Math Strategies and Tips for Parents

Wisconsin Rapids (OnFocus) – How can I help my child with math? What are some strategies for helping my child see how math is used? These questions and more are often heard from parents, along with another that is key for helping parents improve their child’s understanding of math:

Why is it important for my child to learn math?

As a mathematics teacher, the following tips are provided as a resource for parents to help support their child’s math development. The following information was obtained from a resource provided by the Downey Unified School District

Math skills are important to a child’s success – both at school and in everyday
life. Understanding math also builds confidence and opens the door to a range of
career options.

In our everyday lives, understanding math enables us to:

  • solve problems and make sound decisions
  • manage time and money, and handle everyday situations that involve
    numbers
  • understand patterns in the world around us and make predictions based on
    patterns
  • explain how we solved a problem and why we made a particular decision

Children learn easily when they can connect math concepts and procedures to
their own experience. By using common household objects (such as measuring
cups and spoons in the kitchen) and observing everyday events (such as
weather patterns over the course of a week), they can “see” the ideas that are
being taught.

Helpful tips for parents

Be positive about math!

  • Let your child know that everyone can learn math.
  • Let your child know that you think math is important and fun.
  • Point out the ways in which different family members use math in their jobs.
  • Be positive about your own math abilities. Try to avoid saying “I was never
    good at math” or “I never liked math”.
  • Encourage your child to be persistent if a problem seems difficult.
  • Praise your child when he or she makes an effort, and share in the excitement when he or she solves a problem or understands something for the first time.

Make math part of your child’s day

  • Point out to your child the many ways in which math is used in everyday
    activities.
  • Encourage your child to tell or show you how he or she uses math in everyday life.
  • Include your child in everyday activities that involve math – making purchases, measuring ingredients, counting out plates and utensils for dinner.
  • Play games and do puzzles with your child that involve math. They may focus on direction or time, logic and reasoning, sorting, or estimating.
  • Do math problems with your child for fun.
  • In addition to math tools, such as a ruler and a calculator, use handy household objects, such as a measuring cup and containers of various shapes and sizes, when doing math with your child.
  • Encourage your child to give explanations.
  • When your child is trying to solve a problem, ask what he or she is thinking. If your child seems puzzled, ask him or her to tell you what doesn’t make sense. (Talking about their ideas and how they reach solutions helps children learn to reason mathematically.)
  • Suggest that your child act out a problem to solve it. Have your child show how he or she reached a conclusion by drawing pictures and moving objects as well as by using words.
  • Treat errors as opportunities to help your child learn something new.

To learn more, check out the complete list of Math Strategies for Parents

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David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]om