Does your kiddo struggle with math? They (and you!) are not alone. Sometimes addressing non-math issues can really help the issue at hand, speaking from a teacher lens. Here are a few non-math ways to help your child experience success in math. Read on to the end to get a free recipe for my concentration roller blend.
1. Encourage a Growth Mindset
Growth Mindset is not a new concept, but it is especially important when tackling difficult tasks or subjects. Studies show that if people believe they can do something, even if it is difficult and they may not get it right away, they learn it better, retain it longer, and stick with the hard task longer if they have a growth mindset.
Encourage your child to use phrases such as "Mistakes help me grow." or "My intelligence can be developed." or "I keep trying and never give up!" instead of "I'm not good at it." or "I give up easily.'
2. Get Good Sleep
“Daytime thinking is a building process, whereas nighttime thinking is a sorting process.”
Did you know that children with sleep issues are often misdiagnosed with attention or learning issues? This is because our brains make sense of and sort our experiences at nighttime from during the daytime. When we don't get enough good sleep at night, our brain isn't able to "download" and synthesize what we took in from the previous day. So maybe your child did a lot of great learning of math and made progress the day before, but if he/she didn't sleep well or long enough, that learning may be lost. There are so many other reasons sleep is vital to health and wellness and learning! Read a scholarly example here.
Set a bedtime routine and stick to it! If you need ideas, I shared 11 tried and true ways to get better sleep here that can be adapted very well for kids.
3. Strengthen Left- and Right-Brain Connections
Does your child enjoy some activities that are completely unrelated to math? Of course they do! There are many studies that show certain activities (like music) strength the pathways in the brain between the two hemispheres. What does this have to do with math? Well, math often requires that these pathways be strong. When practicing using these pathways, it's like exercising a muscle and will get stronger with use. The stronger you build a muscle, the stronger you feel when something heavy comes along that you have to pick up. By building strong pathways with something more "fun" -- like music -- your child can come to math work feeling stronger, like the math work is a bit less heavy than last time.
In the middle of math work (or perhaps even right before it!), have your child do this active listening + movement piece to activate those multiple areas of the brain.