What is Math Anxiety? The More You Know, The More You Can Help

Sep 8, 2021 | Glenn Dale

Mathematics is an extremely necessary skill that people use everyday throughout their lives, therefore, math is a vital skill to learn in school. However, many children and adults feel anxious and stressed when they are faced with math. People who experience feelings of stress when faced with math-related situations may be experiencing what is called “math anxiety”. If you or your child feel as though you have experienced math anxiety, you are not alone. Usually, people who have math anxiety believe that they are bad at math and because of this, do not like math. 


Although only a few weeks into the school year because math anxiety affects many people and is related to poor math skills, it is important to understand when and how math anxiety first appears.


Researchers have found that math anxiety causes students to think and worry about how afraid they feel of math, which occupies the working memory resources that they would otherwise use to do the actual math problem. One study cites, “This idea that math anxiety uses working memory has been supported by research studies. Importantly, researchers have reported that children who have a high level of working memory do better on math tests than children with a low level of working memory.”


It is very important to have conversations with your children about their emotional reactions to 

math because it is the first step toward helping to reduce the potentially harmful effects of math anxiety. Stay tuned for the next blog, where we share some implementable tips on how to help your child end their math anxiety