Parents have a great opportunity to develop their children’s maths skills at home by involving them in everyday activities. If your children can help you work out which supermarket deal is cheapest, then it’s helping them understand maths in real life. It also helps develop their basic maths and problem solving skills, which are really important in the curriculum.
Don’t underestimate yourself, or the power you have as a parent getting involved in your child’s learning.
Ofsted have specifically stated that parental engagement raises pupil achievement.
Here are some tips and ideas from Third Space Learning, to show how you can improve your child’s maths skills at home.
Start with a positive mind-set
Do you ever hear yourself saying “I’m really bad at maths” or “I just didn’t get maths in school”?
It’s difficult to understand just how much children will pick up on any negativity towards particular subjects from their parents. Unfortunately, this can be a real barrier to their learning. We advise parents to try and use positive language around their children such as “don’t worry, it’s okay to make mistakes, we all do”, also be as patient as possible with your them when they’re doing their homework. You may not mean to be negative, but your children may take it to heart. Positivity can go a long way to improving their attitude towards maths!
Use maths talk every day
Talking about maths is really important for your child’s mathematical development. As your child is at KS1 level, you want to start off with the basics - don’t overwhelm them.
Whenever you have the opportunity, try to include maths talk in their lives. This is easily done when they are playing with physical objects as you can reinforce their counting skills. For example, how many pennies are you holding? Or, what shape is that object?
When counting, reinforce the last number they counted as this can help their mathematical development further, for example “one, two three...three cars.” Just like children’s TV shows do.
Two easy concepts to develop with your children are doubling/halving and adding/subtracting. Again, you could use physical objects such as food to reinforce this. It’s as simple as asking your child to count the number of chicken nuggets or peas (or any other food!) on their plate at dinner time, and then you can ask them things like:
Even better if you can turn this into a game to engage your children at mealtimes. You can even reward them with more nuggets!
Develop their memory skills
One problem that parents across the UK have started to recognise, is that the younger generation now have little need to memorise things such as phone numbers any more. Though this seems small, it can be detrimental to our children's memory skills.
Try encouraging your children to memorise your phone number and their grandparents'/best friend's phone number, then test them on the numbers occasionally. This can easily be turned into a game or reward system. This not only helps develop their memory skills, but also helps keep them safer when they're away from you.
Once they've mastered phone numbers, encourage them to memorise more things such as nursery rhymes, quotes from a book or TV show they like, or prayers, to extend their memory skills.
Play maths games together
Games are a great way to bond with your children, but also many games use mathematical and logical skills that your children need in later life. Even a simple game such as a jigsaw puzzle helps children to develop logical and spatial awareness skills. Furthermore, games like Snakes and Ladders enable children to count the rolls of the dice, which helps develop their counting skills.
Watch out for shapes
When you look around, everything is made out of shapes. So why not encourage your children to learn the names of shapes when you're out and about to entertain them? They could identify car wheels as circles, windows as rectangles, and even tiles as hexagons or whatever shape they may be!
Unfortunately not the ones with chocolate chips.
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