Ways to build children's confidence in maths

Apr 2012
Encouraging children's confidence in maths is crucial to helping them develop a positive attitude to the subject.

Understanding mathematical concepts can be challenging for some children and, as most children hate to fail at anything, they can be reluctant to engage in the trial and error process that is critical to developing skills in numeracy.

Encouraging children's confidence in maths is crucial to helping them develop a positive attitude to the subject. Your child may face several stumbling blocks on their path to becoming adept at numeracy. However, each mis-understanding that they can overcome will ultimately help them to become more skilled in the subject.

There are several ways that you can help your children gain a more positive experience of mathematical areas, from shape and space to basic calculations. Below are just a few examples:

Show children what they already know
Children will be surprised to learn that they are already mathematicians in the making, and highlighting their innate mathematical knowledge should help to boost their self-esteem. As an example, you could ask children to cut a cake in half and emphasise that they have already shown skills in the area of fractions. Try extending their knowledge further by asking them to subsequently turn the halves into quarters.

They will be excited that they have tackled the foundations of a complex facet of mathematics simply by carrying out everyday activities. Ask children questions that you are confident that they will be able to answer in order to give them the confidence to calculate problems at higher levels.

Help them develop mathematical knowledge through play
There are a number of maths games on the market, as well as many free interactive games on the internet. Making a connection between numeracy and fun can make a child keen to build on their knowledge in this subject.

Asking children to create their own versions of games such as Snakes & Ladders and Snap, with a mathematical twist, will help them take ownership of their development.

Help children spot patterns in calculations, and they will soon love experimenting with different numerical sequences. As an example, the sum 12 = 3 x 4, is simply 1234, and when it is inversed, 12 ÷ 3 = 4, it still follows the same pattern.