Helping Kids Who Hate Math

We all know those children who simply hate math.  Maybe they struggle in the subject or maybe they simply don’t enjoy it.  Either way, it can be tough to work with your child if they honestly dislike math.  If your child hates math, there are some things you can try that may help them overcome that dislike.

Make it Fun

As hard as it is to believe, math can be fun sometimes.  You can turn reviews into games with prizes if your child wins.  If possible, use your child’s own toys to introduce or explain new concepts. (This is especially helpful when going over story problems.)  Even better than toys, try using food in your lesson.  You can divide a candy bar into pieces when learning fractions. Use individual cereal pieces as counters when covering addition and subtraction.  After all, who doesn’t love a lesson where you get to have a yummy snack when it’s over?

Keep it Simple

If your child hates math because they struggle with it, slowing down the rate at which you cover material may help.  Break a tricky lesson into two days.  You can also spend extra time going over concepts that your child has not mastered yet.  Use acronyms or other memory tricks to help your child remember the steps to longer math problems. If possible, don’t move on from a concept until you are sure your child understands it fully.  Because math builds on itself, moving too quickly can cause problems later on.  Of course, this may not be possible if your child is in a regular classroom setting.  You may want to try talking to his teacher though.  She may be willing to work with you in making the lessons simpler for your child.

Praise Liberally

A child will often hate math because they think they are bad at it.  The more praise a child receives, the more likely they are to be confident in that area.  Now, I am not saying that you should praise mistakes or wrong answers.  Instead, look for things that your child has done right during a lesson.  Did your child answer 7 questions incorrectly, but get 5 right?  Spend some time going over the right problems and talking about why those problems are correct.  Did your child come up with the correct answer with the wrong integer sign?  Make sure you point out the fact that they got the number correct while you are mentioning the wrong sign.  Take the time to look for ways to praise your child in their math work.  You may be surprised at how their attitude changes about math.

While it is true that some children hate math, you can change their opinion by making it fun, keeping it simple, and praising them for right answers.  How do you help your child who hates math?

Photo by:  Jimmie

Leave a Reply