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How To Help Your Child Overcome Math Anxiety in 3 Easy Steps

Student practices writing work neatly on chalkboard to prevent making careless math mistakes.

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Math development and learning begin even before preschool. Children are surrounded by math concepts as they explore their unique environments. Even so, math anxiety is all too real among children and even adults. Often, children develop math anxiety when they struggle with basic or simple math skills. Children fall behind and are too anxious to ask for help. Without a strong math foundation, children feel helpless and develop a lack of confidence in mathematics. While math anxiety can indeed be stressful, incorporate these 3 tips to overcome math anxiety with your child: 

Play Math Games  

Playing math games can be a terrific way to lessen the fear surrounding mathematics. Playing math games that are arithmetically orientated can make math engaging, interactive, and fun! Children can take turns playing online or with board games. Children can practice counting, turn-taking, sequencing, patterning, reasoning, and keeping score. Math games such as Monopoly and Candy Land are great ways to practice counting and working with money! Playing math games should go beyond traditional math flashcards.  

Allow your child to choose math games that are interesting to them. Incorporating math play in the home can be accomplished through process art, cooking at home, and listening to music. For example, counting squirrels you see in the park, adding up socks at home, measuring flour, counting beats to a song, or identifying shapes on your walk home. 

Games You Can Play To Overcome Math Anxiety

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Promote Positive Math Attitudes   

Promoting positive math attitudes in the home may seem obvious, however, it is easier said than done. Many children develop negative attitudes towards math and claim, “I’m not good at math!” or “I hate math!” While feelings of frustration are valid, it is important to redirect these negative feelings into positive ones. For example, model rephrasing to your child. Instead of, “I can’t do this!” try “I can’t do this-yet.” Instead of “This is too hard!” parents can rephrase this claim and say, “This is challenging, that means my brain is growing!” A positive outlook on math can do wonders for the struggling child.  

Make Mistakes 

To overcome math anxiety, making mistakes is key. When working with your child emphasize that it is okay to make mistakes. Ultimately, we want children to be risk-takers, apply concepts, and challenge what they already know. By encouraging children to take risks in a safe space, they will understand that making mistakes in math is part of the process. 

Mistakes are also amazing learning opportunities. Children can check their work, revise, and make adjustments to their work. Over time, children will feel more comfortable attempting tricky math problems without fear hanging over them. It is important to remind our children that everyone makes mistakes, that is how we learn and grow!  

Here at Tip-Top Brain, we understand that overcoming math anxiety is easier said than done. We devote time and care to support our struggling mathematicians by curating individualized learning plans and offering a variety of enriching programs. When working with math, remember to incorporate math games/activities, promote positive math attitudes, and create a safe space for making mistakes. With these three “Tip-Top” tips, we can support our children in and outside of the classroom. Together we can build children’s intrinsic confidence with mathematics! 

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