What to do when your child is having trouble learning math: tips for parents (2023)

Children of any age can struggle with math. Since elementary schools are a hotbed of learning, it can often be difficult for parents to keep track of their children's progress. But at some point you may be told, or find out the hard way, that your child is struggling with math.

There are a number of reasons a child might struggle with math, from math anxiety to a variety of special educational needs (formerly known as math difficulties and learning disabilities). Maybe your child is a thoughtful student and is already thinking: "Why is math so difficult for me?"

Whatever the reason for the difficulty, in this post we will discuss how to tell if your child finds math frustrating and how you can help them master math.

This blog is part of our parent support blog serieslearning at homeand searchHome learning resourcesduring the Covid-19 epidemic.

What do we mean by "struggle with mathematics"?

It is definitely difficult to judge if a child has early math problems or if your child is actually a KS2 student struggling with math.

Determining where your child fits into the expectations of their age bracket or age group is definitely a good place to start - if your child is in first grade and can't solve second-degree equations, that certainly doesn't mean they're going to be a toddler. years old who has difficulties in math!

We've put together a guide to help you figure out what's wrong and how you can help your child learn math.

  • How to recognize what your child is struggling with in math; It is
  • How to help your child in math after you figure out what's holding them back, including techniques to ensure your child is keeping up, staying on track, and even making progress in math.

What to do when your child is having trouble learning math: tips for parents (1)

KS2 Math Games and Activity Pack

(Video) Two Strategies to Help Your Child Learn to Love Math

A FREE downloadable game and activity pack of 20 at-home math learning activities that KS2 kids can complete alone or with a partner.

What to do when your child is having trouble learning math: tips for parents (2) Download now for free!

Find out what your child is struggling with in math

Really, to determine if your child is struggling with math and a particular area that they may find difficult, you need to understand what they need to know and be able to do at that point in their learning.

Your child's teacher is the best person to advise you on this, but if you want more in-depth information, we recommend giving your child a few low-risk test questions (see some examples below) or, even better, taking an assessment. full diagnosis of your child. Knowledge and understanding relevant to their school career.

How to Tell if Your 6 or 7 Year Old Is Struggling with Math (1st or 2nd grade)

By the end of year two, children should have developed a range of knowledge and skills, including:

  • Count back and forth in increments of 2, 3, and 5 from 0 and in increments of 10 of each number;
  • compare and match numbers from 0 to 100; with the characters <, > and =;
  • recognize and apply the inverse relationship between addition and subtraction to check calculations and solve problems with missing numbers;
  • recognize and use pound (£) and pence (p) symbols;
  • identify and describe the properties of three-dimensional shapes, including the number of edges, vertices (corners), and faces.

Here are three sample questions from Third Space Learning's Elementary Math Intervention Program to help you find out if your child is struggling with math.

  1. Compare numbers and order

What to do when your child is having trouble learning math: tips for parents (3)
  1. Recognition and use of pound and pence symbols

What to do when your child is having trouble learning math: tips for parents (4)

Many children who are good at math and have memorized facts struggle with form and other areas of math vocabulary, so this is a good option to try.

  1. Identify the properties of 3D shapes.

What to do when your child is having trouble learning math: tips for parents (5)

How to Tell if Your 8 or 9 Year Old Is Struggling in Math (3rd & 4th Grade)

By the end of fourth grade, children should have developed a range of knowledge and skills, including:

  • count in multiples of 6, 7, 9, 25 and 1000;
  • Round each number to the nearest 10, 100, or 1000;
  • Get multiplication and division facts for multiplication tables up to 12 × 12;
  • Multiply two and three digit numbers by a single digit number using a formal writing layout;
  • add and subtract fractions with the same denominator;
  • Measure and calculate the perimeter of a rectilinear figure (including squares) in centimeters and meters;
  • Completion of a simple symmetrical figure with respect to a given axis of symmetry;
  • Solve comparison, addition, and difference problems using information presented in bar charts, pictograms, tables, and other graphics.

As children progress from toddlers (KS1) to juniors (KS2), there is a big shift in the amount they need to know and the skills they need to acquire to keep up with math. They may have gotten comfortable with math in their early school years, and difficulty learning math may now be presenting.

Here are three sample questions from Third Space Learning's 4th grade elementary math intervention program that can help us determine if your child is struggling with math.

  1. Interpretation of bar charts
What to do when your child is having trouble learning math: tips for parents (6)

Some children can have safe operations and number operations when they are 8 or 9 years old. Difficulties with math can be most apparent when taken from the comfort of arithmetic and thrown into the murkier waters of the math of reasoning and problem solving.

