When kids ask me what they do in APCS, or what they need to know coming in, I tell them they need to be able to identify a problem, break it into little pieces, solve the pieces, then put the whole thing back together.
In 4 years of teaching APCS, the hardest part seems to be the break it down into pieces part. Any process can be broken down into minutiae that are easy to understand. Be sure to do a lot of drawing and writing. When kids ask me for help, first thing I almost always do is have them come to a table in the classroom, where we draw out the problems. I can also always fall back on Scratch to get the concepts across without worrying about braces and semicolons.