For decades, math has proven to be a difficult and dreaded subject for many students, but this really shouldn’t be the case. There are many things that your child can do to improve math confidence and performance.

Here are five things you can do to help build your child’s math confidence:

  1. Acknowledge your child’s negative feelings about math
    Many students believe that they just aren’t good at math. Having a bad teacher or receiving a bad test grade can easily convince children that math just isn’t for them. This defeatist attitude must be addressed. For example, if your child receives a bad test grade, parents and tutors should emphasize that negative math experiences do not determine one’s math ability. Parents and tutors can share anecdotes about bad test grades they received in the past and how they worked through them to overcome these negative experiences. By combining an encouraging message with additional math support, parents and tutors can build a child’s math confidence.
  2. Know the basics
    Students should know how to confidently and correctly perform the basic operations (add, subtract, multiply, and divide). If these skills are not present for your child, you should take action. For example, you can test your child on basic concepts (addition questions, times tables, etc.) for ten minutes every evening. Other options include private tutoring or a fun computer program to reinforce these basic skills.
  3. Take breaks
    It’s difficult to focus on math for a test or homework assignment for 45 minutes straight. So, it’s okay to take a “mini mental break” after a section of a test or assignment. Taking a one minute mental break to stretch or relax can help your child refocus on the task at hand.
  4. When stuck, children should think about what they know
    If your child doesn’t know an answer on a test or assignment, he/she should not give up. There are a lot of tools that can be utilized. Have your child take a deep breath and ask, “What do I know about this topic?” If the question is about finding an angle in a triangle, your child could say, “Let’s see – triangles have three angles that add up to 180 degrees, so this could help answer the question.” Therefore, by starting with what your child already knows, it could help answer questions.
  5. Positivity
    Don’t get down on your child! Acknowledge the effort your child puts into studying for a test or completing an assignment. Encourage your child to hold his/her head up and say, “I got this! I studied for this test, and I know this stuff. I’m going to do well.” When positivity is a mindset, good things happen.

Overall, these things can help improve your child’s math confidence and lead to higher grades. While building your child’s math confidence may take time, it’s an important element to address in order to succeed in this important subject.

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