For years, parents have seen their children struggle with math. Parents have watched their offspring spend hours trying to solve confusing word problems or even shed tears over frustrating equations. Math may come easily to some kids, but for many, learning even the most basic math facts can be a struggle. Fortunately, there’s a lot parents can do to help their kids build their math skills and make learning math a lot less frustrating. Below are 4 math tips specifically designed for parents.
1. Make Math Fun
One of the first ways to help kids appreciate math is to throw aside the boring worksheets and toss out the pages full of word problems. Instead, find way to make math a little more fun. Play board games that require kids to use basic math skills or use counting blocks, math dice, and other awesome math toys to help them visualize some of the concepts that frustrate them the most.
If you cannot escape some of the math worksheets or word problems, then try some new ways to make them more exciting for kids, such as:
- Changing the names and objects in word problems to make them more engaging
- Having kids solve equations as they shoot a basketball into a hoop or kick a soccer …….ball into a goal when they get a problem correct
- Setting up timed math drill races and encouraging kids to beat their best time
- Letting kids play free math games
- Rewarding kids for meeting various math milestones
2. Practice Math Every Day
“Perfect practice makes perfect.”
If you want kids to become better at math, they need to practice math every day. This doesn’t require them to spend hours trying to solve complicated equations or sitting them down at the same time every day to have them recite their multiplication tables. It does, however, require making a conscious effort to bring math up in conversation every day. As you’re out and about, point out examples of math that you find. For example, you can talk to kids about addition and subtraction during a trip to the grocery store or give a short lesson in interest as you pay the mortgage. You can also make special privileges contingent upon solving math problems. For example, kids must solve a problem before using a cell phone or turning on a video game console.
3. Bring Math into Everyday Activities
Kids can also build their math skills as they help out around the house. Want to move some furniture around? Have kids measure the furniture and see if it will fit in the new space. Planning on doing some baking? Give kids control over the measuring spoons and cups, allowing them to read the recipe and measure out the proper amounts for each ingredient. A few other ways to bring math into everyday activities include:
- Help create the family budget or balance the checkbook
- Track how far the car can go on a tank of gas
- Count the number of steps it takes to get to a favorite local attraction
- Measure out and plant a garden
- Determine which brand to buy to get the most product for the least money
- Survey friends and family and create graphs based on their responses
4. Be Positive
Above all, be positive. Children who have trouble solving complicated problems or grasping even the most basic math concepts need someone to cheer them on and give them a sense of hope. If you’re constantly telling your child about how boring math is or how hard you find it to be, they won’t be motivated to put in the time or effort needed to build important math skills.