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BUILDING MATH SKILLS

Introduction : Maths, You and Your Baby
Children are natural mathematicians. It is just that they require the right exposure to logical thinking. If you show your child, how maths is a part of everyday life, he will be eager to learn more. Children never stop learning. Parents too do not really stop learning, but they forget what learning looks like.

Learning occurs from passive teaching by a willing parent being present, offering the child help whenever required and letting the child decide explore with numbers and patterns on their own. By forcing a child to do maths, he may do the operations mechanically, without understanding the reasoning. Forcing a child to do any activity will lead to a kind of hatred. Teach through a play well method. The fundamentals will register, if he learns through play and fun rather than being forced to learn by heart.

Fun activities to promote math skills
Parents can help their child master early maths skills by playing games in the house, car, etc. Sort things by colour, shape and size. If you want your child to enjoy maths, show him how maths is a part of every day life.

Here are many ways to introduce your child to maths. It is very necessary for you to identify, what is your child's learning style. The learning styles of a child are of three types. They are as follows :
a) Visual learner
b) Physical learner
c) Auditory learner

a) Visual Learner

i)

Play a number game : While you are driving around, make your child notice numbers on the street, car number plates. Ask him to call out the numbers in the car. Usually children should be able to recognize number one to ten before kindergarten.

ii)

Calling up people : Assist him in making a phone call. Give him a phone number of a friend and help him to dial the number, this will give him a lot of practice with numbers.

iii)

Join the dots : By joining dots, your child will learn number sequencing i.e. one is followed by two, four is followed by five, seven is followed by eight. These books are easily available in book shops.

iv)

Counting everything around you : Count the number of people at the bus stop, in a shop, etc.


b) Physical Learner

i)

Count and sort household things : Mix up the cutlery i.e. knives, spoons, forks and let your child sort them, i.e. counting how many belong to a particular group. You can teach your child sorting with the help of your cupboard. E.g. Sorting the shirts, pants, t-shirts, socks by colour and size.

ii)

Explore with shapes at home : Look for a table and identify its shape. Identify the shape of his bed.

iii)

Explore with puzzles and blocks : By playing with a shape sorter, puzzles, your child will learn basic geometry as well as develop his motor skills.

iv)

Snack time can be fun time : Give your child biscuits with different shapes, let him sort them and count them.


c) for Auditory Learners

i)       

Listen to counting rhymes and songs. These songs teach the child the concept of subtraction as well as counting numbers.

ii)

Make your child a chef in the kitchen. Give your child the measuring cup and let him measure and help you prepare his favourite dish. This way your child learns the concepts of volume and weight.


Parents and Maths Phobia

Many parents do not attempt to promote their child's mathematical potential because of their own negative childhood experience. Those experiences have a deep impact on them that it is difficult for them to let go. They tend to pass their dislike of maths on their children.

Sometimes parents have an attitude that maths is a mechanical subject only for engineers and is not meant for the common person. It is necessary for parents to be comfortable with maths themselves in order to help their children.


Role of Parents in Promoting Math Skills

You can help your child to learn maths skills by playing simple games around the house. Everyday situations offer opportunities for exploring mathematics.

1.

Enhance your child's mind with challenging mathematical questions : Parents should ask their children interesting questions to develop their mathematical skills, for e.g. you could ask the child to count "How many are taxis passing by", "How many one rupee coins you require make 100 rupees". "If there is one pastry and there are four people to share it, how would share it?"

2.

Play games with your child : Simple board games like snakes and ladders give your child a chance to develop maths skills. Chess and Checkers help develop visual thinking and strategy skills.

3.

Play a lot of sorting games : While doing your laundry ask your child to sort the clothes by ways of colour, size and texture.

4.

Food could be used to cultivate mathematical interest : Cut sandwiches in different shapes e.g. circles, triangles, squares, etc. Talk about the shapes as you eat them. Biscuits could also be used.

5.

Weight watching : At the grocery shop estimate the weights of different vegetables and fruits. Compare the weight of all your family members. This will help in teaching the concept of more and less.

6.

Travel time : Bring maths into the family for e.g. time taken to travel to a particular destination, number of taxis passing by, number of red cars, etc.

7.

Make graphs with your child : Construct a bar graph showing how many bowls of rice each family member consumes in one months. Drawing a line graph indicating the amount of money in piggy bank. Create a pie graph showing how the cricketer has scored his runs, be it square leg, silly point, etc.

8.

Family Finance : Let your child open up a small bank account where he operates his account. He can check his balance, make deposits, withdrawal, etc. Do the following above activities with your child. It is not the right answers that are important but it is the process. The new way of doing maths is what counts. Participate in all the games with a playful spirit.

How to tell whether your child needs extra help with maths.
If you feel that your child needs extra help with maths, you could talk to your child's teacher. A teacher sees a child in various situations and can compare him with other children. The teacher is in a good position to notice any problem. Early warnings of a math problem.

1. He forgets numbers.
2. Gets troubled working with numbers.
3. Has trouble distinguishing left from right.
4. Finds trouble identifying shapes, even after much training.

If your child is having any problem with maths, it does not necessarily mean he has a learning disability. It could be possible that he is being pushed too hard before he's developmentally ready. Consult his class teacher who may suggest that more maths practice should be done at home or that you talk to a learning specialist.

 

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