The best way to prepare your child for the future is to teach them math at an early age. Not only will it help improve their critical thinking skills, but it can give them the tools they need to succeed later in life. If you want to help your child grow up with a strong mathematics foundation, check out these ten simple tips on how to get your child excited about math!
There are many reasons kids need to learn math at an early age. First, math is a fundamental skill that carries into every other subject. Second, early exposure can allow students to develop an interest in higher levels of mathematics and related fields. And third, since math requires concentration and logical reasoning skills, it’s thought to improve a child’s overall focus and ability to solve problems.
Introduce Math at an Early Age
Encourage your child to develop a strong foundation in math by having them engage with numbers at an early age. It can include playing games that involve problem-solving, such as counting puzzles and number matching activities, as well as counting objects around you while out and about. While they may not be able to grasp every concept right away, informally introducing math concepts will lay a foundation for them to learn more later on.
Have Fun While Learning
With math being one of those subjects that can be particularly challenging for children, you must make learning fun. Children are naturally curious and tend to love discovery—make a game out of learning, and they’ll learn even more. Start simple by having your child count pennies or match colors with shapes; once they start showing interest in numbers and patterns, try different methods like flashcards or puzzles to help them build familiarity. When it comes time for homework each night, turn off screens. Kids get into math much better when there’s no chance of getting distracted by their favorite television show or video game.
Solve Problems Instead of Giving Answers
When kids are provided with answers, they don’t have to think through how they arrived at them. Asking children questions and letting them come up with their solutions forces them to develop a deeper understanding of math concepts. Additionally, it helps eliminate negative feelings related to math that arise when students aren’t good at solving problems or when teachers emphasize answer-giving over problem-solving.
Build Math Skills Through Different Activities
Kids need lots of opportunities to flex their math muscles in different settings. A kitchen is a great place for kids to practice fractions, measuring ingredients, and counting by twos and fives. Play games outside that involve geometry, like hopscotch or four-square.
Use Number Sentences Instead of Rules
In number sentences, you don’t simply state that something is true, but you explain why it’s true. For example, the sum of two numbers is always greater than one of them (true) vs. adding a number, and its opposite makes that number bigger (true). Number sentences help your kids understand how operations work and how they relate to each other and numbers.
Encourage Problem-Solving Skills
Problem-solving skills are an extremely important foundation for any child. Think about how much math is in our daily lives; from using a recipe, all the way up to balancing your monthly budget and everything in between, we need problem-solving skills every day. It doesn’t mean your kids should grow up to be engineers or accountants, but it does mean that we need children who can think logically, rationally, and with reason.
Enroll Them in a Preschool
Preschool programs can help your child establish a strong math foundation that will last into their elementary school years. If you’re not able to enroll your child in preschool or daycare, or if they are already enrolled and are struggling, it’s time for some problem-solving. Work with your child’s teacher and find out how to support his math lessons at home.
Understand Their Preferred Learning Style
Learning styles vary from child to child, and it’s important to identify your kid’s particular preferences when it comes to math. You’ll want to consider three learning styles: visual, auditory, and tactile. Visual learners learn best by seeing pictures and diagrams; they should be provided with lots of visual cues. Auditory learners prefer that information is read aloud or presented as a spoken explanation. These kids should be given opportunities for hands-on activity. Tactile learners need physical or to try something to learn it better.
Educators and parents agree that teaching children math skills at an early age is essential for building a strong, long-lasting mathematics foundation. Practice makes perfect, so set aside time every day or every week to work on basic math skills with your child.