With maths anxiety affecting many primary and secondary students throughout the UK, it’s no wonder so many pupils dread the subject. In fact, studies have even suggested that up to 55% of the population have a negative attitude towards maths, with many admitting to being ‘useless’ at the subject. With the maths UK curriculum being very full, there’s often not enough time for students to consolidate new skills before teachers have to move onto the next topic. This means that when topics are tested or visited again, kids can sometimes feel that they can’t ‘do’ maths, which can lead to them avoiding the subject and developing a negative association. Here’s some easy ways to help kids tackle maths anxiety and build up confidence!
Signs Of Maths Anxiety
- A negative attitude towards maths.
- Low confidence when dealing with maths problems.
- Avoiding maths homework or the subject in general.
- Excessively worrying about maths tests.
- Feeling overwhelmed about new concepts.
Making Mistakes Is Normal
It’s important to help your child understand that making mistakes is normal and a very important part of learning- even in maths! Even though it may cause worry and anxiety for your child when they do get something wrong, encourage them to try and learn from their mistakes rather than feel disheartened. In fact, research even shows that our brains are more active when we get something wrong, than when we get something right.
Make Maths Fun
Making maths fun is the key to gradually replacing anxiety by building up enjoyment instead. We recommend using websites, games or apps to engage and inspire your kids and remind them that maths isn’t so scary after all. Not only does this keep learning light-hearted and fun, it also provides lots of opportunities for practice, building up a deeper understanding of concepts and using problem solving skills.
Fill In Learning Gaps
Taking extra time at home or with the help of a private tutor, filling in any gaps your child has in their maths knowledge will do wonders for their anxiety. It can be very difficult to make progress if kids don’t have a firm grasp on specific maths concepts, so building these back up will be sure to increase their confidence levels too.
Display A Positive Attitude
It’s important for parents to avoid passing on their own maths anxiety, so it’s probably best not to tell your kids if you were bad at maths. Instead, having an encouraging attitude towards the subject will help them try and maintain a positive attitude too. It’s also a good idea to praise your child if they make any progress, even if it’s small, as this can help build up their self-confidence and believe they can do it, even if it’s tricky!
Make Maths A Part Of Everyday Life
Making maths a part of everyday life is an excellent way to help kids realise that it isn’t so bad after all. Whether it’s weighing out ingredients during baking, calculating the cost of the weekly food shop or figuring out how long it will take for them to save ‘X’ amount of pocket money- there are maths opportunities everywhere!
Let Your Child Talk About Their Worries
It’s important to let your child openly talk through their concerns about maths with you for them to be able to overcome them. This way you can listen to what they’re struggling with and offer support and advice. It can also be very helpful for kids to get their thoughts and feelings out in the open, rather than bottling up their worries. Even the act of saying things aloud can be stress relieving and in some cases, kids may even realise their own answers to their problems!
Remind Your Child To Ask Questions If They Don’t Understand
Finally, one of the easiest ways to tackle maths anxiety and start building up confidence again, is for your child to simply ask for help. Remind them that it’s okay to tell their teacher they don’t understand something and there’s no shame in asking for some extra help. Usually teachers will have an alternative way of explaining or be able to provide kids with additional learning resources.