We are all born with a natural sense of numbers. Even toddlers know that more is better. When presented with two sets of chocolates, they will naturally choose the larger one. If an object is placed on a high table way beyond their reach, they will automatically point at it asking you to help them. Though in a crude form, they do have a sense of heights.
All these real-life examples demonstrate that children have a primitive sense of mathematics. This escalates into a passion for math and many tournaments, tests and of course the AMC competitions.
Yet, why do we as a society think that math is hard? Why do so many kids feel burdened by math? A combination of lack of confidence and improper guidance has resulted in a dislike for math. All of these factors can be taken care of with proper intervention by parents and teachers. Also, the earlier you try to tackle these issues, the better the chances are of your child falling in love with math.
This affinity will also help them later in life because math skills are not just important for those in technical careers, rather it is one of the most important life skills that they must develop. People who have reasonably good math skills tend to develop logical thinking that helps them in all areas of their life. So do you want to learn some practical ways of motivating your child to learn math? Here are 3 simple tips for you to do so:
1. Connect math to real-life:
When you go shopping with your children, don’t just ask them to put items in the cart. Rather, encourage them to keep a mental note of the prices and by the end of your shopping, they should be able to come up with the total bill. Make it a fun activity with a reward for them if they get it right.
You can also help them get familiar with numbers while you are doing household chores. For example, when you are cooking, ask them to fetch you the ingredients that you need, like 2 onions, 1 cup of rice, ½ cup of daal, 3 cups of water, etc. You can also add a challenge to it by asking them to predict the quantity required for more people. Though these activities might sound very simplistic, they will help them understand that math is not abstract. It is very much related to real life.
2. Use simple math games rather than textbooks:
Math is not just another subject to be studied from the books. If school textbooks are the only source of knowledge for children, math can get really scary. So start with simple games or fun quizzes and use books only as a formal source of information. You don’t need to buy those expensive educational games. Just look up some fun and easy math games for kids on the internet and you can get plenty of ideas. For example, for kids who are learning arithmetic, create a simple game at home with the help of two dice and a chart paper. Make boxes on the paper as shown in the picture below. You can add any operator (addition, subtraction, multiplication or division) as per the current level of the child. Now ask your child to roll the dice. Ask them to write the numbers appearing on the faces of the dice in the boxes and then calculate the result. This way you will also add an element of fun to their math learning!
3. Don’t worry too much about the exam results:
A lot of parents believe that if they reward good performance in difficult subjects like math, it will motivate their kids. It may work in some cases but it is certainly not the ideal way to do things. Let them freely explore the world of math without worrying about the outcomes. Even if they don’t do well in a certain exam, do not encourage them to learn shortcuts. Their primary school marks might not highly impact their future, but their conceptual clarity will. It is important for them to know that making mistakes or not knowing the answer is a part of the process. Help them build a solid foundation for the future.
To conclude, math need not be a subject your child has to struggle with. Given our natural sense of numbers, a little bit of guided approach can help them enhance it further. With a collaborative effort by parents and teachers, learning math can become a fun experience for kids, and pave the way for a more promising future.