When Talking Math with your Child, Words Matter More than Numbers

Aug 11, 2017 | Cambridge

“I’m not a Math person.”

“I was terrible at Math when I was in school.”

“Math is not my thing.”

“I hated Math class.”

Confession time … have you ever said something like this in front of your child when they need help with their math homework? As math educators, we hear that all the time. Math scares a lot of parents. Math will always be part of the school curriculum. Despite the well-worn joke, all of us DO use math after we graduate from high school. And so will our kids … Math is here to stay. So, what to do about this highly contagious mathematical anxiety many parents feel? Stop spreading it.

Like many things in life, this can be managed with how effective communication. Choosing your words differently makes a huge impact – and it can assist parents to not project their own anxiety onto their children. Maybe you can’t do their Algebra homework, but you can certainly create a more positive approach.

When your child approaches you and says “I don’t get this. I need help” Have them drill down to more details, check for their understanding and check for your own understanding:

You may not be able to instantly (or ever!) provide the answer, but guaranteed this is a lot more effective than “Don’t ask me, I am not a math person!” Even if the answers aren’t clear, don’t be visibly frustrated or exasperated – it’s contagious. This way, you can pinpoint the area where your child needs some guidance so they can seek out the answers. It’s not a lost cause and your child isn’t left feeling deflated – they can have an action plan on where they need some help.

You may not have all the answers, but there are resources out there to help your child in a positive and effective way. The Mathnasium Method teaches children how to understand Math and take the fear and frustration away – and makes it fun (Yes, math really can be a whole lot of fun!). But we can’t do it alone. We need parents to talk about Math differently – even if it’s scary. Even if you don’t have the answers. Even if you’re “not a Math person”! As the saying goes … I used to hate Math, but then I realized that decimals have a point!

Contact Mathnasuim to find out which program is right for your child and schedule a free assessment or free trial at 519-893-0808 / [email protected].