Tips for helping child with counting

(10 Posts)
User181019 Sun 27-Oct-19 17:26:16

Child is almost 6. Still struggles with counting backwards. Counting backwards is a massive issue for him. Can count backwards from 20 not a problem. Cannot count backwards with any number higher than that. Struggles with the concept of "one less". E.g. he will count 29, 28, 27, 26, 25 then 27 and not understand why he's gone wrong there. Ask him what number comes before 7, he knows it's 6 but can't use that to work out that 26 comes before 27. Hope that makes sense. Child gets really upset and says he can't count. I get frustrated though I try not to show it. He loves maths apps so if there are any apps just for counting that anyone can recommend? Or is counting backwards too much to expect at his age? (His maths activity at school currently involve counting one more than and one less than hence why we've been doing this.) Thanks in advance.

OP’s posts: |
Xiaoxiong Sun 27-Oct-19 20:24:20

I assume you have already tried number lines and 100 squares? Make a big number line on the floor and jump along it while counting out loud? I find simple board games also really helpful for practicing counting forward and back, also dot to dot pictures and you can try doing it backwards.

fallfallfall Sun 27-Oct-19 22:05:16

candy...we use smarties (not sure what they are called in the UK).
I've given you 27, if you eat one how many are left, eat another how many are left keep going till none left. add a few and eat more etc.

itsabongthing Sun 27-Oct-19 22:10:53

Well... I can’t help with the counting, but I can tell the previous poster that we have smarties here in the U.K. and they’re called......... smarties!

mealychump Sun 27-Oct-19 22:17:20

Is he year 1? I assume he is?

If so, one more one less will be (unless I'm mistaken) up to 20.

If he's reception then probably up to 10.

Norestformrz Mon 28-Oct-19 05:10:17

Year 1 expectation is

count to and across 100, forwards and backwards, beginning with 0 or 1, or from any given number

Russell19 Mon 28-Oct-19 07:35:13


His issue is understanding how numbers are made up beyond 20. Place value essentially. That the number is made up of a tens number and a ones number. Due to teen numbers below 20 this is often not taught correctly. He needs some dienes blocks or cubes to experiment with this practically. Activities such as making 29 with the dienes (2 ten rods and 9 cubes). Does he understand the link between counting backwards and subtracting one each time? He could physically take one cube away when counting backwards so he can see it practically.

I'm really passionate in my belief that counting shouldn't just be taught by rote. Children need to understand the numbers and how they are made up.


ElenaTan Mon 28-Oct-19 12:55:05

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

GetTheGoodLookingGuy Mon 28-Oct-19 17:01:12

When I worked in Y1, we'd count by putting a random work in front of the numbers, such as "hello 1, hello 2, hello 3" etc, or using their names: "Daisy 1, Daisy 2, Daisy 3". This (along with teaching place value) helped them realise that when they were counting above twenty, the pattern of numbers was still the same - if you can say 9,8,7, etc, and you can say "hello 9, hello 8, hello 7" etc, then you can say "29,28,27" etc. Obviously crossing 10s is a whole other issue!!

User181019 Mon 28-Oct-19 18:00:31

Thanks everyone!! So many useful tips below. I've written them down and will be going through them so we can try them out. Hopefully, it will help. Again, thanks so much for the tips! xx

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