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Lack of confidence in yr 3 girl

(11 Posts)
TapStepBallChange Mon 02-Jan-17 21:55:28

DD is about to turn 8. She's seems to be suffering from a lack of confidence. She does struggle with reading, and we are getting SENCO help with that. She's always been fine with Maths, but she doesn't believe she can do it. We had tears today that she is the worst in the class, and doesn't understand anything. However once she'd calmed down, it was clear she did understand, but she just gives herself a mental block, says she can't do something and tears follow. She says all the other children find things easy. We've had to explain to her that they may not be finding it as easy as they appear and not to worry about what others are doing. Anyone got any ideas about how you boost the confidence in an 8 yr old? We've told her she can do it, we got her to prove she can do it when she's calmed down and we've talked through how the most important thing is to try your hardest, but I'm not sure if we're getting through.

barefootcook Tue 03-Jan-17 01:33:11

Does DD's teacher know that she feels this way? DS (7) had the same issue with his confidence in maths. I spoke to the teacher at the beginning of the year to say that this was an area that he needed to work on and it seemed to help. She often gave him slightly easier questions to answer in discussion and by the end of the year he was achieving above the standard. We also helped him a lot with his maths at home- i.e. 3 basic fact questions before pudding. I think it helped because his friends could see that he knew the answers and even asked him to help them. It is tricky though as you don't want to push too hard but at the same time success breeds success, so to speak. Good luck!

BigWeald Tue 03-Jan-17 12:25:09

Maybe instead of telling her 'you can do it' (which she doesn't believe, and even when you 'prove' it to her, I expect it takes just one instance of something appearing difficult for her to fall back into her basic belief of 'can't do it') - focus on getting across the message of 'you can learn it'.

see for example here
yourbrainhealth.com.au/8-ways-to-encourage-a-growth-mindset-in-kids/
for examples of what you can say to her, and what you can encourage her to 'say' to herself.

Good luck - it's so sad to see such young children already doubting themselves so much.

Astro55 Tue 03-Jan-17 12:27:07

Get a set of numicon - and play with it
- it's brilliant for visual maths

Add takeaway times devide - it really helps

mouldycheesefan Tue 03-Jan-17 14:33:14

I am not sure telling her she can do it is helping. She clearly sees others doing much more advanced work and that's knocking her confidence. If her reading is poor that may impact on her ability to do maths problems as well. She sees herself as being bottom of the class and that is never a comfortable place for a child to be.
Maths factor is a brilliant website and starts with the basics. It asks children to rate how much they enjoy maths and how easy they find it and the exercises are pitched accordingly. 10 mins a day on that, 10 mins a day on reading and joining some extra curricular activities that boost her confidence e.g brownies, drama etc would help. You are going to need to spend quite a bit of time upskilling her at home(apologies, you may already be doing that in addition to telling her that she can do it)
Has she been tested for Sen such as dyslexia would be the other route I would persue.

Rainbowglow Tue 03-Jan-17 16:16:56

Hello. My DD really struggled with her confidence and maths. What helped her (in a strange way) was stepping back - the constant "you can do it" seemed to make her more anxious. We focused on things she was good and gently encouraged her to pursue these things further. That helped her confidence. Regarding the maths it was a little and often approach - more games focused initially and then finding out what was being covered in advance at school and sitting down and helping her (at home with support from her school) so she had a head start.

2ndSopranos Wed 04-Jan-17 10:11:10

Instead of just focusing on the academic side, does she have any other opportunities to boost esteem? Something like swimming or music where they do need to work, but are rewarded by their progress. Music has been particularly beneficial to my dd as it's a 1:1 situation: she's working with nobody but herself and is therefore the best! Iyswim.

bojorojo Wed 04-Jan-17 17:32:20

At the school I know well, children who find it difficult to access new maths topics receive a "prior learning" top up. This means that they revise the topics that the new topic requires, eg times tables if the new topic is factors for example. I would talk to the school to see if they do this. It may be with a TA. Also, definitely ask about the curriculum. It has become harder with the new curriculum and you need to see exactly what she is expected to learn and how it is taught. Have they had an open evening for maths? Definitely speak to her teacher as well. It does seem to be a girl issue - lack of confidence. We have far too many girls where parents reinforce the "can't do maths" because the Mum's find it difficult too. I am not saying you are in this category, but stay positive, realistic and work on the basics before each new topic. Ask the teacher for guidance with this.

TapStepBallChange Thu 05-Jan-17 22:29:25

Sorry it's taken me a while to come back to this, getting back to school and work always seems to take too much time.

To answer a few points
- no the teacher doesn't know this, I'm going to try and arrange a meeting
- she doesn't have a dyslexia diagnosis as yet, mainly because the LEA won't support it at the moment as her needs are "too specific". We've considered going private. The school have put in place a lot of interventions about the reading, which seem to be working, although we did have to go in and chat to the head when other children were teasing her about her reading level (the head was brilliant)
- I tell her she can do it when it is things I know she can do. DD just sometimes seems to develop a mental block, she says she doesn't understand, and that's it nothing will get through to her, but an hour later it's all fine again
- but overall I try to focus on trying hard
- we do swimming, ballet and brownies, ideally I'd like DD to do more, but we don't have time, if we want to give ourselves time for her to focus on reading, do other homework etc.
- we try not to do "mums don't do maths", I've got A-level, and an economics degree, but DH has a maths degree so he always seems to take over on that. She loves science.

Thanks you for the links on mental health, i do worry about it, there's a history of depression in my family, and now knowing what depression is, I'm fairly certain I had my first period of it when I was about 7.

I like the "prior learning" idea, I'll talk to the school about that.

I'm still trying to figure out what we need to upskill her in. Homework and reading takes far longer for her than it does for other children. I decided that for longer pieces of writing homework we would do it on the computer, as that seems far easier for her, even without using spell check.

I'll have a look for numicon.

We've started doing some simple sums at home, interestingly she asks to do them, where she would never, ever ask to read, and always complains about it.

leccybill Thu 05-Jan-17 22:44:26

I have a DD in Y2 who struggles in Maths. She came home upset today because they have began division and 'it's so hard mummy'. Some brilliant advice on here.

Not sure if it helps or not but I've been frank with DD and told her that maths has got much harder lately and what she is doing in Year 2 is what children used to do in Year 3 and 4 so she is already ahead.
A bit of kidology seems to work with her.

Also told her it is ok to be not so good at every subject but she makes up for it by being a brilliant drawer, and good at making up stories which she seems to accept and believe.

bojorojo Fri 06-Jan-17 11:06:44

When you go into the school, ask for an overview of the curriculum for her year and then you can see what she is expected to know. The curriculum for each year is discrete but obviously builds on learning from previous years. Therefore if you can establish what prior learning she needs, then you are in a position to help. You should also be aware that some schools will teach maths differently now - especially if they are doing mastery maths. Just be careful you are teaching the same methods or there could be confusion!

Would she learn more readily with maths aids and games to build up a greater understanding of numbers and their relationships? Can the school recommend the best ones - what do they have available in the classrooms?

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