As we’ve discussed before there is a prevailing sentiment that math is something to be feared or hated. Many children and adults readily admit their aversion to the subject. Math anxiety, a topic we defined last week, can begin in childhood, as early as the first grade and can be a result of a history of math fatigue and previous negative experiences in math classes. If your child experiences math anxiety, it can be easy to allow them to throw in the towel but let this new school year be different!
A good math background is becoming increasingly necessary to secure a good future in a variety of professions making math not something that parents can risk opting their children out of.
The good news is that there are ways to break the vicious cycle of math anxiety, avoid fatigue, and encourage joy into your child’s relationship with math! These are some simple things you can do:
- Change your own attitude towards math: probably the most difficult of all, is for parents to learn to like a subject that they may have previously written off.
- Learn to enjoy doing math with your child. Laugh off mistakes, praise correct solutions, have fun looking for a different solution.
- Always welcome your child’s questions. Try to avoid answering your child directly, rather, ask more questions that will eventually lead to their understanding. If you don’t know the answer yourself, look for the solution together.
- Allow time for thinking. Do not expect your child to know everything but help them to think it through.
- Learn to see and do math anywhere. Compare roof shapes, bake and cook together, let them count your change when shopping with cash at the local market, play board and card games that let them utilize math.
The earlier in the school year that you enact these tips, the quicker math fatigue and anxiety will become irrelevant feelings in your household.