I had math anxiety when I was a kid. The more people tried to get me to understand, the more upset I would get and the less I was able to understand. I remember my parents’ frustration with me. Especially my dad. Math is his life. He is constantly doing figuring and sees numbers everywhere he goes. For me, it’s words instead of numbers. Numbers just don’t want to stick in my brain. It’s like I have some sort of reverse velcro to numbers.
If you have a child like this, how can you encourage them and help reduce the anxiety?
- Try to be patient with them. If they sense your frustration, they will become upset with their own lack of understanding which only perpetuates the vicious circle.
- Make sure they get a good foundation in the basic math facts.
- Give them plenty of math practice but make it fun.
- Keep in mind that some kids just don’t have a ‘head for math’. That doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t learn the basics. It just means that they probably aren’t going to ever love math or excel in it like those for whom it comes naturally.