How to raise your children to love maths even if you don’t

Easy as pi

Rachel Hosie
Tuesday 30 May 2017 11:43 BST

It’s undeniable that maths skills are useful in adult life - whether you need to calculate a percentage increase or simply need to pass a numeracy test to get a job, a knowledge of basic maths will stand you in good stead.

Unfortunately, however, many children fall out of love with maths and science from a young age as some of us are simply more drawn to creative subjects.

And if you as a parent never liked scientific subjects, it can be hard to pass on enthusiasm to your children. So what should you do to make sure your child grows up well-equipped and educated for later life?

Teacher, author and education consultant Maya Thiagarajan has now revealed how parents can raise their children to love maths even if they themselves don’t:

“First, I think that parents should refrain from making statements like ‘I never liked maths,’ or ‘I’m not good at maths’ in front of their kids,” she told Smart Parenting.

“Our kids absorb our attitudes in all kinds of ways, so we need to work on sharing a positive attitude with our kids.”

Thiagarajan says parents should try and create what she calls “math-rich homes” for their children: “I think that with young kids, it’s quite easy to create a math-rich home, even if you as a parent don’t actually like math or feel good at it.

“The important thing is to become conscious of how to integrate maths into everyday conversations and activities and make it a part of one’s life.”

Thiagarajan cites Singapore as an example, where many mothers talk to their children about numbers, shapes and patterns from a young age, thus integrating maths into daily life and creating a mathematically rich home.

“They play maths games in the car or at the dinner table,” Thiagarajan says, and gives examples such as “guess the number, solve the mathematical riddle, add up the numbers on license plates as quickly as possible, calculate distance traveled.”

According to Thiagarajan, these successful parents also encourage their children to play maths-related games.

“They teach their kids chess. They spend money and time on Lego sets, building blocks, tangrams, jigsaw puzzles, and board games,” she says.

“When they take their kids to the grocery store, they talk maths. If one apple costs $0.80, how much will six apples cost? When they ride the elevator, they talk maths. Look, we’re riding up and down a number line. If we’re on the fifth floor now, how many more floors till we get to the 11th floor?”

They’re simple changes that could make a huge difference to your child’s life.

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