Tips for mathematics

1. Confidence trap

Remember most people are better at maths than they think they are. Be careful not to say, “I’m rubbish at maths.” What’s harmful about saying “I’m rubbish at maths” is your child may hear this as “Hey it’s okay to be rubbish at maths.”

2. Listen to your child.

When helping your child with their maths listen to them. Let them explain their thinking. Don’t be quick to correct their mistakes.

3. Make it practical.

Never miss a chance to do some “every day kitchen table maths.” For example when it comes to dividing the pizza start talking about fractions and ask questions like “what fraction would we have if Tom was also here. . .” Cooking, measuring, DIY and shopping are great practical maths activities. Card games like 21 and board games with dice and spinners are also valuable.

4. Little and often works best.

Three fifteen minute practice sessions will be more effective than one hour because the brain responds better when learning is spread out. Don’t expect instant improvement – it takes a few months before skills become embedded.

5. Encouragement works.

Finally, and most importantly, don’t forget to encourage your child. You don’t always need to understand what your child is learning – showing an interest and encouraging always has a positive effect. Praise works best when it’s for effort and not necessarily for being quick or getting top marks. Praising for effort encourages learners to try harder which promotes a good attitude to learning.