Studies have shown that children are more likely to have an easier time learning any subject when their parents actively support their learning. With an increasingly technological world, it is more important than ever to help children make the effort to learn, appreciate, and gain strong mathematical skills for them to survive in the workforce and even everyday life.
How Do Children Learn Mathematics?
To ensure the success of their children, parents must become involved as early as possible. Developing numeracy is vital to a child’s success in early learning and beyond. The best way for children to learn math is by engaging them in activities that encourage them to:
- Think about what they are investigating
- Collect information, organize it, and then act on it
- Use the information they’ve collected from multiple sources to tackle problems
- Explain how they arrived at their solutions
Children find it easier to learn if they connect math concepts and procedures with their personal experience. For instance, using basic household items (bathroom scales, measuring cups, or a deck of cards) and observing daily events (such as weather patterns over the course of a week) allows them to “observe” the ideas being taught.
Children should also be encouraged to apply systematic trial and error, and a bunch of other strategies to develop their reasoning and problem solving skills. They learn that there is more than one way to solve a problem, and also how to communicate effectively while explaining their solutions.
Beyond that, you can help your child by:
- Being positive about math and talking about ways to apply it every day. Let your child know that you think math is important and anyone can learn it, praise him/her when he/she makes an effort to learn something for the first time, and encourage your child to be persistent when dealing with difficult problems.
- Making math a part of your child’s day by pointing out the many ways that math is applied throughout his/her day. Play games and puzzles with your child that involve math, and include your child in daily activities that include math, such as measuring ingredients, making purchases, counting plates and utensils for dinners, etc.
- Encouraging your child to give explanations or to think aloud about the strategies they’re applying to arrive at a solution. Encourage your child to act out problems or use illustrations to solve them, and leverage errors and misconceptions to develop new ideas and reasoning skills.
Keep in mind that your home is the best place to start “talking” math with your child. Incorporating math language and activities into familiar daily routines will give your child a better understanding of how math works in his/her everyday life, and give him/her a safe environment to take risks and try new things.