When it comes to math, many parents feel anxious about their own skills and understanding. There is a pervasive belief that some people just are not ‘math people’ or do not have the ability to be good at math. While we know this is untrue—everyone is capable of learning math—many of us perpetuate this myth by inadvertently passing on math anxieties on to our children.
Research has shown that parents with math anxiety are likely to pass that anxiety along when helping their children with math homework. Fortunately, there are many ways even the most anxious parent can support their child’s math skills development.
Make negatives comment about your math abilities or your child’s homework.
Stay calm and positive. Ask your child probing questions (i.e., Do you understand the directions? What is the question asking you to do? Can you find a strategy?).
Let your frustration get the better of you.
Access resources for support in our Families section such as the Letters Home, which provide details to families about the math content of every Math Trailblazers unit and how to support students’ learning.
Do not complete homework with your child. If your anxiety is too great, let your child complete homework independently. See our Helping with Math and Homework section for ways to support your child with homework without actually doing it together.
Find ways to talk about math, numbers, and shapes in low-stakes, positive ways. Check out Talking Math With Kids for more ideas and details.