Raising Kids Who Aren't Scared of Math and Other Tips for Parents

November 3, 2020 | Andrea

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Math can be super stressful for kids, parents and teachers. Even as an adult, feeling like you can't do math leads to a lack of confidence and a feeling of hopelessness. But you don't have to be a math genius to inspire one!

Brainfuse is an online homework help service, free to access with a library card. It offers lessons and practice tests for students in grades K to 12. Math is the most requested subject in the elementary section, which might not surprise you. Among adults and children alike, math anxiety is quite common. So making math fun might sound tougher than trigonometry. We have many resources to help, though.

Check out our series of Raising Confident Kids online workshops to empower parents and caregivers. One of our guest speakers is Vanessa Vakharia, the author of Math Hacks, who will be discussing strategies to support your child's learning at home. Tune in live on November 5 or watch the replay.

 

Math Hacks by Vanessa Vakharia and Hyein Lee

Math Hacks by Vanessa Vakharia

 

Tips to reduce math anxiety

  • Use math humour. Cheesy jokes can be a pun-derful segue into an informal lesson. You know what seems odd to me? Numbers that can't be divided by two. Why did the student get upset when his teacher called him average? It was a mean thing to say!

  • Play math games. When kids see math as fun, they will start to enjoy it. Make a game out of counting and sorting toys. Play pretend and shop at your child’s grocery store or visit their restaurant. Classic games like Monopoly, Uno and Yahtzee can help build math skills and boost confidence, not to mention tons of online educational games. Are your kids Minecraft players? There are STEM activities for them, too.

  • Show kids how math is useful in everyday life. Point out math concepts in practical and positive ways, whether it's cooking a meal or watching a sports game together. By transforming the way you approach math, your child will be less likely to associate it with frustration.

  • Read a fun book. We've put together a STEM ebook collection for kids in grades K to 3 and another for grades 4 to 6. It's never too early to have fun with math! Browse books for preschoolers about counting and shapes.

  • Follow up with a math-related activity, like one of our Mini Makers programs that explores shapes and strength.


     

Book recommendations

Bedtime Math by Laura Overdeck and Jim Paillot

Bedtime Math by Laura Overdeck and Jim Paillot

BEDMAS before bedtime? It’s a new childhood ritual! Instead of stories, try a math riddle with this fun series of levelled challenges for ages 3 to 8.

 

The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math by Sean Connolly

The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math by Sean Connolly

How many months would it take a single vampire to completely take over a town of 500,000 people? This book presents math problems as thrilling, story-driven challenges for middle school mathematicians. Who knew fractions could be so exciting?

 

Counting the Stars by Lesa Cline-Ransome and Raúl Colón

Counting the Stars by Lesa Cline-Ransome and Raúl Colón

What do mathematicians do at NASA? Be inspired by this picture book biography of Katherine Johnson, whose work helped launch rockets and astronauts.

 

Do Not Open This Math Book by Danica McKellar and Maranda Maberry

Do Not Open This Math Book! by Danica McKellar and Maranda Maberry

Mr. Mouse is afraid of math, but the cartoon lessons he learns will help students in grades 1 to 3 overcome their aversion to arithmetic.

 

Earth-Friendly Math Crafts by Veronica Thompson

Earth-Friendly Math Crafts by Veronica Thompson

Math-themed crafts made from household odds and ends you already have on hand.

 

I'm Trying to Love Math by Bethany Barton

I'm Trying to Love Math by Bethany Barton

A purple alien makes a case for why math is anything but boring! Kids ages 5 to 8 will enjoy the colourful pictures and playful humour.

 

In Great Numbers How Numbers Shape the World We Live In by Isabel Thomas and Daniela Olejníková

In Great Numbers by Isabel Thomas and Daniela Olejníková

Numbers are very important in our daily lives. How else would we ask for three scoops of ice cream? An exploration of the history of numbers and how they help us understand the world. For ages 7 to 9. 

 

It's a Numbers Game by James Buckley

It's a Numbers Game by James Buckley Jr.

How many pebbles are on a basketball? Sports fans will love the photos and learn about stats. There are even interactive elements, such as comparing your hand size to an outline of Kawhi Leonard's hand! The late Kobe Bryant penned a foreword urging readers to "make math as fun as the game itself." Other books in the series give baseball and soccer the same treatment. For ages 8 to 12.

 

The Math Kids The Prime-Time Burglars by David Cole

The Math Kids: The Prime-Time Burglars by David Cole

In this middle-grade mystery, three members of the math club deal with bullying and a rash of neighbourhood thefts. Can their problem-solving skills help them crack the case?

 

Online programs

We're offering other Raising Confident Kids workshops for parents and caregivers. Help your child see themselves as creative, confident and capable of anything! Tune in live or watch the recordings, available until January 5, 2021.

Thursday, November 12: Early Literacy and Your Baby

Thursday, November 19: Helping Kids Thrive Online 

Thursday, November 26: Emotional Intelligence and Raising a Resilient Child

 


 

Do you have a calculated method or sneaky strategy to get your child interested in math? We'd love to hear about it!

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