All children develop maths skills at different rates, and many can struggle to grasp some parts of the subject entirely. With lots of concepts to learn, from times tables and fractions to complex equations and algebra, it’s certainly not the easiest subject to understand. However, with maths grades being essential to college and university applications, as well as being a vital life skill, it’s important for parents to be able to recognise if your child is struggling. Here’s the signs to watch out for and some ways you can support your student when it comes to improving in maths.
Signs Your Child Might Be Struggling
If your child is having difficulty with maths, there are certain things you might notice. Here are a few to keep a lookout for.
Anxiety Levels Increase Around Maths
Kids who struggle with maths might feel increasing levels of anxiety when it comes to doing maths homework, exams, tests and anything to do with the subject generally. This may even manifest by them avoiding doing their maths homework altogether or crying before a maths test. It’s also common to notice your child getting very overwhelmed and frustrated when completing homework or regularly complaining they “hate maths.”
Struggles With Basic Maths Concepts
You might notice that your child is struggling to remember or apply basic maths concepts they’ve already learnt. This can include simple adding, subtraction, multiplication and division. You may also notice older children using their fingers when figuring out maths problems, rather than doing the work in their head. This can also indicate they’re having trouble keeping up with their classmates and are falling behind.
Difficulty Applying Maths To Real Life Situations
If your child is having trouble with maths, it’s likely they’ll have difficulty applying basic concepts to real life situations. This may include things like:
- Finding out how many days remain until their birthday
- Calculating the cost of something and how much change they should get back
- Working out how much of a certain ingredient to use when baking or cooking
Your Child’s Maths Grades Are Lower Than Other Subjects
If you notice that your child is performing well in their other subjects and their maths grades are coming back much lower, it might indicate they’re having some problems. In fact, receiving lower maths grades may encourage your child to focus on subjects they’re already succeeding in, and spend less and less time practicing or studying maths.
How Parents Can Help
Struggling with maths can often make kids feel like they’re not smart, which can take a huge toll of their self-esteem and confidence levels. So, if you have started to notice any of the signs of maths struggles above, it’s important to start addressing the issue with them as soon as possible. In fact, just a little extra effort at home will be sure to make all the difference!
Speak To Their Teacher
Before doing anything, it’s always a good idea to have a quick chat with your child’s maths teacher. They’ll be able to tell you if they think your child is struggling and will also have plenty of resources or suggestions to help them improve. They may even be able to share with you the types of learning that work best for your child, so you can use these methods at home.
Practice Maths Everyday
When it comes to helping your kids enjoy maths more and improve their understanding of the subject, we recommend doing some form of maths practice together every day. Even sitting down and practicing maths for as little as 10-minutes each night will not only help reinforce what they’re learning at school, but also help your child keep core concepts at the front of their mind for when their teachers introduce them to more advanced concepts. Even if they don’t have any maths homework, find an activity book or worksheets to complete.
Try And Identify Problem Areas
It’s a good idea to try and figure out which areas of maths specifically your child is struggling with. Once you know where the issue lies, it is much easier for you to make a plan of action to address it.
Have Fun With Maths
Often children that struggle with maths don’t actually find the subject enjoyable. Helping your child discover how fun maths can be will probably make all the difference when getting them to have a more positive attitude towards a subject they find tricky. We recommend finding some fun family board games that require maths, informative work books, websites and videos as well as maths learning apps. For some children, all it takes is a change in perspective to transform maths from something feared into something loved.
Try To Use Maths Daily
Encourage your child to use everyday opportunities to apply maths concepts. This can be involving them when it comes to activities like food shopping, cooking, baking or gardening! Each of these real-life applications involve numbers, facts, and concepts which can help solidify knowledge and be excellent practice for them.
Hire a Tutor
For many parents, it’s been a long time since they’ve practiced maths, and a lot has changed. If your child is struggling with maths and you don’t feel equipped to tackle the trickier concepts, hiring a tutor can make sure your child gets the right support. For more information on the different programmes Tutor Doctor offers, click here.