Previously, we talked about how to foster the interest in science in your kids in this post. Mathematics is as much as a foundation for science as it is as a standalone subject. It is not only useful in academic, it is also very useful in our daily life, from simple task of buying from a store to passing numeracy tests during job search to more complicated personal finance management. The question now is, how can we, as parents, instill a love of maths in our children to make sure they grow up well-equipped with basic math skills, even better, becoming a well-known mathematician such as Pythagoras, Newton, Bernoulli, Laplace, Turing and the likes?
1. Share positive attitudes towards maths
Parents should try to refrain from making statement such as “Maths is hard” in front of your children or roll your eyes when they come to you with mathematics question. Parents are the children’s role model, they pick up our attitude in all kind of ways. Therefore, we need to show a positive attitudes towards maths. Perhaps by saying something along this line, “This maths question is interesting! Let’s solve it together.”
2. Treat maths as an everyday essential
Maths is really everywhere in our daily life. Ask your kids to help calculate how much has been spent buying groceries. Let them help to measure your recipes while baking. Count the number of cars passing buy. Perform the 4 basic operations on the numbers on license plates. Maths is more than numbers. Ask them to identify different shapes that the daily objects take on. Compare which table is bigger in a restaurant. Recommend which table to seat groups of different number of patrons. Recognise the patterns on pedestrian walkway. I remember I used to like to walk only on the rhombus made of deeper colour bricks on the walkway. Maths is deeply integrated with our lives. All you need to do is to ask your children, “Have you seen any good math anywhere?”
3. Play maths games
All kids love games and riddles. Search online for interesting maths riddle. Here’s a good one: I add five to nine, and get two. The answer is correct, but how? (try to solve it yourself, read till the end for answer. :D)
Invest in toys such as building blocks , abacus, tangrams, etc to boost their logical thinking and geometric skills. There are also games that you loved as a kid. Chutes and ladders would be on top of the list. In 2009, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Maryland study showed that there is significant improvement in preschoolers’ math skills after playing the game compared to those in the study who played a different board game or did non-math tasks.
4. Discuss with your kids’ teachers
Successful education requires both the efforts from parents and teachers. Your collaboration would make a huge impact on how your kids education. If you don’t know how to engage your kids with maths, ask help from their teachers. Teachers are usually more than happy to help. After all, they are professionally trained to educate your kids. Go ahead and talk to the teachers even if you have clear ideas on what to do. Cooperating with the teachers will magnify your result.
5. Develop growth mindset
As Asian parents, we usually take pride in intrinsic capabilities in our kids. We often hear praises such as, “You are so good at maths” or “You must be a math genius”. In fact, these praises probably do more harm to your kids. This may lead to them thinking they are “born” smart. It will hold back their potential and cause them to be afraid to make mistakes. Instead, praise for their efforts. Praise how they learn from their own mistakes. Praise them for trying hard. Praise them for looking for alternative or new strategy.
In short, parents decide whether your kids love or hate maths. To ensure your kids love maths, you will need to create an atmosphere that encourage it. You will probably fall in love with maths yourselves after this. One last remark on growth mindset. If your kids say it is hard, tell them that their math muscles are working. Just like exercising, once the muscles are flexed, it will grow a bit more each time. Tell that to yourself too if you find these tips are hard to adhere by.
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Lastly, here’s the answer to the riddle. It’s a good riddle to teach about time. Did you get it right? Comment and let us know.
A. When it is 9am, add 5 hours to it and you will get 2pm!