5 Signs Your Child Has Math Problems (+ 5 Ways to Deal With Them)
It’s hard to imagine that we’ve struggled with math for over 320 centuries. But new research says we’ve been dealing with numbers, equations, and formulas for that long. Recently discovered markings on animal bones show that humans have been counting, subtracting, and multiplying things since the very beginning.
The answer to the question, obviously, isn’t that simple. But we’ll do our best to break it down and give you an idea. If you have a child seemingly struggling with math, here’s everything you need to know.
Why So Many Children Struggle With Math?
The fact that 60% of kids don’t work hard to acquire even basic math skills isn’t the most worrying thing. It’s the fact that nearly all of the kids who fall behind early on won’t catch up.
Nearly a quarter of Americans are functionally “innumerate.” Never heard of the word before? Well, just like the word “illiterate” describes a lack of writing and reading skills, “innumerate” means the inability to comprehend basic math concepts.
So, why can’t so many children excel in math? Is there something preventing them? New research has pinned down three main reasons:
- No Building Blocks – Many kids who struggle with math haven’t been given the necessary building blocks at an early age. If a child isn’t exposed to basic concepts from the get-go, they may never be able to understand more advanced math.
- Math Anxiety – This problem is more serious than you might think. Studies have shown that 93% of US citizens suffer from math anxiety. The fear of numbers and equations makes kids less willing to learn and damages their self-esteem.
- Learning Disabilities – Dyscalculia is a learning disability that affects how children understand numbers and calculations. It makes it difficult for them to concentrate and comprehend math problems, leading to a complete lack of interest in the subject.
5 Signs Your Child Has Math Problems
It’s easy to miss when your child is having difficulty with math. The causes we outlined above are broad, so it’s better to look for more specific signs.
Here are five indicators that your child has math problems:
1. High Grades Except for Math
Let’s start with the most obvious signs first. Logically, if your child has math problems, their score in the subject will be lower than average. But it’s also likely that they will do well in other subjects.
So the next time your child brings home a report, check each subject thoroughly and talk to the teacher if you see any discrepancies.
2. They Talk Negatively About It
Another obvious sign of math problems is when your child talks negatively about math. They may express frustration or disappointment every time the subject comes up.
It’s also common for children to make comments about how they “hate” a certain subject or will “never understand it.”
3. Having Difficulties With Time Management
The average child has 6 hours of leisure time each day. If they have trouble planning time, adhering to schedules, or judging time increments, there’s a chance they can’t comprehend complex math problems.
Now, this particular sign can be hard to spot because it’s so subtle. But if your child is always taking longer than expected to complete homework, that could indicate something else.
4. Mental Math Problems
Seeing your child count on their fingers may be fun at a really early age. However, if the habit continues into the upper elementary levels, it might be time for some intervention.
The ability to quickly calculate math equations in their head is a key element of success in the subject. If the child is looking at their hand and doing small finger moves as they count, it could mean their math skills need to be at the expected level.
5. Difficulty Paying Attention
We live in the age of short attention spans. For years, scientists have claimed that golden fish now have longer spans than most humans. While we can’t back that claim 100%, there’s no denying that many children have difficulty concentrating in school.
That said, if your child has trouble sitting still during math lessons or quickly loses interest in the topic, they may have difficulties understanding it.
5 Ways to Help Your Child Deal With Math Problems
So, as a parent, what can you do to help your child with math? Now that we’ve established the problem let’s look at five solutions to deal with it.
1. Praise the Effort, Not the Smarts
Who doesn’t like a pat on the back? Praising your child for their hard work and perseverance will help boost their confidence. But you need to commend them for doing and not being something.
Praising their natural intelligence and “genius” won’t have the same effect. A 2007 study revealed that students who get praise for being smart often fail to put in any effort on harder tests and give up easier than their peers.
2. Effects of Math on Everyday Life
Math is everywhere! From running errands to following a recipe, your child will use math daily. Encouraging them to see the importance of math in the real world could help build their confidence and understanding of the subject.
Of course, all of this depends on the age. Explaining the statistics and equations involved in a stock market may be useful if you have an older child.
- Practice With the Child Daily
This may seem a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. It’s important to practice math with your child every day. As the developmental psychologist, and best-selling author, Rebecca Fraser-Thrill explains, parental involvement:
- Nurtures academic achievements;
- Helps develop social skills;
- Increases self-esteem.
That’s why you should always set aside a few daily hours to help your child practice math.
4. Acknowledge Failures
No one likes failure, but it’s an inevitable part of life and sometimes results in failing in school. The only way to help your child deal with it and succeed is by acknowledging their shortcomings and helping them learn how to use failure as an opportunity for growth.
It’s also important to remember that it takes time to learn any new skill. With patience and encouragement, your child will eventually master math.
5. Hire a Professional to Help
If your child still has difficulty grasping the concepts, you can hire a professional to help with the basic lessons and homework. And you can find math help at levels.
As a matter of fact, some services can help with math homework, even if you’re a college student. So no matter how old your child is, there are professional services that can help them deal with math.
The Proactive Approach is the Only Approach
So, what have we learned? Math is an essential part of life, and it’s important that your child learn how to deal with it. The only way to do this is to be proactive and take the necessary steps to help them understand and develop their skills.
Praise their efforts, show them how math is used daily, practice with them, acknowledge their failures, and hire a professional to help if necessary.
This proactive approach is the only way to ensure your child succeeds and develops a strong understanding of math.