  1. Calculates the perimeter of a rectilinear figure (including squares) in centimeters and meters
What to do when your child is having trouble learning math: tips for parents (7)

When it comes to scope, a lot of math skills are required. A child needs spatial intelligence: to be able to visualize the shape, break it down into its component parts or sides, remember the correct formula to find the length of the side, and then use their addition knowledge to calculate the find sum. .

  1. Add and subtract fractions with the same denominator
What to do when your child is having trouble learning math: tips for parents (8)

Children using our online learning programs have the opportunity to experience and practice skills relevant to their age group (or age group). During the one-on-one sessions, your online tutor will identify any obstacles that might prevent a child from acquiring a specific math skill or fact, and then address them immediately.

(Video) PARENTS: How To Help Your Child Learn Math At Home!

Use age-specific tests to find out what math your child can do

Once children reach 3rd or 4th grade, they are also much better able to sit down and take a full test with mixed questions appropriate for their age. We have created test documents at the year group level to help you determine how your child is doing compared to children their age.

What to do when your child is having trouble learning math: tips for parents (9)

Sample questions from our third grade math and arithmetic exam

What to do when your child is having trouble learning math: tips for parents (10)

One of the first questions in our 4th grade think tank: It's getting harder!

How to Tell if Your 10 or 11 Year Old Is Struggling in Math (5th or 6th Grade)

As students in these grades approach the end of elementary school, they prepare for the SATs, or transition to high school, and the challenges that 7th grade math will bring.

Children in grade 5 or grade 6 are expected to know or be able to:

  • identify common divisors, common multiples, and primes;
  • divide real fractions by integers;
  • Solve problems with similar shapes where the scaling factor is known or can be found;
  • generate and describe linear sequences of numbers;
  • recognize when it is possible to use area and volume formulas for shapes;
  • Represent and name parts of circles, including radius, diameter and circumference, knowing that diameter is twice the radius;
  • Draw and move simple shapes on the coordinate plane and mirror them about the axes.

Here are three sample questions from Third Space Learning's Elementary Math Intervention Program for 6th grade to help you find out if your child is struggling with math.

1. Recognize when you can use formulas for area and volume of shapes

What to do when your child is having trouble learning math: tips for parents (11)

2. Identify common divisors, common multiples, and primes

What to do when your child is having trouble learning math: tips for parents (12)

3. Generate and describe sequences of linear numbers

What to do when your child is having trouble learning math: tips for parents (13)
What to do when your child is having trouble learning math: tips for parents (14)

5th and 6th grades are important years: it's not like our school days when only elementary or private schools forced children to take exams to get into 7th grade... Many academies require that children take exams at the end of the year. 5 or early in 6th grade as part of the preparation for your future 7th grade admissions.

Again, the amount of knowledge and skills required to keep up with math in 5th or 6th grade is enormous. Moving from Year 4 to Upper Key Stage 2 is a giant leap!

Whether your child is in 5th or 6th grade, it's important to have an idea of ​​what exactly your child is struggling with in math...


Does your child have trouble with math facts, causing difficulties in learning math?

It's worth asking your school for adyscalculia court hearing.

What you can do to help your child when they are struggling with math

Stay positive - sounds easy, but many forget this

First things first, don't emphasize the problem, and definitely don't say "I'm not a mathematician" or encourage your child to copy "I'm not a mathematician."

Various studiesshowed that a young person's future performance in mathematics, more than any other factor, can be negatively influenced by parents, leading them to believe that "I'm not a math person" is an inherited disorder,hereditary family trait.

It is not.

If you struggled with math, it probably had something to do with how your teachers taught you in the past.

You may even be suffering from “math trauma,” such as being consciously or unconsciously discouraged from doing math after being taunted by your classmates or, worse, a teacher when you are called to the blackboard to solve a problem to solve at school

Such an event leaves a paralyzing fear of being wrong - a terrible tragedy, since learning math is supposed to be about making mistakes and learning from them!

"Mathematical trauma", as you would expect, is the primary cause ofMath anxiety, but there are many things you can do to help.

As parents, it is important to support children in their belief that they can be successful in all areas of learning. Closing a door in a certain area may mean putting an obstacle in your wayprofessional career Your child may find it harder to follow later in life.

What to do when your child is having trouble learning math: tips for parents (15)

To help your child when they are struggling with math, three words can guide them: slow, easy, supportive.

