Maths! You either love it or you hate it, but you can’t live without it. Most children, like their parents when they were kids, see Maths as their enemy. Maths is the one subject that evokes emotions ranging from dislike, to fear in children. The fear of the subject has been one of the major causes of anxiety in students, and it stops them from studying tougher subjects that involve maths.Unfortunately, a bad score in mathematics affects the rest of the subject grades too. Child psychologists have determined that a child’s confidence level fall if they’re not getting good grades in maths. Thus, their overall score starts falling.
Maths anxiety is a type of fear; a fear that isn’t impossible to be conquered. So, how can parents help their children with a subject that still gives them nightmares? Here are a few steps that will help your child face his fear of numbers:–
1. Ignore mathematical myths. There is no such thing as a mathematical brain. It’s true that there are different brain types, but that simply means we all have different approaches to problem-solving. Everyone has a different way to deal with problems, but that doesn’t mean your child’s way is wrong. Give them time.
2. Motivate them. Your child may come to you one day and say “I will never be able to understand Maths”. Don’t let them believe that. Simply encouraging them to think positively can help improve Maths scores.
3. Ignore the myths. It’s believed that good mathematical ability means higher levels of intelligence. In reality, Maths isn’t only for the brightest students and there’s no one gender that’s better at the subject. We need to get past these timeworn ideas.
4. Don’t transfer your fear/anxiety to your child. Some parents unintentionally put their own personal fear of Maths in their children. Focus on using positive language when talking about the subject with your child.
5. Make it entertaining. There are many ways to get your child excited about Maths. You could get him/her Maths related computer games or introduce them to educational TV shows that teach basic Maths. There are many books, video games, and websites that can help your child learn in an engaging way.
6. Incorporate it in their day-to-day lives. Ask your child to help you with the house budget. Ask for their help when shopping. Integrate Maths in activities your child enjoys. If your child likes candy then use that to teach them arithmetic.
7. Make it a game. Play games with your children that require Maths. There are many digital or non-digital games that use Maths. Monopoly, Snakes and Ladders, Lego, Blocks etc. are fun games you can play with the family. Challenge them. Ask them how quickly they can calculate something. When they start doing easy sums fast, increase the level of difficulty. For e.g. Ask them to calculate the amount of time to reach a particular destination at a certain speed. Sudoku is probably the most effective game to play to improve mathematical ability.
8. Practice. It cannot be stressed enough. Maths requires a lot of practice. Make them spend a minimum of 30 minutes on the subject daily. Use exercise books that have fun logic questions.
9. Get help if they need it. If your child is struggling a lot, get them a tuition teacher. The extra help will always come in handy. Make sure the teacher is making your child comfortable with the subject.
It’s important that your child doesn’t give up on Maths. Tell them about the many applications of Maths in various careers, and how it will help them no matter what path they choose in life. To help students with Maths, we at Pearson Schools make use of a special program called the ‘Maths Navigator’. The ‘Maths Navigator’ helps improve the conceptual understanding of the subject by means of commonly available material around us, providing students a better understanding of the subject through unique techniques. We have noted that this leads to improved interest and participation in the learning process.
Your child just needs a little push from you, but don’t put too much pressure on them. Following the aforementioned steps for a hands-on learning experience propels kids to think divergently as well as understand and solve mathematical problems from an early age. Positive reinforcement is very important to encourage them. And before you know it, they’ll soon get over their fear of Mathematics! 🙂