– Research has shown that seemingly benign statements about math such as “I never liked it” rub off on your children, doing them serious and lasting harm. According to a 2015 study, elementary students who were helped by math-anxious parents learned this matter less well that than their peers whose parents were not math-averse. Jennifer McCray, assistant research scientist and principal investigator at the Erikson Institute’s Early Math Collaborative gives parents some great tips towards a more positive math learning attitude.

Look for math in everyday moments. For example, count steps aloud when climbing them with your toddler. Teach your children to keep a running tab in their head when shopping at the grocery store. Talk with them about measurements at the gas station, by baking cookies, or by doing home repairs.

Play math games together. Card games such as Capture and dice games such as Yahtzee or Farkle.

– It’s really important not to express your own disgust. Avoid telling aloud that you hate math, that you are lousy at it, or any other math-bashing phrase to your child, even if you think so. “Somehow, we’ve gotten to this place where it’s almost a fashionable thing to say you’re bad at math,” McCray said. “It creates the idea that math is for a special and unusual group of people. But math really does crop up every day in everybody’s life.”

  Portrait of a Young Girl - Pierre-Auguste Renoir - WikimediaCommons

Portrait of a Young Girl – Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Wikimedia Commons)