Do you have a child who makes a career of avoiding math? Do they wiggle, squirm, and whine? Here are ten tricks you can use to encourage your children to complete their math in a fun and timely manner.
1. Set the timer and race the clock
My mom taught me this method to get math done when I was a little girl, taking my own sweet time over each and every math problem.
The secret is to see how many problems your child can complete in 5, 10, or 15 minutes. My children respond best when I include lots of high-fives and whoops for a job well done.
2. Sit down with your child, race each other, and compare solutions
There’s nothing like misery shared, and kids love to see Mom do math.
It’s also an excellent method to pinpoint what areas your child is struggling with in math. You can fine tune the math instruction once you identify what parts of the solution are causing problems.
3. Cover most of the sheet with a piece of paper
Math lessons tend to have plenty of problems for practice. It’s also intimidating to see line after line of work to be done, especially if you’re a young kid with a short attention span.
Cover the sheet so your child can only see a handful of problems. This also works really well when you race the clock.
4. Sing a silly song every time a math problem is completed correctly
My young children love to hear me sing silly songs. It’s a fun and easy way to reward my children for completing a math problem or a math sheet.
We have even more fun when we sing these silly songs together.
5. High school kids need the reverse
My high school age children dread a silly mom singing silly songs. So when they’re stalling out on math, I start singing silly songs until they begin to work.
The trick is to keep it silly and fun without becoming too annoying. Laughing teenagers are fun; annoyed teenagers are not.
6. Do math right before snack time
There’s something motivating about knowing you have a treat coming right after you complete a difficult project. Kids are just as motivated as adults.
Put math right before snack time so your children know they’re getting a treat immediately after they finish math.
7. Break up lessons
Don’t try to do the entire math lesson at once if you have an exceptionally wiggly child. Instead ask them to do a couple of problems before sending them out to play.
When they come back, do a couple more problems. Break the lessons up so your child doesn’t need to sit more than 5 minutes at a time.
8. Do math orally
Instead of having your child write out every math problem, do the lesson or drill orally. Simply have your child tell you the answer.
This works wonderfully for mental math, drill, and young children.
9. Do math on a chalkboard or whiteboard
It’s always fascinated me how we solve problems better when working on a chalkboard or a whiteboard. Purchase a chalkboard or whiteboard and allow your children to do their math there.
This can be a treat for exceptional work or an aid when a child is struggling with a particular problem. It also allows you to see at a glance how your child is attacking the problem.
10. Talk in crazy accents while doing math
Talking in crazy accents adds fun to math lessons. We enjoy talking like a pirate or adding animal noises into the lessons.
It keeps us laughing together during math, and laughing kids don’t resist schoolwork as much as crying kids do. So get your kids to laugh during math as much as possible.
Remember to concentrate on small improvements. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and kids don’t progress from adding 1+1 to calculus in a month. Your child will learn to complete their math in a reasonable time.