Helping Your Child in the Area of Mathematics
Support positive attitudes towards mathematics
● Let your child know that everyone can be successful in mathematics. This can be done by…
● …encouraging your child to be persistent in working through problems; success will build confidence.
● Avoid negative comments about math such as, “I was never good at math.”
● Praise effort not intelligence. Use words like I like how hard you are trying. Avoid saying things like you are smart.
Be an active participant in your child’s learning
● Read books to your child that involve math and talk about the math as you read.
● Relate math to real-life experiences so your child can see how math is useful.
● Complete puzzles and play board and computer games that involve logical thinking, strategizing, and reasoning.
● Involve your child in daily activities that require the use of math such as weighing objects at the grocery store,
measuring ingredients for a recipe, and estimating the amount of time it will take to complete a task.
● Problem-solve out loud so your child can learn how think through the steps necessary to solve a problem.
Create an appropriate learning environment
● Provide materials and manipulatives that promote and support mathematics such as pencils, paper, rulers, tape
measures, counters, protractors, calculator, measuring spoons/cups, analog clock, graph paper, thermometer, etc.
● In a well-lit place, create a “homework spot” complete with sharpened pencils and erasers, where your child can study and do homework.
Promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills
● As your child works on math assignments, ask higher order thinking questions such as How can you prove that? What would happen if…? Does that make sense? Can you predict what would happen next? How does this relate to…?
● Encourage your child to solve problems a variety of ways: Guess and check, draw a picture, make a list, solve a
similar problem, look for a pattern, work backwards, use manipulatives, simulate the problem, make a list, etc.
Show interest in what your child is doing and learning at school
● Make it a habit to ask your child to tell you about what they learned about math in school that day. Follow up with interesting questions to let them know what they are learning is important to you.
● Participate in parent-teacher conferences, Open House nights, Family Math Night and other educational and
For more ideas on helping your child in math, visit the Family Math Night Facebook page or website
Image: Sharon Pierce McCullough
Karyn is co-founder of Math Unity LLC, an educational company specializing in elementary mathematics. She has a BA in Child Development, a Masters of Arts in Education with a Specialization in Elementary Mathematics and a multiple subjects teaching credential. Her passion is designing real-world lessons that resonate with kids and their interests. Karyn is the creator of Nifty Numbers, Math Medley, Gellin' with Geometry and Play and Take Family Math Night kits. These kits were designed to build strong family-school partnerships and get parents involved in fun and engaging math activities with their children. To find out more, visit www.FamilyMathNight.com