Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tips on Helping Your Child Love Math

(or at least not be afraid of it!)
By Joanne A. Jesena

How many of us grew up afraid of math? I know a number who cringe at the sight of numbers to be solved. This does not have to be the case for your children. Here are some tips to help your child get used to numbers and math even at a very young age. The trick is make math a part of your everyday life.

1. As soon as you feel your child can understand you, introduce mathematics in his life by counting to him. Count food you are about to eat. Count cars you see. Count anything and everything!

2. Whenever you are preparing your child to do something such as eat, take a bath or pack away his toys, count to him. Remember to count in a gentle and non-threatening way. At first 1-3, then 1-5, then 1-10 and so on. This will not only help your child in rote counting, it will also help your child have a sense of time.

3. When your child is ready, usually at age 2 1/2, help your child sort toys, clothes and other similar objects. Name the sets of objects such as set of socks, set of shirts etc. This will help your child have a concept of sets and help him be organized too!

4. Have your child put ordinary objects in containers with numbers. Help your child match numbers with the correct number of objects.

5. Have a set of blocks at home. While playing with these, help your child count the blocks he used to make things and write them down for him to see. Point out that when you put together some blocks they become as big as some other block (e.g. When you put two squares together they make a rectangle.) When packing away the blocks, put similar shaped blocks together.

6. If your child is 2 years old and above, you can probably mix, cook and bake together. There are books that give you ideas on easy to cook/ bake goodies. You can mix many things together such as juice, fruits etc. Help your child use measuring cups and spoons. Write and help your child take note of the ingredients and how many cups or spoons you need to use. Count out loud as you put the ingredients in a bowl.

7. Use a calendar to mark important dates for you and your child. Everyday, look at the calendar with your child and say the date together. If your child is looking forward to an important occasion, mark out the days until the said occasion.

8. Read number books together. Very young children love books with flaps or peek-a-boos so make sure to buy these kinds.

9. Play number games together such as number bingo and number domino. This helps children familiarize themselves with numbers and learn to match alike numbers.

10. Games with dice is a fun way for children to learn to add and enhance their knowledge in adding.

11. Sing number songs such as Ten Little Indians, Five Little Ducks and Ten Monsters in a Bed.

12. Post important numbers near your phone and help your child call some of the numbers. Remember to remind your child NOT to play with the phone and use it only when it is important.

13. For inexpensive purchases, let your child get the money from the wallet. Count the number of peso coins needed to purchase the object or help your child find out how much change the cashier will give him.

14. Play cashier in your house. Use tokens and pretend to buy and sell things. Help your child give the right number of tokens for his purchase.

15. Teach your child to string bead, life savers or different kinds of macaroni shells. Make patterns using the beads, life savers or macaroni. You may start the pattern and help your child figure out what's next in the pattern. When your child is older, let him make his own patterns.

16. To learn patterns, you can also cut different shapes and ask your child to make patterns by pasting the shapes on a paper. You can make patterns of different objects. Then you can make a book of patterns by putting together all sheets of paper where your child glued his patterns.

17. Children usually love dot-to-dot. When your child shows interest, let him connect number dot-to-dot. I should warn you though to go easy on worksheets. It may not help your child love math if you bombard him with math worksheets. Children who are not ready for worksheets find these pen-and-pencils activities boring and it could turn them off from liking math.

18. Use play dough to help your child learn concepts such as big and small, long and short, many and few. Simply make objects that will demonstrate to your child the concept you want to teach then ask him to do the same.

19. Show pictures during each stage of your life (as a baby, pre-schooler, adolescent and so on) and seriate it aaccordingly. Do the same for his pictures although you will probably end up seriating only 2-3 pictures.

20. Plant a mongo seed and take a picture as it grows or draw each stage of it's growth. Talk about how the mongo seed had to go through stages before it can be a big plant just like humans. Ask your child to seriate the pictures and drawings of how the plant grew.

These are just some ways to help your child love and learn math at a very young age. One important fact I want to share with you though is that how you present math to your child is how he will view math as well. So if you want child to love math, show him you love math too!

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