Parents have many good reasons why they want their kids to practice math. Here are just a few:

  1. solid knowle 25adge of math fundamentals helps a lot later in everyday life
  2. fundamental math mastery is key to success with higher math later on
  3. gain confidence in their own abilities
  4. do not get made fun of in class by other kids or even the teacher
  5. get good grades at school
  6. get better grades than the neighbor’s kid

With such good reasons it can be surprising for many parents that many children do not seem to share the level of enthusiasm for their math practice befitting such great causes. In fact, most parents spend a great deal of time coaxing, pleading and threatening their young children just so they practice their elementary math.This is only human. Just look around at other adults (maybe even yourself): Why is it that mature adults eat too much, drink too much and/or smoke to much, even though there are excellent, logical reasons for them not to? Therefore, how can we expect our children to be perfectly rational when it comes to doing what is good for them?

The answer in getting your kids to practice math lies in finding what drives them and allow them to feel good about themselves and their efforts. Listen to your child. Observe what he or she likes doing. What e25ngages, fascinates and intrigues your child?

1. Tell a Story / Make It a Game

One of the best practices, particularly for young children is to embed math practice into stories and games. Instead of asking your child: “What is two plus three?”, ask instead “The wise king (or queen) of Avalon had called his bravest knights to his table. ‘My fellow knights’, he said, ‘I heard that my armour needs to be fixed using two pieces of silver metal and three pieces of gold metal. So how many pieces of metal do I need altogether?'”.

Suddenly two plus three is a matter of national importance, and your young one is bound to take a lot more interest, particularly if it involves their favorite characters.

2. Praise Effort, Not Results

This is a crucial practice for parents. Children need to be praised for their efforts, not so much their results. When you praise mainly the results, most kids will stop trying when they feel they can’t achieve what they need to achieve. Particularly when the result seems far away. But when you praise their efforts, you reward them for practicing, which is here and now. And we all know it is practice that makes perfect. You actually establish a pattern in their lives that allows them to connect math practice (and any other practice) with feeling good.

If you adopt these two practices, observe your child and speak to them about how practice is a sign of true greatness, math practice will never be as hard as it used to be!

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