Does the prospect of helping your child with their maths homework trouble you? If so, you’re not alone. A third of parents told the Open University that they struggle with their child’s maths homework (children aged 6 to 9) during a recent study.

Although many of us are daunted by digits, education and development experts warn against communicating a maths aversion to our children. Witnessing an adult’s dislike for the discipline could potentially damage their fledgling confidence with numbers.

We’ve some tips to boost your confidence from some experts in the maths field – perfect for when you’re putting on a brave face:

Don’t know the answer? Say so
If your fear of maths is rooted in memories of failure in tests or embarrassment in maths class, maybe it’s time to rethink maths as all about making mistakes. Teachers would reassure parents that maths, at its heart, is about problem solving and problem solving takes time. Parents aren’t under pressure to give a correct answer to every maths question on the spot. Instead focus on the learning process and figure out the solution with your child. This in turn helps children to develop a growth mindset.

Try the latest methods
How maths is taught in schools can seem to change with every generation. Your child’s teacher should be delighted to hear you asking about the latest methods and they might even have time to share a quick tutorial on partitioning and place value.

Have fun weaving primary maths topics into everyday life
Making maths relevant to daily, fun activities is a recommended method of boosting engagement:

  • Shape spotting – Year 2 children will be learning all about shapes including 2-dimensional circles, squares, hexagons and octagons, plus 3-dimensional spheres, pyramids and cylinders. Take the time on a shopping trip, or during a walk, to point out together as many shapes as you can see. Or dedicate a day to spotting all the types of spheres that surround you.
  • Kitchen time – children can enjoy learning about capacity, weights and measures in the kitchen. Whether they are cooking or washing up measuring jugs or counting pasta shells into the pot turn the kitchen counter into a place to count.
  • Measuring up – Year 5 children measure to the mm. Ask them to use your tape measure to mark up a piece of ribbon before you cut it for use. Or before a DIY project, walk through the materials being used and discuss their original dimensions compared to the size of the finished construction.
  • Trips & timetables – Hop on the train or the bus after looking at the timetable online or in person. Ask your child to work out the length of the journey based on your start and arrival times.
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    Parents can find more practical tips and advice at the National Numeracy website, here – https://www.nationalnumeracy.org.uk/family-maths-toolkit

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