Maths – whether you love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. It’s one of those vital, core subjects which is non-negotiable. We all need it and while it’s not every child’s favourite subject, there are lots of things you can do to empower your child in maths and to help ignite a love for the subject.
If you sometimes feel all at sea when your child shows uncertainty about maths, you can at least take some comfort in the fact that even mathematicians sometimes feel daunted by the thought of teaching children.
Research has shown that fear of maths comes largely from early experiences with it – if you’re nervous about it, that’s probably because your own early experiences weren’t the best.But you can change your child’s perception of maths as a subject by tackling it in a wholly positive fashion. Maths can be fun!
Don’t tell your child you’re bad at maths
This is top tip number one! You must put forward a positive energy regarding maths as a subject in general and telling a child you’re bad at it won’t fill them with confidence.Instead, say nothing about your own skills. Children take it for granted that adults are well-versed in everything.
Use phrases like “this might seem tricky at the moment but it is for everyone at first.” This will encourage children to keep trying. Similarly, “You might not understand it right now but I’m confident that you will soon.”That shows that you have faith in their abilities. And children need to know that – they thrive when they feel that the adults around them have confidence in their abilities and in their potential.
Bringing maths into every day conversation
This can be as easy as counting stairs as you go up or down them, counting buds on a branch or discussing fractions in an accessible way – “I wonder how many are left if I take half of these beads away?”Here are some questions you can ask your child at appropriate times depending on age:
- How many bricks do we need to fill this box to the top?
- How can I split these cakes equally?
- What would half of that be?
- What happens if I add this many?
Connect maths to the things your child loves
If your child loves animals, give them opportunities to count them. Similarly, a child who loves art, won’t mind counting the colours on a painting – how many colours can you find in various art works?
Sports are a great way to bring maths into your child’s life too. Not only in terms of players on a team but score keeping and later, probability. Games such as Top Trumps and Monopoly are also very useful.
There are lots of films and television programmes based on maths – try to find some which are age appropriate and share them with your child. They won’t even realise they’re learning!
There’s no rush
Maths isn’t always a race to the finish line. Yes, you want your child to grasp the various concepts but it’s more important for them to fully grasp them than to have a vague understanding. If your child can feel the thrill of fully understanding a problem and then solving it successfully more than once, they’ll be well on the way to a love affair with maths as a subject.
This prep school in Suffolk ensures that all children are given time to build a solid foundation in maths so that as they progress, they’re able to take on more complex ideas with ease.
Play, talk, discuss and experiment with your child’s maths – let them know that you enjoy it too. Talk to their teachers to find out what they’ll be studying in the coming months so that you can get a handle on it too – then you’ll be in a better position to help your child get the most out of their lessons.