Parenting experts (and magazines) suggest that giving options to kids is a great idea – but only if they’re real. You’re not supposed to
ask your little one if he wants to take a bath when you intend to give him a bath anyway.
Instead, ask him which bathtub he wants to use. Or which towel he prefers when he gets out of the tub. Or even if he wants to take a bath alone or with a sibling.
It’s a clever way of saying, “It’s time for your bath, but you get some autonomy in the activity.”
Kids like this.
And it’s formal math!
Yup – in formal logic terms it looks like this: p∪q, where p and q are the options. And that little ∪ means “or.”
For instance, I give K8 the choice of taking a bath alone or with me. So it looks like this:
p = Take a bath alone.
q = Take a bath with me.
So p∪q = Take a bath alone or take a bath with me.
But she’s more clever than I thought!
Yesterday I gave her this option. She responded:
I don’t want to take a bath alone and I don’t want to take a bath with you.
Ornery little thing she is!
But in our formal math lingo, this is
(Those little thingies in front of p and q are the “not” part. And the ∩ is the “and.”)
If you look it up (or know formal logic) you can find out that ¬p∩¬q is exactly the same as ¬(p∪q).
She was clearly saying to us that she does not want to take a bath at all!
Math is built in.
I’ve claimed before that we all have a built in ability to do math. Now it looks like that’s not just with numbers – it’s also with logical processing.
She doesn’t get that she’s doing formal logic, but she understands in her gut that saying, “I don’t want to take a bath alone and I don’t want to take a bath with you” is negating the “take a bath” statement.
I know it seems like she’s being a snot. And as she gets older it’ll get worse. I’ve seen my niece do it with my sister – play these logical games that feel like back-talk.
But logic is the foundation of learning math. So instead of admonishing children, discuss it with them. Talk about a way to phrase your statements or rules so that there’s no logical loopholes.
Allow them to argue with you on these little things – they’re building skills that will make them into super math thinkers!
What do you think? Has your child shown natural logic skills? How do you handle it?
And how do I get K8 into the bath now!?
You might also like:
- Toddlers Begin Counting at the Number 2 (not 1)
- Math Words – Start Using Them Early
- The Real Place Kids Learn Math
- Counting Isn’t an Inherent Concept
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