Mathematics is a subject that has always eluded both children and adults. In the UK, The Guardian reported that the number of adults with functional maths skills (equivalent to GCSE grade C) have been decreasing compared to functional literacy skills, which are increasing.
They also touched on how children as young as six-years-old are experiencing physical symptoms due to a condition called mathematics anxiety. As a parent, these are painful to hear. Thankfully, here are some ways you can help your little ones cope with their maths.
Know where your child is at.
Speak to your child on a regular basis. Ask them how they’re doing and whether there are certain topics that seem particularly tricky for them. You should also keep track of where they are in their lessons. Ideally, you should be able to monitor your child’s progress by studying the national curriculum alongside them. If you can’t, just make sure you have a general idea about their lessons.
Another good way to know how your child is doing is by opening a dialogue with their teacher. They can give you insights about how your child is doing compared to what is expected at that level.
Practise with your child.
Maths is most successful when practised regularly. You can sit down with your little one as you both go through their workbooks together. You can also incorporate maths into everyday things. Making it into a game will help your child apply what they’ve learned in practical ways. It will even be fun for both of you. If you have older children, encourage them to join in, too. Even if you’re only practising the fundamental maths concepts like addition, it will keep your child’s skills sharp. It may also be worth looking into board or video games about maths.
If you are going to help your child work on their materials from school, a good strategy is to make sure they understand the concept behind the calculations as well. Even if your child’s arithmetic is sharp, without a good grasp on the general concept, they may not be able to apply it. Help them place focus on the process as much as the answers themselves.
Build a support team.
Maths can indeed be daunting for your child. Even if you’ll always be in their corner, it wouldn’t hurt to make sure your child can ask for help whenever they need it. Talking and working with your child’s teacher is an excellent start. Encouraging maths in the family is a great technique as well. If you find that you need more help though, working with a maths tutor may just be the last piece of that puzzle to make sure your child is on top of their maths.
Treat maths with positivity.
One of the best things you can help your child with when it comes to maths is to develop in them a positive outlook. An optimistic way of looking at maths will give your child the boost they need to not give up when they encounter new concepts or when things get tough. Providing them with a conducive environment and the right support are essential, but at the end of the day, your child will be the one to overcome the challenges of maths.