Getting your child to do their homework can be a lot like trying to pull teeth. There may be a whole lot of resistance from the child but be patient. Learning is about improving ourselves, and even children understand that. They are always going about learning new ways to make this easier, or more intriguing or most of all, fun! So let’s approach the process from that perspective, shall we?
Children often feel a lot of pressure from adults and adults do not even realize when to pump the brakes a bit, but that is all a part of human nature. Children of course do need to be pressured, but in a positive way. What really works to motivate anyone is to show the short-term or long-term benefit to what it is that you are trying to accomplish. If you go in guns blazing trying to force pressure the child into learning the topic and you become frustrated, your child will in turn notice the negativity right away and begin to decide that they are being judged. They are right.
So avoid this tactic. Try to be open and understanding of their own learning process. Explain the logic of math problems in a way that will show them those benefits, how math is all around us, whether we are gauging our speed driving to school, measuring ingredients for a delicious snack or meal or counting the school supplies that we need. Specific examples really help children appreciate why we need to understand the concepts in mathematics, even at a basic level. They will be more enthused by this method and seek new ways to solve problems with more advanced math. A lot of this is just all about attitude and mentality.
Visual and Practical Models Work
Math is taught with great success in many Asian countries and many believe it is because of the way in which students learn the concepts and make the transition. It has been revealed that more visual representation matters to the student when discussing anything from simple basic addition/subtraction/multiplication/division to fractions and beyond. When they make a visual connection to the data, their brain can begin quickly deconstructing the logic behind the problem.
Ask your child to work out the problem aloud with you so you know their line of reasoning as well. This will help you understand their approach so you can teach them some new tricks. Again, be patient. The respect factor is exponentially higher with children when you are on their level and are actually helpful in their eyes. You should also work problems out aloud with them and do the same with everyday scenarios in life as you are going along your day with your kids. Explain concepts in everyday tone and language and relate it back to those school math problems they were working on.
It may seem obvious that you need to be involved in your child’s education, but moreover, try to be involved in their actual math problems and other studies. Make it your problem too. They will be more studious when they feel it is a group activity or game. Make it fun for them if you can by creating mini milestones like a bonus fun game for every successful problem solved or for finishing their homework. Remember how flash cards worked? The more colorful the cards the better by the way.
Being involved in all aspects of a child’s life is a great way to keep them involved in positive life activities as well. Your child will feel supported and confident knowing that their parents are there for them to help them when things get really tough. In math, when a problem is tough to understand, they may feel comfort in knowing that Mom or Dad can help guide them through it so they may understand it better. This helps a child’s confidence and self-esteem like no other.
Rewarding the Triumph
Children; just like pets, wild animals and grown adult humans; need to see the immediate benefits to the work behind learning a new skill, one that may seem mundane or useless in the form of numbers, symbols or expressions on a piece of paper or computer tablet screen.
When your child solves a problem, be sure to remember to try to challenge them to think of a way that problem can be implemented in the real world, or even better their world! When the child begins to unravel mysteries, not only will it excite and motivate them, they will be rewarded with pride and wisdom. They are never too young to understand this!
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