These three words are all you need to help your child achieve as much as possible in their math learning, so we'll cover them in more detail below, along with some additional tips for parents and guardians.

1. Take it easy

If you've noticed or been made aware of an area of ​​difficulty as your child's math learning, your instinct will likely be to fire all guns and throw the kitchen sink at the problem to catch up.

By taking a moment to step back and figure out what might be best for your supportive child, rather than forcefully filling a specific gap in your knowledge, you stand a better chance of making sustained progress and improving yours learning.

(Video) I Became A Math Teacher!

2. Keep it simple

When a child is struggling with math homework at school, the teacher will ask a simpler question or provide more specific tools such as number lines, multiplication tables, counters, or multilink cubes to make the homework easier. .

People often think that only the youngest children use these devices and tools; However, the best teachers use them with elementary school students, and these resources are now being used more often in high school as well.

You can do the same at home by drawing a number line, having a multiplication table handy,Keep your math dictionary handy, or using pieces of pasta or Lego to represent sets.

What to do when your child is having trouble learning math: tips for parents (16)

It's best not to overwhelm your child by giving up tasks that are too complicated; However, oversimplification is also a problem.

Having them memorize their multiplication tables only makes sense if they can make connections between knowing that, for example, 2 x 7 = 14, 7 x 2 = 14,14÷ 2 = 7 years14÷ 7 = 2, which allows them to see the relationship between multiplication (which should be represented as repeated addition, adding 7 lots of 2 or 2 lots of 7 together) and division and also to identify factors of numbers.

3. Be supportive

Patience really is a virtue.when knowledge or skills are passed from one person to another.

You may remember times in your own life when you didn't get it right off the bat and were put off by the task or the driving instructor if they took their frustration out on you: learning to drive was easier to swallow with a parent than with one Parent, the other, or an upset teacher at school whose lack of composure and consideration distracts him/her from the subject.

4. Get more involved

Don't be afraid to ask your school for further help; Find out what homework your child gets each week, and if they're struggling with math, you may need to sit next to them to encourage them.

Make a regular time for math homework, and if there's something you can't help with, figure out the answer together. In fact, it's a great learning opportunity for your child to realize that we all need to search for things and find answers - nobody knows everything. Start with this blog for more tipshow to help your child with their homework

What to do when your child is having trouble learning math: tips for parents (17)

5. Talk about math at home.

MeetWays to integrate math into everyday life, all those old favorites like asking your kid about the prices of items in stores, calculating the cost of what they bought that day, or identifying window shapes and other building features to incorporate a shape too.

There are manyfree math websites and online homework websitesto help you support your child in math. Likewise, games in the real world or on paper can help with mathematical thinking, such assu doku,card games,Battleshipand chess

Do you have students who need additional math support?
Each week, Third Space Learning's experienced math tutors help thousands of students in hundreds of schools with weekly one-to-one online classes andmathematical interventionsdesigned to fill gaps and drive progress.

(Video) How To Get A Kid With ADHD To Focus

Since 2013, we've helped over 130,000 middle and high school students become more confident and high-performing math students.Learn moreÖRequest an individual offer for your schoolto speak to us about your school's needs and how we can help.

Primary schoolwhich are tailored to the needs of each child and closely follow the national curriculum.


Why is math so hard for some kids? ›

Some kids struggle with math because of a learning difference called dyscalculia. Dyscalculia isn't as well-known as other learning and thinking differences, like dyslexia. But experts believe it's just as common. There are lots of tools and strategies to help kids with dyscalculia thrive.

Why is math so hard for my child? ›

Disorders like dyslexia, visual or auditory processing, ADHD, and others can also impact a child's ability to meet expectations in completing math problems. It's also possible for kids who do have dyscalculia to have other learning disabilities as well.

How parents can support math learning at home? ›

Create a family math night

Play board games and other games that use number cubes (dice), card games, dominoes, puzzles, tangrams (Chinese puzzle), pentominoes, Googleplex, Magneblox, etc.

How parents can help students learn? ›

10 Tips for Parents

Provide a place and time at home for homework. Check on assignments, homework and projects. Talk each day with your child about his/her activities. Promote literacy by reading to your child and by reading yourself.

How can I help my 8 year old with maths? ›

How to make math fun for kids ages 8-12
  1. Play math games. ...
  2. Take a field trip. ...
  3. Try not to drill your child on math content. ...
  4. Help your children see the purpose of math. ...
  5. Teach your child to manage money. ...
  6. Take your child's interests into account. ...
  7. Ask thoughtful math questions.

