Are you looking for effective ways to get your child to love math? Do you want to help your kids improve their math abilities and succeed in math? We have come up with effective strategies that you can employ for helping kids with math.
When children struggle with math, parents are often confused about how to help your child with math and provide the right of support to meet their child’s needs and resolve math issues. Every child is unique in their abilities and the way to approach math for your child should be unique too.
However, there are some standard and proven techniques you can utilize to make your children more involved in math and improve your children’s math skills. Once you understand these techniques, you can tweak them easily to meet your child’s specific needs. Math does not have to be boring and dreadful, it is actually fun and interesting. This is exactly what you need to demonstrate to your child, and we are here to show you how.
With these practical tips on math help for kids, you will be able to provide just the right kind of support to help your child with math. We have divided this article into four sections each highlighting an important aspect of helping your child with math.
- Connecting with your child’s Math education
- Maintaining a positive mindset towards Math
- Effective strategies for teaching math to kids
- Making math enjoyable, interesting & engaging
Boost your child’s confidence and skills in math with these wonderful techniques for helping kids with math.
Connecting with your child’s math education
Be involved as a parent
If you want your child to be successful in math, you have to be actively involved with your child’s learning process. Parent involvement has been proven to enhance academic success and has a positive effect on a student’s overall attitude and behavior.
Encouragement from parents might just be that extra support your child struggling with math needs.
Keep track of your child’s classroom performance
Kids primarily learn from their teachers in school. As a parent, your role is more of a supportive kind. Hence, it is a good idea to talk to your child’s math teacher and know how your child is doing in class.
Through your child’s math teacher, you will be able to get valuable insight into your child’s math performance and the areas that need improvement. The math teacher’s knowledge and experience can provide valuable insight into your child’s abilities. You can also ask for advice on how can I help my child with math at home.
Stay updated with current curriculum
The old methods of solving math problems you learned during your school days are no longer used today. Education has changed a lot in recent times and many parents find unfamiliar and even weird ways of solving math problems in their children’s textbooks which leaves them confused.
If you are interested in helping kids with math, make sure that you stay updated on the current curriculum and new methods of teaching math. Math today focuses more on understanding concepts rather than just getting the correct answer. If you are confused, you can always conduct your research on the web or seek help from your child’s math teacher.
Understand your child’s learning style
The way your child responds to learning math will be different from others. You need to take steps to understand your child and find out what kind of teaching style your child is receptive to. You need to constantly observe, modify, and analyze your teaching methods while letting your child develop at their own pace.
For example: Some children may prefer working problems in their own head while some may learn math better through hands-on activity. Some children may have learning difficulties, some may have trouble only with specific topics while some may be naturally gifted in math. You will need to tailor the math sessions according to your child’s nature and provide the right kind of environment to support mathematics help for kids.
Keep an open line of communication
Interact with your child often and be open with your child. Make your child feel at ease to discuss any math issues they may be facing. Ask your child regularly if they are having any trouble with math or if there is anything you can do to help them.
When your child talks to you about their problems, keep your calm and demonstrative a positive attitude. This will make the kids feel secure with you and they will be less likely to lie to you. Rather, it will encourage them to own up and take responsibility for their mistakes. If you show anger or dismiss their problem, they may not seek help from you in the future. This may even cause them to hide assignments and test results from you.
Find out if your child has specific needs
While helping kids with math, find out of your child has any specific needs. You need to observe your child’s behavioral patterns. Your child may be suffering from math anxiety or your child may be weak in math due to a learning disability or different way of thinking. There is also a special type of math learning disability called dyscalculia.
If these issues are left unattended, it may impact your child’s confidence and self-esteem. Your child may start to feel they are not smart enough. It is crucial to identify such issues early on and tackle it immediately.
Maintaining a positive mindset towards Math
Keep a positive attitude towards math
Most people find math to be difficult and have a negative attitude towards math. Many children can also be found to be struggling with math. Children learn from their parents, and as a parent, even though you may not have like math yourself, do not say things like “I didn’t like math either” or “You take after me”.
Always demonstrate a positive attitude towards math and encourage your child to love math instead of fear it.
