It’s possible that we’ve all been there at some point, struggling over a math problem. As parents, the roles reverse and we have to be able to support our kids as they navigate their way through a sea of homework and math questions. What truly matters though, is how we as parents, educators and mentors react in such a situation because it will make all the difference to how our kids view math too! In this post, we will break down the very real issue of Math Anxiety and why it is important for parents and teachers alike to help kids view math in a more positive light, while building their confidence in the area. We will also share some tips on how to do this, and how we believe Zap Zap Math can be a supportive tool to help create a love of math.
What is Math Anxiety?
It seems like something conjured out of fearful minds, but the fact is that math anxiety is a legitimate psychological issue that at its worse, can be extremely problematic to people young and old who face difficulties with the subject. For school-going children, this fear can manifest in the form of pressure inducing encounters in school, such as having to solve a calculation in front of all their classmates, or having difficulty completing an important math test. Issues like this can also worsen if the child feels or is told that they are bad at math.
In fact, it is something that can remain rooted in a person’s psyche long after they have left school. Adults who suffered with math as children, when faced with real world situations requiring calculations may find themselves feeling the pressure and fears return. In the end, those who deal with math anxiety tend to develop an extremely negative reaction towards anything related to numbers, which can be challenging – since we know all too well that numbers will always be involved in our lives.
Thankfully today, there is a lot more awareness on the negative impacts of math anxiety, which means it can be managed with counselling. Additionally, we feel that prevention is the way to go, and we think it is extremely important to ensure math anxiety never affects any kids as these psychological issues can eventually worsen and lead to more physical health problems brought about by the stress of having to do math. That’s why we strongly believe it is important to create a positive math environment where kids are able to learn and have fun as early as possible – so fear will never have to be an option.
Why Confidence in Math Matters
As reiterated before, and even highlighted in previous posts – Math is everywhere and it is inescapable! The sooner kids understand this, the easier it will be to accept math as a norm, rather than a hurdle to get over. This article perfectly explains the importance of math. Besides challenging us to think creatively and logically to solve an equation, math is also an important skill that will be required of us in our daily lives. Beyond mathematical prowess, a deep understanding of the subject will teach accountability and responsibility where transactions are concerned. It will show kids the importance of planning beforehand, and help them understand the value of currency.
Essentially, showing them early on that counting goes beyond worksheets and homework will actually prepare them for other financial transactions they will inevitably be faced with in adulthood. So we see that math is important at any stage of our lives, and to a certain extent our careers as well. Still, even if one is not leaning towards a career that will call for math skills – it will certainly simplify life if one can solve equations without much difficulty. Once math anxiety begins to become apparent in a child, it can be challenging to overcome, and may require plenty of external help to be managed.
How Parents Can Help
There are many ways to make math manageable, and there’s no better place to start than at home. Here are four ways you can help, as a parent:
- Make Learning Fun – If kids learn to associate math lessons with fun, quality time with you, instead of a chore or a routine – they will end up looking forward to it and may even be the ones who will remind you about it! Games, puzzles and DIY activities can all incorporate math and are clever ways to motivate kids to be enthusiastic about learning. Always make sure that the child is not feeling forced into it or stressed, and you’ll be good to go!
- Show Them Math Matters – It may sound daunting – introducing kids to math concepts and getting them to enjoy it, but it doesn’t have to be! In fact, it can be as simple as going to the grocery store, and showing them how discounts work, or how items are priced differently based on value. Another way is to teach them how to manage their allowances. As soon as they realize how math is so pervasive and necessary in our lives, they will begin to view it as being indispensable knowledge.
- Fight The Fear – Fear and avoidance are the first signs of math anxiety, and as soon as you notice these, it is crucial to ensure your kids have a more positive outlook about math. Sit down with them and understand their concerns regarding the subject, and help them to see that you are in their corner throughout their mathematical journey. Communicate with your kid to find out where they struggle, and show them that the struggle (and mistakes that happen along the way) are just inevitable parts of the journey of understanding math. Be sure to praise their efforts in math, and never put them down or admonish them if they make an error in an equation. Negative reactions play a role in how children respond to math, after all.
- Talk To The Teacher – One of the most important things a child will need throughout their schooling life is a great support system, and parents and teachers are a significant part of this – which means sometimes collaboration is required. If you find that your child is exhibiting signs of math anxiety, it would be a good idea to meet with their teacher to understand how things are going in the classroom, and how you can help at home as well. Even if your child is coping well, keeping in touch with the teacher is still a good way for you to monitor which areas your kids may need some extra help with – and work on these at home.
How Zap Zap Math Helps
Part of the reason Zap Zap Math was developed was because we noticed that many kids faced a lot of difficulties with the subject, and were frustrated with having to learn according to rudimentary standards where creativity was not encouraged or even ridiculed. This is why we wanted to ensure that our app would be fun and educational simultaneously – as well as accessible to all. While we could go on and talk about how we think Zap Zap Math could be beneficial to your kids, the best thing is to leave it to the parents who have downloaded the app for their kids . Check out some of these reviews derived from Google Play and iTunes!
If you would like to help your kid develop a life-long love and appreciation for Math, give Zap Zap Math a try today and let the games begin!