Maths anxiety is very real. It's estimated as many as half of all students in the United States struggle with some degree of math difficulty. This statistic increases to 80 percent by the time students reach fifth grade and all the way to 90 percent by high school! These numbers highlight the real problem facing many children of this generation.
But while it’s common knowledge that math anxiety exists, it can be hard to help your child who is experiencing it. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to assist them in overcoming their math fears and fostering a healthier academic relationship with the subject.
First and foremost, provide reassurance. Kids often feel like failure when it comes to math, which can cause anxiety levels to skyrocket. A good way to counteract this feeling is by making sure your child knows they are capable of learning. Teach them that it takes time and effort but that math is also a wonderful tool they can use to understand and solve problems in the future.
Second, work on math strategies. Practicing number facts and other basic skills is an effective strategy for helping children feel more comfortable. Create fun ways they can practice, such as playing a game or searching for counting items around the house. Additionally, discussing concepts and showing them how it connects to real-world uses can help children become more enthusiastic and motivated about tackling problems.
Third, take a break. Although practice and understanding is important, it’s equally important to let your child take a breather from challenging topics. If a child is feeling overwhelmed, it may be beneficial to allow them a break before diving back into studying. Activities like drawing, writing about the topic, or simply talking about it can help ease anxiety levels and make the topic easier to comprehend.
Finally, seek outside assistance. Sometimes just having another person help guide your child in the material can make all the difference. Consider investing in a math tutor or looking into enrichment classes. Many schools offer extra help programs as well, so ask your school counselor if they have any options available.
Maths anxiety is very much a real problem and one that can be difficult to manage. However, with the right approach, it is possible to help your child achieve a more positive outlook.