4 Signs Your Child is Struggling With Math and How You Can Help

Aug 19, 2021 | Brampton South

We have reached mid-August and the return to school is fast approaching. Our young learners are going to need more support as they enter the next grade level and begin tackling new concepts and topics, especially in math. 


Math is a cumulative subject. Each grade level builds on what they have learned the year before, so it is essential for students to firmly build their foundation and master each concept. Leaving unchecked gaps in your child’s learning leads them to fall farther and farther behind and lose confidence in their math capabilities. 


Sometimes children won’t voice their struggles, so as parents, teachers, and siblings, it is our job to watch for the signs and listen to their unspoken asks for help. 


Here are a few signs your child might be struggling with math:


The Sign

How you can Help

1. Negative comments about math


Your child might say things like “I hate math” or “I’m not smart enough.” This negative self-talk exacerbates the situation and leads to self-doubt.

Change your attitude towards math


Children learn from their parents and their environment. 


Trying to make math fun through colours, stickers, games, and puzzles can help re-energize them!

2. Gets anxious about math


Your child may avoid math homework or get nervous before tests.

Emphasize a “growth” mindset 


Children also need to be reminded that sometimes they just “don’t understand yet” rather than “cannot understand.” Making a mistake or taking a bit longer to understand a topic is normal. With time, practice, and encouragement, they can master it!


Perfect test marks aren’t the goal. Improvement, understanding, and application are better indicators of learning.

3. Having difficulty applying math concepts to the real world


They have issues using math to problem solve in their own life. They might not be able to answer questions like:


-using skip counting to quickly count objects

-calculating the number of days until their birthday

Include them in errands!


This shows them the daily applications of what they learn in class and brings math off the page!


This is especially useful for young learners who might not yet have an understanding of the physical meaning or value associated with a number. 


Have them help you collect and count ingredients when you are cooking!


They can help you make change.


Put snacks into groups for their lunch!

4. Having difficulty finding alternative approaches to questions


The beauty of math is that there are often many ways to think about and solve a question.


If your child is working on homework and gets stuck on a question that isn’t exactly like the example, it may be a sign that they have only memorized a method rather than understood the concept and visualized how to apply it. 

Make learning tactile & Connect with their teacher


Draw pictures and use physical objects to help them visualize concepts!


Teachers have resources and tools that can help your child learn better. They may also be able to provide insight into what might be an area of confusion for your child and better support your child’s learning.