Show the relevance of math
Children lose interest in math because they feel that studying math is useless for their lives. You need to teach your child the importance of math in everyday life. Show your child how math is present all around us. For example: in nature, in music, in art, while shopping, maintaining finance, making decisions, etc.
When you find your child doing math, tell them about real-life applications. Provide your children with information about various interesting careers that use make use of math like a fashion designer, architect, engineer, artist, etc. You can also show your child how great monuments and paintings and the clothes they are wearing were created using mathematical calculations. This will spark up your child’s interest in math.
Encourage when your child is struggling
Struggle with math is real and many children hate math. Even for those who are naturally good at math, at some point, they end up getting frustrated. Math may go wrong or your child may not be able to get the answer in spite of numerous attempts.
For helping kids with math during such times, you need to motivate them to find new strategies and demonstrate your confidence in their abilities. You can ask them to take a break and approach the problems with a fresh mind or provide them a hint. Avoid comforting when your child is having trouble with math. Instead, teach your child to take this as a challenge and overcome it.
Learn together with your child
Approach math problems together with your child, discuss the question and ideas on how to solve the problem. If you come across unfamiliar concepts, instead of getting disheartened you can make use of this opportunity to learn together with your child.
You can also ask your child to teach you new math methods. This will make your child feel empowered as well as improve their own understanding. Learning together with your child will show your child that you are willing to acknowledge your weakness and learn something new, which in turn will inspire the child to do the same.
Effective strategies for teaching math to kids
Build on basic foundations
Math is cumulative in nature. Advanced math is basically a combination and expansion of the basic math concepts. A shaky mathematical foundation or lack of understanding of any particular topic will cause students to struggle with math.
Hence, it is important that your child understands and masters the basic math facts and concepts. Make sure that your child has a solid grasp of all the math skills for the particular grade before moving on to the next grade. If your child misses out on some math skills, it will create learning gaps and lead to trouble with math. Unfortunately, this weakness will be carried on to the upcoming grades and the learning gap will keep on increasing. This may cause your child to lose interest in math altogether.
Focus on the process
When you see your child doing math, ensure that your child is not memorizing math but thoroughly understands it. While helping kids with math, you need to keep in mind that understanding the process behind math is just as important as the final answer. If your child gets the method, the answer can be achieved easily. Even when it comes to math formulas, explain the process behind the formula rather than asking your child to blindly memorize it.
Pay attention to the strategy your child is using and encourage your child to question each step. Have your child explain their reasoning behind the method they are using and how they were able to reach the solution. Get your child to explain the process not just orally but by using examples, gestures, and visuals. This will help the child reflect on their own actions and deepen their understanding. It will also show you if the child has actually understood the process.
Try different approaches
When it comes to solving math problems, most of the time there is no one right method. A math problem can be approached in a number of ways. To be able to use different approaches, the child must be able to understand the exact nature of the math problem and form logical relationships.
While providing math help for kids, do not be rigid and repetitive in your approach, and focus on just one method. Instead, keep room for exploration and encourage your child to find connections, and come up with new strategies. Make it a habit to review various ideas first while solving problems. When your child makes mistakes, do not dwell on it. Ask your child to look at the problems from a new angle.
Approaching math this way will be beneficial for your child and make math much more engaging. It will help develop analytical and critical thinking skills and boost your child’s math abilities. You can also show your child how different methods can be used to solve the same problems. For example: Addition problems can be solved using not only the traditional carry method but with the rounding-off method, decomposition method, and use of the distributive property.
When helping kids with math, always aim for productive struggle. You may be tempted to show your child how it is done as soon as your child faces math difficulties or starts getting frustrated. If you always assist your child, they will be dependent on you and even when they solve a problem by themselves, they may not be fully confident. An effective way to help your child be good at math is to inspire independent thinking.
Give your child a chance to experience and figure out the problems on their own. When your child faces setbacks, encourage them but let them work through the problems on their own. Provide as little information as possible that will point your child in the right direction but not take away their need for thinking. This way, when your child finally solves the problem by overcoming their trouble with math, they will be filled with a sense of accomplishment. Independent thinking also improves your child’s confidence and self-esteem.
By letting your child work by themselves, you are creating an opportunity for them to explore their weakness and strengths. The ability to think independently is beneficial not only for solving math problems but for life in general.
