It’s a fact: most American kids are frustrated with math.
The reasons why kids are frustrated with math are as diverse as they are, and each one is unique. For parents though, watching our children struggle and become irritated with any subject in school is hard. We start to wonder, what more could we do to help?
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways parents can implement math tips both at home and in an academic setting.
If you’re like many parents and thinking, “What are some good math tips for kids?” we’ve compiled a list of eight tips to get you started.
8 Math Tips for Parents
Parents, never fear math! These tips are easy to implement for anyone.
Practice Math in Real-Life
Glaring at a worksheet filled with math problems isn’t always the best way for everyone to learn. Sometimes a change of scenery can do the trick.
Take your child along with you on a trip to the grocery store and quiz them about pricing. Invite them into the kitchen to bake and turn it into a fun math lesson about measurements. When you’re planting a garden, discuss measurement, volume, area, and other geometry-related terms.
For smaller children, count their clothes, or have them help set the table. Ask, “There are 3 people in our family. How many plates do we need?” Or with elementary kids,
Math is everywhere and at its core, it’s an approach to problem-solving. Allowing them to see math alive in real life offers a different perspective away from the pencil and paper.
For smaller children, manipulatives are lifesavers. When math becomes tangible, children can understand it better. Counting blocks, stacking blocks, abacuses, fraction puzzles, a clock with movable hands, and others – there’s a wealth of math manipulatives available. Even a pouring cups of water can help solidify the concept of volume.
Review and Mastery
Math is not just reduced to formulas; each concept builds upon itself. When one concept is mastered you learn another.
Sometimes problems with math come from a misunderstanding of another concept. If you find your child is struggling with a certain concept, try and review the previous lesson to ensure they know the material. Go back and review if you need to.
Everything is better when it’s fun and games. Including math.
Bringing games into the equation (no pun intended!) creates a fun and stress-free way for children to grasp simple math concepts. For example, a game with a pizza helps the child understand fractions, addition Bingo to practice fact families, or a simple game of ‘Go Fish’ to understand grouping.
There’s an abundance of educational math games like puzzles or board games that help build a child’s knowledge and confidence in math. Some child psychologists even claim that playing a game with children is critical to their educational and emotional development.
Remain Positive and Encouraging
For some parents, math proves to be equally intimidating. Whether they hated it in school, or never mastered it, the reality is that some adults cannot escape their fear of math.
Bringing a negative attitude to the table when your child is struggling only weighs on them more. Why bother trying when mom and dad hate math too?
Resist the urge to bad-talk math. Doing so will only instill in your child the same frustrations you feel and they’ll ignore an opportunity to really learn. Instead, try and remain positive, calm, and collected, seeking out answers and illustrating how to properly problem solve.
Talk Them Through the Problem
When confronted with a problem, start helping them talk through it: “What do you know? What do you need to do first? What concepts can we use to solve this problem?” Doing this encourages them to become better problem solvers.
Most importantly, don’t dominate the conversation. Encourage them to tell you not just the answer, but how they arrived at the conclusion. What process did you use? How do you know you’re correct?
Kids sometimes hit a brick wall when it comes to word problems! This blog explains some key elements parents can use to walk their kids through word problems.
Ask Their Teacher For Help
Kids are not always truthful about what happens in class, and they don’t always know the best way to help themselves.
Reaching out to your child’s teacher could be helpful. The teacher is on the frontline of your children’s education and sees how they work in class. They could offer some insight into ways to challenge or encourage your child.
Have Them Tested
If all else fails, consider having your child tested.
There are a variety of conditions that could be contributing to your child’s frustrations with math. Here are a few:
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: More commonly known as ADHD, a child who struggles with ADHD will have difficulty focusing on any task for a long period of time. Depending on the severity of their disorder, they will likely display periods of extreme hyperactivity, making focusing even more challenging.
Dyscalculia: About 7-14% of people have dyscalculia. This condition causes people to have trouble with numbers or other related math concepts. They cannot always understand how to apply concepts or even recall basic math facts.
Dyslexia: While dyslexia is related more to reading, it can affect the way a person learns math. Numbers can become jumbled, especially with word problems. It’s not uncommon for dyscalculia and dyslexia to go hand in hand.
Visual Processing Disorder: Visual processing disorder can interfere with your child’s ability to understand visual elements of math, such as charts and graphs.
If your child is diagnosed with a condition, understanding how the condition works are paramount to helping the flourish both in math and the world. Ask your doctor or therapist what the best course of action would be to implement tactics and methods to help your child.
Ready to Try These Math Tips?
Struggling with math can be temporary. No matter what area of math your child is struggling to grasp, these eight math tips can point you in the right direction and set your child up for success. Which one will you start trying today?
Looking for more tips to help your child thrive in their education? Visit our website to learn more today!