Is math anxiety a learning disability? ›

Math is hard. Dyscalculia, a math learning disability, can make learning and calculating numbers downright painful. Persistent difficulties with math can also lead to intense overwhelm and feelings of academic dread, also known as math anxiety.

Why is math hard for ADHD? ›

Because the ADHD brain habituates to stimuli very quickly, it can be difficult to maintain attention to repetitive tasks, like, say, practicing math facts. In fact, kids with ADHD sometimes get less accurate the better they have their facts memorized.

How do I overcome math anxiety? ›

Reducing Math Anxiety
  1. Study Smart. Read the information on study skills, time management, note-taking, and reading textbooks. ...
  2. Attend Math Class. ...
  3. Get Organized. ...
  4. Continually Test Yourself. ...
  5. Replace Negative Self-Talk with Positive. ...
  6. Use All Your Resources.

What percentage of kids struggle with math? ›

Take a look at the most common reasons why math is hard for students. Mathematics is often considered to be one of the most challenging subjects for students. Recent surveys report that 37% of teens aged 13-17 found math to be harder than other subjects – the highest ranked overall.

Why do kids have math anxiety? ›

Some experts think kids get more anxious about math than other subjects because it has a reputation for being difficult. There's also the stereotype that girls aren't good at math, which they might believe. Whatever the cause, worry makes it harder for kids to learn.

What can parents do at home to help a child with a learning disability? ›

  • Focus on the child's strengths, not the weaknesses. Every child is unique; all can contribute to the joys of family life. ...
  • Set reasonable expectations. ...
  • Provide the guidance needed for independence. ...
  • Maintain consistent discipline. ...
  • Foster intellectual curiosity. ...
  • Help children classify and categorize objects.

Can moving their hands help children learn math? ›

A recent study from the University of Chicago Department of Psychology showed that use of abstract gestures is a powerful tool for helping children understand and generalize mathematical concepts.

How can parents help struggling students? ›

Here are some steps you can take to help struggling kids:
  • Get to know your students and their families. ...
  • Use the resources and specialists available in your school. ...
  • Encourage students to participate in their own learning by assigning work that's worth their effort. ...
  • Differentiate instruction.

How parents can help children succeed? ›

Establish a daily routine of mealtimes with time for homework, chores and bedtime. Reinforce learning at home and show your child the skills they're learning are applicable to everyday life. For example, if your child is learning about measurements, solicit help with a recipe. Model the habits of a lifelong learner.

How should parents support their child to be successful? ›

Here are 10 ways parents can put their kids on track to be successful students.
  1. Attend Back-to-School Night and Parent-Teacher Conferences. ...
  2. Visit the School and Its Website. ...
  3. Support Homework Expectations. ...
  4. Send Your Child to School Ready to Learn. ...
  5. Teach Organizational Skills. ...
  6. Teach Study Skills. ...
  7. Know the Disciplinary Policies.

How common is maths anxiety? ›

Maths anxiety or a fear of maths is common, and although it can limit performance in certain situations and contexts, it's not linked to intelligence or ability. In one study involving children, most of those with high maths anxiety scored normal to high results on curriculum maths tests.

What math skills should a 9 year old have? ›

They'll begin to multiply fractions, learn more about decimals and be introduced to percentages. They will be able to count in powers of 10 and round numbers up to 1,000,000 to the nearest 10, 100, 1000, 10,000 and 100,000.

Do kids with ADHD have a hard time with math? ›

Children with ADHD often struggle with math. Difficulties with sustained attention, working memory (manipulating numbers in your head), organization and planning all interfere with math learning and performance.

Are ADHD kids smart at math? ›

ADHD symptoms can make math more difficult. But ADHD can also increase your chances of having a co-occurring math learning disorder called dyscalculia. Statistics from the early 2000s (the most recent available) suggest that 31 percent of students with ADHD also have a math disability.

Why does ADHD make math so hard? ›

ADHD and Math: The issue at hand

Students who are affected by ADHD often have a hard time with math because their memory is not very strong and blocking out external stimuli is a struggle. Memory, which is where information is stored for later use, is one of many executive functions.

What is a major cause of math anxiety? ›

Causes include time pressure, prior bad math experiences, risk of public embarrassment, money issues, imposing authority figures, and the requirements of Common Core standards.

Where does math anxiety come from? ›

The study determined that math anxiety is related to poor math performance on math achievement tests and to negative attitudes concerning math. Hembree also suggests that math anxiety is directly connected with math avoidance.


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