Five FactorsContrary to popular opinion, no one is born a math genius.  Although some people definitely seem to have a predilection for math and science or for humanities, it is something that has to be cultivated and developed.  If your child is doing well at math, then chances are there were factors that led to this.  And if you are looking to have an impact on your child’s abilities, then it is probably a great starting point to take an objective look at these five factors.

  • Being “Math Positive”— One of the biggest factors in a child’s math success is his or her parent’s attitude toward math.  Parents should do everything that they can to be as positive about mathematics as they can.  Too often, parents who struggled with math will make comments putting the subject down or implying that it is “too hard” which has a negative impact on the child.   Instead, be positive when talking about math and encourage your child as much as possible.
  • Finding Math Alternatives— One of the greatest ways to promote math in your child’s life is to find alternative ways to work math into his or her life.  Let them play math related video games that can promote math skills in a new and exciting way.  Let them into the kitchen where basic math skills such as measurements are reinforced in a real world setting.  Play board games that can help to teach basic skills such as counting and numbers.  These are all alternatives to the old tried-and-true method of learning math with paper and pencil.
  • Modeling Math Skills— Another way that parents can help to promote math skills is by modeling it in your daily life.  Let your child see you working on math in the real world with things like balancing a checking account or doing your taxes.  It doesn’t have to be something incredibly complicated, but it can show them that you use math as well.  Also, show them your interest in math by working problems with them.  Follow along with the curriculum and refresh your own math skills along with your child.
  • Having Open Dialogue With Teachers—Unfortunately, many parents only contact a teacher when there is a problem.  But the best way to help your child is to be proactive and let them know you care.  These conferences can give you expert advice on how to help your child specifically, what areas to target with him or her, and how you can be a positive influence in your child’s mathematics education.
  • Remembering Language Skills— In all of the rush to emphasize math skills, it is important to not lose sight of language skills or to think of them as mutually exclusive.  Many students can work out complex math equations, but can’t solve the simplest word problem because their language skills are lacking.  That is why it is important to keep your child’s language and vocabulary skills up by reading with him or her and encouraging this activity as much as possible.

Cultivating math skills is something that takes time and dedication.  That is why parents should be ready to do what they can to help their children in this endeavor.  With the new emphasis on math and technology-based jobs, it will definitely pay off for them in the future.