Math can be the hardest subject for any child to learn, and it can be even harder for the teacher who is trying to help them. Math is among the most anxiety-inducing subjects in school, and children can bring that anxiety home with them, especially while doing homework. If your child is struggling with math anxiety, here are five ways you can help them overcome it.
Make math fun
Kids love fun, they don’t love math. Naturally, it makes you think that if you add fun into the mix then your child will have an easier time overcoming their anxieties associated with math. As a caregiver, you may be asking yourself how to do that. It’s more simple than you’d think.
Use something fun and attention-grabbing like candy and toys as examples for equations. You can search Pinterest, or Google for tons of fun ideas that will keep your child at ease when learning. There are also plenty of math-centric licensed games and cards which feature familiar faces from Disney or Nickelodeon characters that will help to grab your child’s attention and have them want to learn from the likes of Spongebob Squarepants or the Little Mermaid.
Math is intimidating, even for adults. You’re better off starting simple when attempting to teach your anxious child the ins and outs of mathematics. Teaching your child basic steps to solving simple math equations is the best place to start. Once they’re familiar with the process and can understand how to solve equations on their own, using the same process.
Then, it’s time to move on to the more difficult math problems, following the same system. If they get stuck on something, stop and focus on that particular issue with patience. Take breaks as needed. Figure out the best way to help them understand the tricky parts so they don’t feel pressured to conform to a sort of black-and-white way of learning.
We all know kids love winning prizes. That’s why creating a simple reward system to encourage your child’s education needs is a great idea. It doesn’t need to be anything special, or extravagant. A simple reward chart with fun prizes you know they’ll love, no matter how big or small, is enough to get the job done.
Every time they reach a goal, reward them with a sticker. When they collect enough stickers, reward them with a prize of their choice from the prize bin. Make it a big deal and encourage them with positive reinforcement as well. Let them know just how well they did. Ask them if they’re proud of themself as well. It’s helpful for them to feel accomplished and proud of their achievements.
Create a comfortable environment
Children thrive when they feel secure, comfortable, and supported. Creating a peaceful and relaxing environment for them to learn is really important especially if they’re prone to feeling anxious under pressure, or regarding a particular subject like mathematics.
Take them outside and set up a nice area in the backyard, or back porch so they can experience the fresh air and peaceful mindset while learning. Build a fun fort in the living room to make things extra fun and cozy. Wherever they feel focused and relaxed is a great place to try it out. Children get bored easily, so change it up every now and then.
Remaining calm and patient with your child is arguably the most important tip you need to apply when teaching your anxious child. So many times we’re told horror stories about how upset someone’s parents made them during the frustration of teaching them math.
That’s not going to help anyone. Do your best to have patience and understanding. Take breaks as needed before frustration builds. They’re doing their best and so are you. Remember what it was like for you trying to learn math at your child’s age and it will help you to develop the empathy that you need to be patient. Even some of the smartest children can struggle with math, so know that these things take time and you’ll both be much better off.