math talkBelieve it or not, parents play a big role when it comes to the struggle between math and their children.  When parents are conversing with their children about math, they tend to say few things that they are not supposed to. These things are common and seems petty but have a great impact on a child’s innocent mind. Math anxiety and stress in kids can easily be taken care of. Few measures are mentioned here. And one of the most important ones is the math talk – things you should NOT say to your child and should say to motivate them and develop their interest in math. So, let us tell you what should you say to your child to make them not scared of math.

Math Talk – The SHOULD NOT’S

“Fast, get over with it already”

We know that it gets out because sometimes it is that state of mind. And you might even forget after saying it while your child tries to solve the sum as quickly as possible. Two things went wrong here, first – you associated math with speed that makes the child believe that math is all about doing the sum fast. Second, instead of solving the sum by understanding and applying the concept, your child will make mistakes just to be done with it.

Math Talk Tip – Spend the same amount of time in fewer sums so that the at least, the sums are correctly solved. Take a break, play math games instead. That way, it will be fun and generate interest in the subject.

“Here, this is the answer”

Don’t just straight away hand over the answer to them. Let them make mistakes, let them learn by their mistakes, let them be wrong. They need to know what mistake they have done and understand the right way of doing it. Handing over the answer is a fast way, but your child will ail in applying the math skill in future.

Math Talk Tip – First you be well rested and calm. Your calmness and patience is much required. Ask your child to move to a different sum and come back to it later. It is important that they spend time on the sum and learn by mistakes.

“This is not the right way but..”

Please know that there are more than one way of solving math problems. Your child might come to the right answer by using a different method. Understand that he/she has used their logic to solve it and appreciate them for it. It just shows that your child has applied the mathematical concept correctly but in a different way.

Math Talk Tip – Observe and listen. See how your child has solved the problem. ask questions like why have they solved it in this way in an appreciative tone. You might be surprised by the response you get and be proud later.

“You were very slow when solving the..”

May be he has taken few extra minutes to solve the sum. He has taken time to understand the problem, come to a conclusion and solving the sum. If he would have done it faster, he would have made common math errors (Read the common math errors and tips to get rid of them). So, it is okay for now.

Math Talk Tip – Give them fewer problems to solve initially. Also, accept that they will take some more time than usual to solve  the sum. Praise them when they have finished.

“I was bad at math also..”

One of the most common phrase said by most parents is that they used to detest math as well when young. Your child will get effected by your attitude and might give up on math without even trying. Please do not say this to your child. Do not be the reason for them to hate math as well.

Math Talk Tip – Acknowledge the fact that math is little tough and requires hard work. But once understood, it is lots of fun. Include games, puzzles, fun printable (Download for free) in your curriculum.

Math Talk – The SHOULD’s

Here is the list of encouraging words that will help your child in enjoying math. Use them quite often and see the magic happen:-

  • Math is useful and important for everyone.
  • Math problems can be challenging but are solvable.
  • With practice, everyone can be good at math.
  • I like math, it’s fun.
  • You can do it, it is not that hard.
  • Wow, you really tried hard on that.
  • I see you have added these two, can you tell me why?
  • It’s okay, try again.

Such appreciative words will boost their confidence and make them want to not give up on math. Instead of being condescending, appreciate their efforts and encourage them through these math talk. Good luck! 🙂

do's and dont's of math talk