Is your child struggling with maths in school? Don’t worry; you are not alone. Maths is one of the most feared subjects for many children around the world. But that need not be the case. As parents, we must remember maths is just another subject that our children need to deal with. We must deal with this anxiety in a very professional manner to ensure that our children overcome this fear and develop confidence. Here are few tips that can help your child get over his math phobia.
Have a positive attitude
If you hear your child saying things like, ‘I hate maths,’ or ‘I am stupid,’ correct him immediately. Do not let him wallow in self-doubt. Explain to him that maths is as easy as any other subject. Sometimes you just need to put some extra efforts in specific topics. Work with him/her to get rid of this fear before it becomes a severe phobia.
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes
Teach your child not to be scared of making mistakes. Maths as a subject is all about calculations and answers. Many children are so scared of making mistakes that they do not attempt the questions. Teach them that making mistakes is okay and gradually they will learn from their mistakes. Encourage your child to ask questions. Whether it is in the home or the classroom, they should ask their teacher if there is any doubt in their mind.
Remove the time factor
Many children have anxiety about maths because of their inability to solve a problem in a fixed amount of time. Not being able to solve a problem in the same amount of time as their classmates can cause anxiety. When you take the time factor out of the equation, the fear also comes down. Tell your child that maths is not necessarily about speed and it’s perfectly normal if they take time in solving the mathematics questions.
Don’t pass on your anxiety
Often parents are themselves afraid of maths. This anxiety can quickly pass on to your children. Don’t let your children know that you too were scared of maths. When you say things like, ‘I too was never good at maths,’ you are telling your kids that you can either be good at this subject or bad. Act as if you love maths even if you don’t. Not only will this help them overcome the fear, but they will also develop confidence in the subject.
Sometimes due to their anxiety children can’t focus on the easiest of the maths problems. Play some easy maths games and puzzles with them to calm them down. Play card games and ask your child which card is bigger. Play with two dice in board games and ask your child to add up the numbers to move forward. Learning mental addition is a great way to improve speed for bigger calculations later. They will be able to focus much better with a calmer mind. Search the internet for some easy math games to play with your child.
You can develop confidence in the subject if you practice regularly. Even if you spend just half an hour every day on the subject, you will soon become an expert at it. Practice maths with your child in a fun and playful manner.
Talk to the teacher
Talk to your child’s teacher and let him/her know about your child’s problem. Be in constant touch with your child’s teacher and plan a more structured approach to help your child overcome math phobia and improve his mathematical skills. Once the teacher is aware, she will also work towards taking the anxiety out of your child’s mind.
If your child is struggling with some math problem, resist the temptation to solve it for him. Ask him some pertinent question about the problem; let him come up with the answers on his own. Once he realises that he can solve the problem himself if he just thinks about it more clearly, it will give him a lot more confidence to solve other problems on his own.
Appreciate your kid’s effort
Children respond well when their teacher or parents appreciate the effort put in by them. Criticism often has the opposite effect. Praise the child even if the answer to the problem is not correct, after all, he has put in the effort. This will help with his confidence and his ability to do better in the future.
Everyday uses of maths
How often have you heard your child saying, ‘This is of no use, why do I have to learn this?’ This is your cue to teach your children about every day uses of maths. When they realise that maths is not just an abstract subject and it has numerous uses in our everyday life, they will show more interest in the subject. Teach them how maths is used during shopping (addition, subtraction) and cooking(fractions).
When you go out for shopping allow them to calculate the bill and the change that they have to get back.
Make a difference
Getting rid of fear is the first step towards learning. No child can learn well if there are negative thoughts in his mind. Our first job as a parent is to remove this negativity from your child’s mind and replace it with positivity. ‘You can do this. This is simple.’ Start your maths lesson with these simple words and see the difference.
As a responsible parent, you also need to be patient towards your child. Don’t introduce all these ideas all at once. Keep the progress natural and see your child bloom.