All About Kids

9 Ways to Encourage Your Kids’ Love For Math

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Math isn’t an easy subject to love, but here are ways to encourage your kids to at least try.

We want our kids to be good in math because we think it translates to them learning how to handle money well. Unfortunately, math isn’t just about money. With a mixture of all the greek letters and symbols, it scares and demotivates our kids, especially teens when they see Calculus or Algebra and think it’s some strange alien language. But here are ways to encourage your kids’ love for math.

A kid answering a Math problem
Photo by Keira Burton

1. Find a video game that actually demands math.

Teachers can be boring to watch, leaving kids frustrated and demotivated. But if they have a video game that actually needs math, they’ll be more inclined to practice. Video games function like an instant reward system, making it easier for kids to learn and be conditioned on what’s right or wrong. Especially competitive games that require kids to minimize and maximize their character’s values, it’ll be a fun way to test their abilities in math.

2. If they fail a math test, meet them with patience.

When kids fail their math exams, it’s become second nature for some parents to lash out and react badly to their scores. But lashing out and getting angry demotivates kids, also eventually making them scared to fail. When they don’t get a good score, try to keep the voice soft and calm before asking if they need a tutor and if something happened during the exam.

3. Don’t force them into getting a tutor for math.

While it’s normal for us to want to instantly correct the problem, forcing kids to attend a tutoring class actually makes them see the tutoring class as a punishment than help. Best to ask and negotiate with them if they want a tutor. Or, if they really need it, let them choose their tutor. Most tutors nowadays, especially for math, offer free trial classes so we can see if the tutor and kids will get along.

4. Give them visuals to imagine the math problems better.

Solving math word problems is hard because it’s hard to imagine what the problem is talking about. Sometimes, it’s even harder to imagine when the word problem is not realistic. Who in the world is aware if a person is 7/11ths their age?

Singapore Math became a favored math method because it taught kids and teens to draw the values so they could visualize the problem better.

5. Find a real-life counterpart to the math subject they’re taking.

Geometry tends to be the most annoying topic because it challenges how the shape is presented and the logic involved. There are a lot of theorems to memorize which was never the most enjoyable thing to do in school. Sports like Billiards, Archery and even Basketball make Geometry more interesting than just staring at a diagram of a triangle that’s asking us to look for its “x.”

6. Give them an allowance.

When my mom gave me an allowance, it taught me how to save and also accumulate to buy the better stuff. Back in the day, it was a decision between Cup Yakisoba at PHP 26.00, a Cheese Hashbrown at PHP 15.00~ PHP 18.00, or a large-size flavored french fries at PHP 40.00 when I had PHP 40.00 for allowance. It taught me how sometimes, things taste better when you save for it and how to do basic addition, too.

Moreover, it helps with the dreaded splitting of the bill when they go out with friends. There are some people who calculate everything all the way down to service charges and taxes.

7. Use proper measurements for cooking.

We’re so used to just using terms like a “pinch”, “dash”, “handful”, or even worse “put in some until it turns into a certain color” but, it doesn’t teach any math. Cooking teaches math by having kids either increase or decrease the amount of servings so that everyone gets a part of the food. Or, making sure they don’t get sick of eating too much instant noodles.

8. Don’t discourage them from art.

Many people still think that art and math are mutually exclusive but, proportions play a big role in making art “beautiful” such as the length of the arms, legs, shoulders, etc. Even music encourages the love for math because it has the brain counting the rhythm and beat to match their movements — the same way Vito Bacarro did it with the drums. Painting does so as well because some painters actually count the amount of strokes they do.

Besides, programming needs kids to learn how to measure the ratio of things, too.

9. Give them something realistic to calculate every now and then.

One thing I remember my parents made me do was perform mathematical computations on the spot. From computing how many kilometers per liter to how many centavos per ply of tissue, it was a good mental exercise when going to the grocery or going out so I don’t die of boredom. The bigger challenge was doing all those equations without a calculator.

Kids during a Math class
Photo by Mikhail Nilov

Encouraging our kids to do math isn’t easy when we didn’t enjoy it either.

Sometimes, we have difficulty teaching our kids math because we remember all the shame and guilt associated with it. We remember all the low scores we used to get in our tests because we missed out a number or a decimal. But we can change that now because we know what went wrong and how we wanted to learn math back then. Sometimes, all we need to do to encourage kids to love a certain subject is to show how it applies in real life.

More about school and subjects for kids:

5 Differences Between Computer Classes and Coding Classes
5 Reasons Filipino is Hard for Kids and Parents
MP’s Best Kid-Friendly Books For Summer Reading

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