My child doesn't like maths


When children don't enjoy maths, it is usually because they are experiencing difficulties and do not understand what they are supposed to do.

Very often problems arise with young children because they have not had enough practical experience and have been rushed into working with mathematical ideas in the abstract (eg sums such as 5 + 1= 6) before they have had lots of experience of adding objects together, counting on, knowing that five objects stay the same even if you move them around and knowing that the number 5 is a constant - that it is the same number whether it is cats, dogs, sweets or whatever.

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Children need to use practical methods for as long as necessary. If they are given these tools, they will gain in confidence, become competent and eventually discard them.

If they are pushed into the abstract world of maths too soon, they will not understand and become confused.

When something is demonstrated using counters, number lines, real objects related to a story (eg three bears), your child will begin to see the connection between the numbers and the objects.

Everyone can understand maths if they have enough experience using everyday items and small numbers. 

As they get older, your child will enjoy maths more if it is presented in a fun and relevant way.

Some children don't feel able to ask for help with things they don't fully understand (they don't want to appear stupid) and so miss out on concepts that are important for developing mathematical understanding. Sometimes a quiet word with their teacher can help.

When children overcome sticking points, they can move on confidently and enjoy what they are doing. If a child needs to be motivated, play games with them and let them experience success.

Use any opportunity (cooking, shopping, planting in the garden) as an opportunity to develop your child's number skills - but try to keep it fun and act enthusiastic.

Maths is everywhere and as children start to use it to make sense of their world and recognise its relevance, whether using the Wii, Super Mario, or their iPhones, they tend to enjoy it more.


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Last updated: about 3 years ago