Inspire logical thinking
Math is all about logic and an inability to think logically will not only hinder math abilities but have a negative impact on our daily lives. Logical thinking is a combination of different abilities like memory recall, reasoning, and thinking, pattern recognition, ability to break a complex problem into solvable components, and finally come to a rational conclusion. This clearly shows how logical thinking is necessary for making good decisions in day-to-day lives.
You can try various methods to enhance your child’s math and logical abilities. While solving any math problem, teach your child to find connections between various components. Let your child figure out mathematical ideas and how they can apply it to the problem. Encourage them to approach the problems in various ways and break the problem into manageable steps. Teach your child the concept of estimation and show them how they can predetermine if the answer is within reason.
To boost logical skills, you can also try our various logical and reasoning tests. You can also try out math puzzles like Soduko, Ken Ken, Kakuro, Rubik’s cube, etc. that really tests logical skills. You can also play games that require deduction and logic like chess, mastermind, or clue-based games.
Address the area of weakness
There are various factors that could be causing your child to have trouble with math. Do not blame your child, instead be supportive and understanding. For effectively helping kids with math, targeting the right areas your child is struggling with is crucial.
Your child may be good in math but may be having math difficulties with just a certain concept or your child may be lacking a certain foundational skill. Your child may understand concepts but maybe having issue with remembering formulas. Sometimes, the struggles may not be related to math at all and there could be underlying issues like math anxiety or learning difficulties.
No matter the type of problem, it should be addressed immediately so your child can overcome their struggles. And, the first step is to identify the extract nature of the problem. Once you get to know the problem, you can easily devise the right strategy to target the weak spots. If you are unable to help your child on your own, you can seek help from other sources depending on your child’s needs like a math tutor or a counselor.
Practice math in day to day life
Involve math in daily tasks and activities to show your children the practical aspects of math and the importance of math in day to day lives .
For younger children, you can count the number of steps or tress or explore shapes and patterns. You can easily practice math your child when you are going about your daily activities. For example: Measuring ingredients while cooking dinner and learning estimation skills & metric system OR comparing prices, calculating discounts and money during shopping and learning arithmetic skills, etc.
You can also ask your child random questions for helping kids with math like “How many minutes left till 1 pm?” or “Which box should I use to pack this vase?” Make learning math a dynamic activity and teach your child that math is way beyond textbooks.
Work on math vocabulary
Talking math to your child is important for helping kids with math. Math has its own language and grasping math vocabulary is an important aspect of learning math. A good base of math vocabulary will enhance a child’s understanding of math questions especially when it comes to solving word problems. Lack of this ability will cause trouble with math and the child will not be able to figure out the solution. This ability also helps children communicate math accurately while explaining their reasoning or problems they are facing.
You can easily integrate and reinforce math vocabulary in everyday conversations and activities without making it too obvious. Some examples would be: Can you fill the ¾ of the jar with water, we are now 500 meters away from the school, this box is cuboid in shape, isn’t it? Include your child when you want to calculate or measure something. Focus on comparison terms like heavier or lighter, far and near, more or less.
Ensure that your child knows and understands math terms. For example: divisor, reciprocal, irrational number, fraction, etc. The child should also be able to deduce and link concepts. For example: terms like more than, greater than, sum refers to addition while less than, difference refers to subtraction etc.
Develop mental math skills
The ability to calculate mentally is important in math. It enhances speed, fluency, and accuracy while solving math problems. Improving mental math abilities also exercises the brains, improves memory skills, and enhances thinking skills. Learning to do math in the head requires time to learn but you should definitely focus on it if you want to boost your child’s math abilities.
When you find your child doing math, encourage them to calculate mentally and avoid using fingers or calculator for calculations as much as possible. Make use of mental math worksheets and math apps. To improve this skill, make sure your child is fluent with math facts, concepts and math tables. Teach children how they can simplify the problem in their head to make it easier to solve.
Practice mental math with your child with questions like “What is 95 -27” or “Approximately how many 6 will make 76”. Let your child pay for and calculate the change during shopping trips.
Be patient and persistent:
For helping kids with math, you need to be patient with your child. Every child develops at their own speed and it takes time to develop new skills. Let your child discover the best way they can learn by themselves if you want the right kind of math help for kids.
