Math is surely the one of the most important tools for your child to learn. Math is not only a great tool for daily use – it is also an important way of teaching logic and the ability to think and solve problems.
But math can also be one of the most frustrating subjects for children to learn. What makes math especially frustrating is that your child’s brain knows the answer is there, but it can’t seem to put it together. It can be stressful for your child to know they should be able to solve for an answer, but not be able to put it together.
When your child is frustrated by math, here are several tips to try to reduce that anxiety.
What to Do When Your Child is Frustrated with Math
Several of these strategies are designed to make that frustration less all-consuming, so that your child can move forward.
• Teaching Frustration Coping
The first thing you should do is teach your child what to do when they feel themselves getting frustrated. You can advise them to get up and take some deep breaths, or tell them to come talk to you and you’ll sit with them for a fine minute break until they feel calmer. If they can counter the frustration, they should be able to get back to learning.
• Keep a List of “Frustrating Math”
Your child will often find new problems frustrating until they learn them. Keep a running list of all of times that your child was frustrated with a math problem. Then every time they find math frustrating, show them the list and show them how they’ve managed to learn everything they said they “couldn’t learn” in the past. Over time, the list of “can’t do’s” will be long, and yet every one represents a problem that your child could eventually solve.
• Teach Them to Seek Help
You want your child to learn on their own, but you don’t want your child’s frustrations to stop them from learning. They need to completely understand that there is no reason to be frustrated because you (or a tutor) are happy to help. Teach them to seek help any time they don’t understand a technique so that instead of thinking they have to figure this out on their own, they know someone is nearby to provide guidance.
• Show Them How to Start From The Beginning
A great study tool – and one that will reduce your child’s math frustrations – is to teach them how to go back and learn from the math that they do know. Most children get upset if you ask them to “Start Over” but if you teach your child how to go back and learn what they are missing from what they do understand, you’ll give your child not only a way to cope with math frustration, but also an important studying technique for the future.
• Reward Their Hard Work
Finally, you never want homework and learning to seem like something they have to do – even though they have to do it. For many kids, the best thing to do is make it seem like something they want to do. Giving them rewards when they are able to successfully complete assignments or learn something new (perhaps something they claimed they “couldn’t do”) is a great way to make learning something they enjoy, rather than something frustrating that they don’t understand.
Helping Your Child Learn
Math shouldn’t give your child an anxiety attack. When your brain knows there is an answer but is unable to find it, it becomes stressed. As a child, that stress can turn into anxiety and frustration, and it becomes easy to believe that math is too hard or tricky, causing your child to give up.
Use the above strategies to keep your child calm and ultimately give them the tools they need to successfully manage their anxiety. Over time, you’ll find that they are able to learn more easily and will be less likely to find math a stressful and frustrating activity in the future.