Mathematics is a key subject in schools and a vital skill for daily life. It is now more important than ever to instill a love for maths and numbers in your children at every opportunity.
Below are 5 very actionable tips to foster a love and real enjoyment of maths in your kids.
1. Encourage a Growth Mindset Just as with any activity, like playing a sport or learning a new instrument, practice is vital to keep improving. ‘Practice makes perfect’ is what they say. Maths is no different.
To help your child develop a growth mindset praise learning and the effort taken. Encourage them never to give up and to always try new strategies or ways of doing things where possible.
2. Focus not on the Right or Wrong but on the Logic Used When your child makes a mistake be careful not to only focus on the error made. This way of thinking focuses on what the right answer should have been and not on the logic used.
Be interested in how they got to their answer and then encourage them to think of one or two other strategies they could have used to get the right answer instead.
3. Always Speak Positively About Maths If you want to inspire a love of maths in your child, then you need to keep maths as a positive topic in your home as possible.
Avoid saying how you didn’t do well at maths and focussing on perhaps your dislike for it. Doing so may let your child think that they too won’t do well at it or should also dislike it and that is okay.
4. Play Games Based on Maths and Numbers Keep math as fun as possible! When you play games based on maths concepts (logic, spaces, and amounts for example) with your child, it encourages them to think about these concepts and have fun at the same time too.
Every game doesn’t need to be about math but preferably should involve it in some way. If you are near a good game store (or know of one), contact them and ask what they recommend or have in stock.
5. Encourage Them Not to Use only Memorization or Tricks Even though memorizing a method or sequence or using a trick like “carrying over” will solve the maths problem they are facing, encourage your children to rather also try using number sense to get the problem solved. This way they will not only learn number sense but also the logic behind it and learn to tackle problems from a different perspective too.
So what is number sense? If you wanted to add say 11 + 29 together, you could decide to round up to the nearest 10s. So taking 1 from 11 and adding it to the 29 would give you 30. Now you only need to add the remaining 10 + 30 - which is much easier to add.
At the end of the day whether your child excels at maths or not shouldn’t be your main aim. The most important thing is that win or lose, they enjoy it. Being sure they really enjoy maths and find it fun will only help them to succeed at it, and if they do struggle, they will not find it quite so difficult to work that little bit harder to master it.
If you are still unsure of how to foster a love of maths in your child, why not try talking to their teacher about ways you could support at home what they learn in the classroom.