6 Tips to Help Tackle Math Anxiety in Children - Student Resources

6 Tips to Help Tackle Math Anxiety in Children

a young girl sitting at a table next to her pencil pouch working on her math worksheet

Math can often present challenges for students when it comes to understanding the material. Those who struggle may be taking longer than others on work aren’t able to solve assignments on their own, or are unable to complete tests. When they don’t feel confident in their skills and are aware that it is something they should be understanding in order to succeed. This can lead to feelings of math anxiety in children. 

When a student feels anxious about math, they are quick to doubt their abilities, feel frustrated and in turn avoid doing their work. Math anxiety can start from the first time math is introduced to more complex math concepts. 

If you’re searching for ways to help your child work through and overcome their math anxiety, try the following tips:

1. Help them reframe their fixed mindset into a growth mindset: 

You may have heard your child say, “I hate math” or “I’m terrible at math, I don’t want to do it!” While it’s common for a student to think they’re terrible at math based on performance and their comfort level, remaining positive is imperative to their success. Repeatedly expressing negativity towards math can discourage their desire to improve and lead them to believe it’s just something they will never be good at.  

Instead, help your child with their growth mindset by having them think more positively. Show them that hard work combined with perseverance can help them improve their abilities. Thinking that “I can do it” versus “I’m not good at math” will help them feel more confident to work through the problems instead of not trying at all.  

2. Enroll them in a supplemental math program:  

Math anxiety may often occur because a student didn’t master foundational math skills. This makes it incredibly difficult to learn more advanced math concepts. To help them with these foundation skills, you will want to understand where they can improve and practice concepts.  

a young boy working on his math worksheet

The Kumon Math Program is beneficial for a student struggling with math because the student will begin at a spot that is a comfortable starting place. Each student has different abilities and starting where your child is comfortable can help them build their knowledge at their own pace. They will practice regularly for 30 minutes per day which helps them to understand and retain knowledge. With consistent practice, students often can get on track which in turn builds their confidence in math and can often lead to them studying above grade level!

3. Praise their efforts: 

Praising your child’s efforts helps them see that problem solving isn’t always successful on the first try. It can be stressful to give the wrong answers or struggle to find the solution, but the process of how they attempted to get there is important! Seeing the steps taken will help you understand where they may have gotten off track and how to figure it out from there. When you praise their efforts, children are more likely to feel comfortable attempting to solve problems and learning how to correct their work.  

4. Play math games: 

In addition to the Kumon Math Program, you can help your child practice math concepts daily by playing math games! This approach of practicing math concepts that will allow them to feel more comfortable improving their skills.

Also, you can work on creating a fun math game with your child including concepts they find challenging. Creating a game can be a great way for them to be motivated to play something that they spent time making. It can be a game you play together as a family or one your child is excited to play with friends. This can help them feel more excited about math as they work through the game they created.

5. Add math into your daily routine

Math is a part of our daily routines as adults, from calculating budgets to managing time on the calendar. Incorporating math into your child’s daily routine can show how math applies to real life. You can start by discussing components of math that relate to a certain task, sorting and counting items around the house, making a recipe together for dinner, or just about anything! Making math relatable and applying it to real-life scenarios can show how useful it is to know and why it’s important to continue studying to develop their skills. 

6. Discuss the importance of time management

Time management can teach time, schedules, and planning in advance while instilling confidence in your child as they see the effects of being prepared. 

One way to instill time management skills is by enrolling in the Kumon Math Program. The consistent daily practice for 30 minutes a day can fit into any routine and the structure of the worksheets offers students the ability to practice concepts on their own.  

The Takeaway 

Math anxiety can lead to students avoiding math work altogether and doubting their ability to improve their skills. Since every child has varying abilities, not every approach will work the same. Trying different tactics and working on developing your child’s math skills can help them tackle math anxiety and become more confident learners.