" "yes darling I do" "did you know it makes up a triangle?"...... "mummy, do you know what a hexagon is?" :-O ...

From the learning games on the computer he is taking what he has learned and using outside the "screen" - eg, writing his name on his whiteboard, building his name with blocks... love it. love watching his brain ignite.

disco
disco

My 5 yo impressed me with his computer skills last year when he downloaded over $1,000 worth of fish from the 'free' tapfish app on my iphone. itunes impressed me even more when they gave a full refund.
Beware the computers.... 0.o

DebbieWilliams
DebbieWilliams

I'm catching up on SDL...my grandson was a killjoy up till one day about three months ago (4 years, 4 months old). The next day I come in to visit and sit on the couch and he says "Gramma!! You sat on my headphones!!!" So I jump up and whirl around and there's nothing there. He nonchalantly walks over, "picks" up something and "pulls" it down over his ears. It took me a couple seconds, but I was ready when he "took them off" and handed them to me and said, "you didn't hurt them, here, listen!" and I slipped them over my head and started nodding, head banger style. He laughed and laughed! Now we can pretend all over the place. But he does feel the need to remind me every once in a while that "it's only make believe-there aren't REALLY spiders crawling up your arm" or some such when he's worried that I'm being too serious. I LOVE it!!

Christine Mandybur Martz
Christine Mandybur Martz

This sounds just like my 3 and a half year old. I don't even have to help him turn on the computer or take him to the sites. He goes to all the places you mention, and steals my iPad for Youtube. He likes to watch monster truck and RC car videos.