Parent Resources   Math Tips for Parents

Math Tips for Parents

Parents can help children develop confidence in their math abilities by helping them to understand the following concepts:

  • Problems can be solved in different ways.
  • Learning math is more than finding the correct answer; it's also a process of solving problems and applying what you've learned to new problems.
  • Wrong answers can sometimes be useful.
  • Ask your child to explain how she solved a math problem. Her explanation might help you to discover if she needs help with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, or with the concepts involved in solving the problem.
  • Don't be afraid to take risks.
  • Give your child time to explore different approaches to solving a difficult problem. As he works, encourage him to talk about what he is thinking. This will help him to strengthen math skills and to become an independent thinker and problem solver.
  • Being able to do mental math is important.
  • Doing math "in your head" (mental math) is a valuable skill that comes in handy as we make quick calculations of costs in stores, restaurants or gas stations. Let your child know that by using mental math, her math skills will become stronger.
  • It's sometimes OK to use a calculator to solve mathematics problems.
  • Let your child know that to use calculators correctly and efficiently, she will need a strong grounding in math operations; otherwise, how will she know whether the answer she sees displayed is reasonable?

Source: Adapted from Helping Your Child Learn Mathematics, U.S. Department of Education, 2004.