Tips for parents doing maths with their children

Jan 2012
Parents can be a great help by teaching their child to love maths.

Having problems learning and understanding mathematics is very common among young children. The good news is that parents can be a great help by teaching them to love maths.

Maths can be a difficult subject to get accustomed to. While the basics of maths are fairly "easy", those young students who have never heard about the numeric system can find it hard to understand it. Afterwards, when they have finally grasped the basics and feel comfortable with the subject, a second difficult challenge comes when certain operations become harder as the difficulty level increases.

Parents can be a great help for children who are experiencing problems with maths, but they need to know what the best way to help their kids is. Here are some useful tips;

Seeing the point
Show your children how important maths is in everyday life. If they understand that maths is used in their daily routine, they are likely to better appreciate the point of learning it. Making purchases, measuring ingredients, counting out plates and utensils for dinner... Make maths a part of their everyday activities and they will slowly start enjoying it more.

Sit with them
If your children have problems with maths homework, sit with them and help them out as much as you can. Don't put pressure on them and try to focus on making them understand the logic of it by using examples. This is a very easy thing to do when you start with the basics: adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing. They will enjoy the lesson if you use visual aids such as peas or buttons.

When children advance to higher levels of difficulty, parents might actually find they are unable to understand their child's mathematics assignments. If this happens, it is important to provide them with further help from a professional to ensure their progression is not halted. Teachers are likely to offer cogent advice in this particular area.

Be positive and persistent
Maths can be very difficult and it is very easy for children to get disillusioned with a particular equation and give up. If this happens, encourage your child to keep going. This is something that they would need to learn anyway, not only in maths but for their future. Therefore, the sooner they are taught to display determination and to understand that they can overcome any challenge if they work hard enough, the better they will do in maths and life.

Additionally, celebrate every little success when they solve a problem or understand something new; that will boost their self-confidence. Avoid saying "I was never good at maths" or "I never liked maths".

Play games
Developing their mathematics skills using text books is necessary in a lot of cases, but it is not always the most enjoyable way of learning. Playing, in contrast, can help to bring the subject alive. Because of this, introducing games that help them improve their comprehension of the subject, while also having fun, is something which parents should strongly consider.