We all know how important math skills are. But how early should kids start to pick up math? In fact, the earlier, the better! A study by Developmental Psychology showed that the way you learn and use math in kindergarten has a connection to how you will do the math for the rest of your life. This shows how beneficial it is for your child to start early, and nothing is better than creating a conducive environment for math at home. Read on to find out how you can pique your child’s interest in math and foster a natural curiosity towards the subject!
1) Transform your home into a math playground
Making a new recipe you found online? Planning your budget for grocery shopping? It’s all math! Math is actually all around us if you know where to look. Incorporate math and arithmetic into your daily life, and skills such as counting, adding, subtracting and estimating will soon become second nature to your kids.
Do your kids love a meal you specialise in? Show them how to make it. You can even get them to be your little helpers and measure out the ingredients together. Let them calculate the amount needed and do the conversion if you’re scaling up the recipes. This is a fun family bonding activity you can do while using math, and everyone will even be rewarded with a great treat at the end!
2) Have fun with math
When you were a kid, would you rather do homework or play games? Be honest. If given a choice, every kid will jump at the chance to play. There’s no better way to nurture a love of math in your child by having fun with math games. Learning doesn’t have to be boring and academic all the time. It’s time to bring out the cards, board games and puzzles for some good old game time!
Playing games like these are great ways to practise and give kids a reason to keep learning. Research has shown that even playing a math video game can help in improving math skills. When your child is excited to be challenged and succeed with what they know, math becomes less of a subject they have to learn and more of a skill they love using.
3) Focus on the process and not the answers
We’ve heard of the phrase, “It’s about the journey, not the destination”. When checking your child’s work, your mind may consciously focus on only the answers. However, could we be looking in the wrong places?
When working on a math problem, you can only work towards the answer when you know the right concept and working solutions. Talk to your child to see if he or she fully comprehends the concepts. Are they able to teach you as if you’re the student? Can they approach the problem in a different way? By focusing on the process, it stimulates your child to identify the problem and concepts needed to solve the question, and nudges them away from the tunnel vision of only looking at “right” or “wrong” answers.
4) Be involved in your child’s learning
Math is not easy. Have you ever shed tears while trying to figure out a particularly complicated math problem? Many of us have been through this process during our schooling years. They may also have math anxiety, which refers to the nervousness and fear that comes with the pressure of having to do math.
Make sure to be there to support your child when they face difficulties and need math help. Avoid criticising them when they make mistakes and acknowledge their effort. Let them understand that hard work is difficult, but they should not avoid it. With encouraging support from parents and a proper growth mindset, kids can learn to look forward to challenging math questions with confidence and determination.
5) Cultivate a positive attitude towards math
Kids are great at picking up habits from parents. A study conducted by the University of Queensland reports that young children learn from the actions of others around them, even from videos and television. The same thing can happen with math. If you show frustration and dislike towards math, it can carry over to your child.
As parents, make sure to speak positively about math. Point out how interesting math can be and how it is present in our everyday life, such as in architecture, nature, fashion design, and more. This helps to instill a sense of positivity and curiosity towards math in your child, letting them feel excited about math.
Getting your child interested in math can be easy
Nurturing a love of math in your child can be easy. It helps to start while they are young and from the environment of your own home. Most importantly, take note to make math a constant and exciting subject in the house. Taking the time and effort to build a math-rich environment now can go a long way in helping your child excel in math when they start school. Plus, you’d never know — there could be budding future mathematicians living under your roof!
To further boost your child’s interest in math, Spark Math online classes feature animated explanations and highly interactive lessons to help your child master math heuristics. Sign up for a FREE trial class to experience Spark Math today!