Do not be forceful, rush lessons, criticize, or jam many concepts together. This will only make the child frustrated and anxious. Instead, keep an even pace and learn concepts one by one. Move to the next level only after your child has perfected the previous level, spending more time on areas of concern.
The way to perfection is by being persistent in your efforts. Reinforce math facts and concepts, revisit previous lessons, and repeat activities until it is firmly ingrained into your child’s mind. Maintaining spacing between lessons and teach math in a way that catches your child’s interest. Practice, practice, practice.
You do not need to wait till your child reaches the math chapter in the classroom or goes to the next grade to practice new math skills. If your child has already perfect the current skills and is ready to learn more, why not introduce them to new skills. This will make learning easier for them and give a head start to your children doing math later on.
You can look through your child’s curriculum and introduce your child to the required skills ahead of time. You can also make your child solve advanced math puzzles and involve them in extracurricular math activities to develop new math skills outside of the school curriculum. This will enhance your child’s learning ability, spark your child’s curiosity in math, and boost their confidence. Moreover, these skills might come handy as your child progresses in math.
Provide constructive feedback
Children are bound to make mistakes while learning math. Providing feedback is very important for helping kids with math. It also helps the child understand and work on their mistakes and math issues. Do not be judgmental or express disappointment when your child makes mistakes. Feedbacks should be encouraging and educational. Constructive feedback has a positive impact on a child’s performance and achievement.
Also, make it a point to recognize and reward your child’s progress and show them that you are proud of them. It is important to celebrate your child’s success to motivate them further.
Making math enjoyable, interesting & engaging
Play math games
Children often find math boring and are disengaged during math sessions. So, it is always a good thing to spice things up turning math lessons into a game or a fun activity. Children love games and by approaching math this way, your child will be mastering concepts and overcoming math difficulties without even realizing they are learning. These games are great tools for helping kids with math and provide a hands-on learning experience. Games also develop strategic and abstract thinking and make learning math so much fun.
There are plenty of fun math-based toys for children that have been created specifically to boost math learning abilities. There are plenty of ideas for math games on the internet covering all kinds of math topics. You can use common items like playing cards , dice , dominos to play these learning games. You can also invest in math board games like Scrabble, Monopoly, Yahtzee, and math puzzles and play as a family.
Keep math interesting
Bring some humor and fun into math. Math does not always have to be about textbook problems. Show your children the magic of math.
Introduce your child to brain teasers, math riddles, and math tricks . These will leave your child amazed and they will be excited to try this on their friends. These also help enhance math abilities and logic. Introduce your child to acronyms to help them remember math facts. Teach them short-cut math tricks and speed techniques to keep math interesting.
Keep some math jokes handy to break the tension during dull math sessions. These jokes in addition to bringing laughter will also help your child remember various math facts.
In the current world, everything is getting more and more integrated with technology and the same goes for math. Even teachers have started using technology in classrooms to teach math and give home works. Hence, instead of just relying on textbooks and worksheets, you should utilize technology to improve your child’s math skills. Kids love their devices anyway, so why not use it for helping kids with math.
There are many educational math apps and games. available today for helping kids with math. Most of these math apps are aligned with the current curriculums and their contents are graded starting from pre-K to grade 12. These apps have been proven to be effective for teaching a wide range of math skills. Your children are naturally attracted to these apps because of their colorful animations, graphics, sounds, and compelling storylines.
These apps also have in-built features to spot your weak areas and track their progress and provide you with a detailed report. Most of the apps are also customizable and you can adjust them to meet your child’s specific math needs.
Apps are such a great way to learn math while having fun and provide mathematics help for kids. It also lets your child work independently and improves mental math abilities. Some of the top math games in the market today are Prodigy, Math Blaster, Mathlantis, Dragon Box, and Twelve a Dozen.
We hope that the strategies outlined in this article for helping kids with math will help your child with math skills. With these techniques, you will surely be able to provide a constructive environment for your child to expand on their math abilities and overcome math issues.
As a parent, you need to understand that it is not uncommon to see children struggling with math. With practice and the right kind of support, your child will be able to overcome their struggles in no time and improve their math abilities.
Wish your child success in math!
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