Five Signs That Your Child Is Struggling With Math

Oct 4, 2017 | Cambridge

First Step to Solving the Problem Is Identifying It

“When Kids Get Stuck on a Math Idea, They Aren’t Likely to Speak Up”


Now that school is back in full swing, new math ideas are coming at students every day. Math topics taught in class today build on concepts taught in years prior; kids fall behind in math because they lack the prerequisite skills necessary to do well.

So, if a child is having a hard time keeping up in math, it’s important to act now. Fortunately, there are many telltale signs that a child is falling behind—parents simply need to know what to look for.

When kids get stuck on a math idea, they aren’t likely to speak up. They’ll often just sit there, fall behind, and then become frustrated with their homework and classwork. Eventually, they can simply give up. Clearly, it’s important that parents address this problem early on so they can take the necessary steps to get their children back on track. The first step is recognizing that a problem exists.

Below are five signs that suggest a child is struggling with math:

  • Math grades are lagging, but student has good grades in other subjects.
  • Student demonstrates negative sentiments/low self-esteem regarding math, with child expressing boredom or making comments like “I’m no good at math.”
  • Missing key milestones. Addition/subtraction should be mastered by the end of 2nd or 3rd grade, multiplication and division by the end of 3rd–4th grade, fluency with fractions at the end of 5th–6th grade.
  • Physical signs like counting on fingers suggest poor retention of number facts.
  • Comments from the child’s teacher about “not working up to his or her full potential.”

If a child shows any of these signs, there are several things parents can do before the situation deteriorates. Seeking help from the student’s teacher is an obvious first choice. Offering to help the child more closely with homework is another. And, of course, enrolling in an after-school math program like Mathnasium that specializes in strengthening foundational knowledge while providing homework support is another option that brings professional help and expertise.