How Do You Help A Child With Math Anxiety?
Math anxiety can be a big burden for kids, particularly in the early childhood years where they’re just beginning to learn to count and problem solve. A major study conducted by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) found that 89% of children aged between four and ten struggle with math difficulties in school.
These difficulties in math can often be laid at the feet of an over-scheduled, no-nonsense attitude which can shut down a child’s interest in mathematics. And if you know your child is struggling with the subject, don’t panic and panic, but rather, help your child out.
How Do You Help Your Child?
First, understand that math anxiety is a complex issue that is usually exacerbated by the fact that we bombard our children with ‘rules’, ‘correct answers’ and an expectation of reliability. As a result, stress-related factors are often encouraged rather than being addressed when they aren’t needed, and it’s important that you understand the way that this can affect your child.
Before you start to notice your kids’ difficulties with math, try to see whether they’re focusing on the right things. While they need to hear positive messages about the ‘hard’ stuff, they shouldn’t be told the subject is ‘too hard’ or is too ‘placid’.
Alfredo Lampra, Ph.D., co-author of Math Anxiety and Habits in Education: A Revolution in Perspective, says it’s better to identify and decrease certain signals that can exaggerate problems with mathematics, such as:
Tension (how your child feels about, or gets themselves into, the ‘math’ zone).
Fear (that math is too hard and it won’t come naturally or happen).
Unrealistic expectations (that you should be able to answer all the ‘hard’ questions and that math only comes naturally).
Results (how you feel when your child actually comes up with the right answer).
In order to help them deal with math anxiety, emphasize the reality that the subject can sometimes be hard – and that they can learn how to cope with the tough times by starting a regular practice of solving simple problems.
If you’re conscious of the child’s math problems and are able to give them (naturally) positive feedback, this will help remove the stress which can sometimes make the whole experience seem too daunting to tackle. Also, if you can break down the concrete-type of problem into smaller, more logical-type chunks, then this should help keep the stress down.
How Do You Start Learning Math As a Child?
Your children need help getting into the ‘math zone’, but it’s important that the difficulties around the subject are presented in a positive light. If you discuss the various problems they could find themselves having with science, tech, engineering and math, they won’t have as much weight to put on ‘math’ in the right way.
A lack of education around how the subjects are taught can be a huge problem, and it’s worth taking time to discuss what constitutes good teaching with your child. Anything that could boost their capacity to understand the subject in a good way will be beneficial – speaking to a teacher can often be a good start to start this sort of dialogue.
Showing your child how they can open and close books by grabbing on to the inside pages, or showing them how the page might have some wonderful ‘candy-coated’ information underneath, can help them feel more comfortable with the subject.
Who Else Can Help Your Child?
Naturally, there’s a long list of professionals you can turn to – this includes your own doctor, pharmacist, and dentist, as well as a qualified tutor or teacher. However, if you’re struggling with your own lessons, it’s vital that you look into the topic of a math council which could help you out.
Any parent who has been to school can attest to how much positive impact they can have on their child’s learning. If they can demonstrate how they can bring their own personal experience to bear on their child’s learning, they will boost their ability to pass on the love and knowledge they have with their child.