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Mindset and Maths – how to help your child

We all want to help our children with their school and homework. Sometimes the things we do and say in response to a ‘tricky’ question or homework can have a detrimental effect on how a child views a subject and their performance.

Here are a few simple dos and don’ts to use when helping your child with maths:

Don’t

  • Approach the task saying, “I didn’t get maths at school — you’re just like me!” This will assert the notion that success is maths is about natural ability and not attitude and determination. We need to challenge the idea that we are either good at something or not.
  • Say, “It’s far too hard, you’ll never get it.” Again this will suggest that you can either do it or not do it and therefore if they can’t do it now they will never be able to do it.
  • Find the easy way just to get an answer – children need to be challenged to encourage a love of learning.
  • Tell your child they are smart or a genius if they get it right. This will limit their abilities.

Do

  • Tell your child that it is perfectly OK to find things hard. If we find things hard it means that we are learning. If things were always easy we would never make any progress and would plateau at the same level.
  • Explain that you learn through effort and attitude but this can take a great deal of resilience and determination.
  • Encourage and praise your child using recognition of how hard they are trying and how much effort they are putting in. Praise effort rather than ability.
  • Teach them that it is OK to get an answer wrong. If we don’t try because we are afraid of getting it wrong we will never improve. When we fail we learn.
  • Talk to your child about the children who are doing well in Maths at school. Encourage them to ask how they do it — be inspired by those who are succeeding.

The best way to help you child with their Maths homework is to put your feelings and experiences about Maths to one side. This is about encouraging your child to change their mindset about the subject and to embrace the notion that their effort and attitude will determine everything.

Tell them:

  • Intelligence in Maths can be developed, it is not static
  • To succeed they need to embrace challenges and not avoid them
  • That they need to persist in the face of setbacks and not give up
  • To see effort as the path to mastery and not that effort is a waste of time
  • That we learn from feedback and that it is about the subject and not personal criticism
  • To find inspiration in the success of others rather than be threatened

As a result, your child will reach ever-higher levels of achievement and success.

A change in mindset can have a profound effect on outcome. I look forward to hearing your successes and please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to find out more.

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