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Motivating Your Child to Study Math

We all struggle with motivating our kids to focus on mathematics. Mathematical concepts don’t always come easily, and their study often requires students to sit still for some amount of time - two factors that can awaken the stubbornness in young ones.

Rather than butting heads, and surrounding math with a cloud of negativity as a result, try these 5 approaches to motivation:

1. Make math fun. Developing a child’s interest in mathematics requires regular exposure to it. Incorporate math into daily routines, like measuring in the kitchen or calculating totals at the grocery store. Help your child see that math is more than calculations and rote memorization; make the subject come alive.

2. Timing is important. Don’t save the motivational speeches for when your child fails to complete homework or is struggling with a problem. Instead, talk to your child about what they learned in math that day; speak about the subject often.

3. Tone is crucial. Though your children may not always listen to the words you use, they will hear and remember the tone of your voice. Many parents unwittingly pass on their own fears of or negativity toward the subject this way. If you believe that math is important and you talk about it positively, you will pass on that positivity to your child.

4. Tie math to your child’s dreams. Even the youngest children have ideas of who they want to be when they grow up. Make math real by tying it to their goals. Whether they want to be in the arts or the sciences, math is everywhere.  Show them how it is a brick in the road to whatever it is they want to accomplish.

5. Find role models. One way to do this is to look among your community. Check out school alumni, see where they are today, and introduce their stories to your children. Perhaps even encourage your child to reach out to them. A recent graduate could have attended the college that your child has their sights set on, or achieved the career that your child dreams of. If they valued math and it got them to where they are, there’s no reason your child can’t follow the same path.

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