Math is so important to a child's success in school and in life. Children are more likely to be successful learners when their parents support their learning,according to the U.S. Department of Education. Get involved in your child's mathematics when they're young and then stay involved as they progress through school. You can reinforce your child's mathematical skills and attitude at home in several ways.
Show your child that you think math is important and useful so he'll adopt that same attitude. Avoid phrases such as, “I was never good in math either.” Let them see how you use math at work, at home and in the real world (ie; grocery store, paying bills). They should think of themselves as mathematicians. When you encourage your child to exercise persistence when difficult math problems arise, they'll begin to view themselves as interesting challenges. They will get excited when they solve a problem and want to do more.
Incorporate math into your family's everyday life. Ask your child to sort laundry and match socks. When you take a walk, count the steps aloud. “Billy, let's climb these steps in two’s.” Your child can help with the baking by measuring a cup of sugar or a tablespoon of milk. Older children can figure out how to double a recipe. Let your child pay the clerk in the store and then count their money to ensure it's the correct change. They can help you when you use math tools, such
as a calculator, measuring tape or balance scale. Estimate everything. “How wide is that picture?” “How many quarts of milk do we use in a week?” Then let them test the estimates.
Encourage your child to be a problem-solver. They can help you figure out how many tile
squares you'll need for the entryway or what size picture would fit best on a wall. Ask them to weigh produce at the grocery store and estimate the cost. Give them time to think through problems and tell them you like the way they are
thinking. When a child has a vested interest in a problem, they make a connection
to it. If you're planning a family vacation to a theme park, let them help research
the cost and figure out how much money the family needs to save each week to pay for admission. Ask questions as they solve problems, such as “What
information do you already have?” or “Where can you find that information?”
Communicate with your child about mathematics. Give them opportunities to think out loud. Ask a younger child to tell you the shapes of their crackers or to count the number of eggs in the refrigerator. Talk with an older child about what they're thinking as they solve a problem. Encourage them to act out the problem,
manipulate objects or draw pictures or diagrams to help explain their thinking. If they have trouble with a particular concept, ask which part is causing misunderstanding.
Math is made up of building blocks, and it's important for your child to have a solid foundation. Ensure that they know basic math facts so they'll have a smoother transition to multiplying by two numbers. Help them understand how to find a common denominator, so they won't be stumped by the addition of fractions. Emphasize concepts when you help your child. Cut a doughnut into four pieces to show them one-fourth.
Family games are an effective way to sneak in a little math. Choose board games that require strategic thinking. Let your child be the banker for the game. Grab a pair of dice and take turns rolling the dice to see who can reach 50 first.
Then reverse the process, so they have to subtract. When you're driving in the car, ask them to think of a number and then try to guess it. “Is it an odd number?” “Is it a multiple of 5?” Play a tossing game with the family. Let each member estimate how far he can throw a cotton ball, and then measure the actual distances.
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