Parents: How to help your child’s Mathematics learning

Posted in
February 16, 2024

Does helping my kid with their mathematics homework actually help? The results will surprise you!

If you’re anything like me, you want to help with your child’s mathematics learning but sometimes it feels more like you’re hindering! The hard reality is, that as a parent, we have great power to have an impact on your child, but it’s not always positive! This recent study takes a deep dive into some of these impacts.

Supporting your child's mathematics learning through fun, will build their skills and confidence - and yours too!
Supporting your child’s mathematics learning through fun, will build their skills and confidence – and yours too!

Here are the key takeaways to help you become a positive influence on your child’s mathematics learning:

You use mathematics everyday, and so can your child

Instead of focusing solely on homework, explore fun math activities with your child. Whether it’s playing math games, solving puzzles, or cooking together, these activities provide valuable learning experiences and foster a positive attitude towards math. Think about how calculating measurement, time or distance can be included in fun everyday activities with your child.

Stay Positive and Encouraging

The study found that parents who approach math tasks with positivity and encouragement create a supportive learning environment for their children. Celebrate their efforts, praise their progress, and emphasize the importance of learning rather than focusing solely on correct answers.

Boost Your Own Confidence

‘I’m not any good at mathematics’, have you ever heard yourself say that? You’re not alone, but your confidence in mathematics matters more than you think. Another recent study discovered that parents’ anxiety about mathematics can impact their children’s mathematics achievement and attitudes. When parents are more anxious about their own abilities, their children learn significantly less mathematics over the school year and have more anxiety by the school year’s end—especially if math-anxious parents report providing frequent help with mathematics homework. To mitigate the effects, it’s essential to boost your confidence and create a positive atmosphere around math-related activities. This doesn’t mean you have to be a genius. A fantastic start is to model a growth mindset and show them your own willingness to learn new things. And don’t forget to practice through play, with mathematics apps like Number Hive.

Balance Support and Independence

While it’s important to assist your child when needed, encourage them to tackle math challenges independently. Perhaps start by prompting them with questions. My go-to’s are:

  • “What do you know already?”  
  • “What information do we have?”
  • “Where have you seen something like this before?”

Or this one is a bit cheeky but really helps

  • “Tell me an answer you know is wrong.”
  • “Why is it wrong?”

Allow them to explore different problem-solving strategies and learn from their mistakes. Building resilience and problem-solving skills will benefit them in the long run.

Make Mathematics Meaningful

Help your child see the relevance of math in everyday life. Point out math concepts in real-world situations, such as budgeting, measuring ingredients, or calculating distances. By connecting math to practical applications, you can make it more engaging and relatable for your child.

Be aware of the dangers of negative parental involvement

Criticism, pressure, or a lack of interest can lead to feelings of anxiety or inadequacy in children. Avoid focusing solely on correct answers or using math as a measure of intelligence. Instead, create a supportive and encouraging environment where mistakes are viewed as opportunities for growth.

How apps can reduce the risk of negative parental involvement

This research paper suggests that one fantastic way to reduce the link between parents’ math anxiety and their children’s attitudes towards math is to implement interventions like educational math apps. It has been shown that these can make a significant difference in your child’s math journey.

What to look for in a Mathematics App

My suggestion for those not knowing where to start is to find an app that boosts confidence for you and your child, one that fosters a positive experience of math, and one that is great fun.

These are three key goals we had in mind when creating Number Hive!

Your involvement CAN be have a huge impact on your students mathematics learning and confidence

Your involvement and positive attitude towards your child’s mathematics learning can significantly impact your child’s math journey. By engaging in math activities, staying positive, boosting your confidence, and fostering independence, you can create a supportive environment where your child can thrive mathematically.

Together, let’s empower our children to embrace math with confidence and curiosity!

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