One night during dinner, my grandfather asked me about my grades in Mathematics. I was 12 then. Although an unusual enquiry on his part, I cautiously replied, “I failed. 30 upon 100!”
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He started chuckling. So infectious was his throaty chuckle that I joined him. Eventually we were roaring with laughter when he said, “I’m 70, but haven’t used algebra a single day of my life. Take it easy my girl!”
I cannot explain how that statement stayed with me! I was taking Maths too seriously, which is why I often failed. I decided to take a chance—what if Maths is fun!
Well, that was me a long time ago. Now, when I’m a mother, the fear has hit me again. But this time, it’s for my son.
Makes me wonder—am I passing on the same fear to my kid at four?
We need to make children love Math. We don’t need to make subjects like Science or Maths sound herculean! Keeping it simple and fun is what works. Don’t you agree?
If you do, read on to learn four ways in which you can make your children love Maths:
1) Do you read to your child?
If you’re wondering why I’m asking this question, here’s the reason:
We’re surrounded with parenting and good upbringing techniques where all of them ask us to read to our children and that is, no doubt, an amazing thing to do for their brain development. But why not try reading Math to them too?
When toddlers attain just about learning recognition, you should read Math to them. There are several books on number flashcards, number songs, and number stories that can be added to your home library. Reading out these number books to children instils a love for Math early on in the lives.
“My son is seven now. He still remembers and loves the number songs that we used to sing during playschool. He likes math because he is not scared of numbers,” says Bharti, a mother of two. She is already reading number books to her little son of two years.
A wonderful idea, don’t you agree?
2) Math is but a game
“We’re counting the dots on my tee and then we’re going to count the stripes on dad’s pyjamas,” says Aditri. She’s five, soon turning six, and has been given 10 pages of holiday homework. Three of those pages require her to count several objects and note the number. She does not like the task at all.
“While she was fidgeting with her books trying to avoid the homework, I came up with this idea,” explains dad Anuj, enthusiastically. They’re counting dots and stripes on clothes and Aditri is having a ball of a time. Soon, Anuj will make her count the objects on the worksheet and they’ll have the homework done.
What has he done? He has turned math into a game and every kid loves to play.
For kids, Math should be nothing but a game with numbers. You can use your creativity and come up with several ideas to do that. Counting lentils in a bowl, toys in the cupboard, adding books to the shelf and then removing them to understand addition/subtraction are a few of the many ideas that I’ve come across recently.
Cutting his chapati into bits, counting them, and then doing additions and subtractions while eating, is the Math-game, I play with my son. Which one will you play first?
3) Turn it into a reality
“I was adding up our bill at the billing counter when my eight-year-old asked me what I was up to,” says Chandni. As she counted, her son stared at the bill and said, “This looks tough. You’re smart.”
Math beyond homework:
Chandni was taken by surprise! “He’s been doing similar sums in school for almost a year now. I just couldn’t understand why he didn’t get what I was doing.”
“My husband understood the problem,” she then explains. Children do math just as a subject. “We’ve never made our son understand that it’s a ‘real’ subject involving everything around him,” she says and then concedes,”Basically, we’ve not explained the practical purposes of math. The subject is not real to him but just something off a book.”
Math is everyday:
As I hear her out, I marvel how correct her husband’s inference is. We don’t make math a part of everyday lives for our children. From comparing rates at a grocery store to measuring things using a tape, math is everywhere. We should identify the purposes of math and point them out to our children when we’re using them.
They will soon realise math is but fun!
4) “Was walking easy?”
The head of mathematics at my niece’s school asked my brother this question. Obviously he didn’t understand what she meant. He had asked her that his daughter found math very tough and honestly, even he wasn’t very good at it to convince her otherwise.
“Stop announcing that you’re not very good at math in front of her. Just like walking was tough but all of us managed it, the same way math seems tough but eventually she will manage it,” the teacher explained.
The attitude is math:
According to her, attitude towards math is everything. Since we don’t let our children give up on basic things like learning how to ride a bicycle, reading or writing the alphabet, learning how to operate a computer, (although these days they end up teaching us more!) and so on, we should change our attitude for math as well.
Enjoy the subject with your child. Tell them that you love math even if you don’t. I’m sure you realise that it’s not a lie since you do need math to survive. Tell them that numbers are everywhere, even in the game of Temple Run that they can’t get their hands off.
For toddlers and preschoolers, introduce math in building blocks. Encourage every move. Applaud first and then count the mistakes.
Children should know that they need to work hard—just like they do for football, painting, cycling, and other fun stuff. You never know math might soon find itself in this category of most loved things.
Worth the change of attitude, isn’t it?
Have a list of ways that made your kid love math? Share a few of them with us in the comments section below.
Image Credits : Woodley Wonderworks.
90% of a child’s permanent foundation for brain development occurs in the early years according to Rauch Foundation. An overuse of gadgets can only stunt this growth and cause a negative impact on the child’s overall development.
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