Making math useful can be a challenging task, but when a child discovers the connections between real life and the classroom, the reward is learning itself. Here are a few tips to help parents:

  1. Explore math in everyday life. Count out forks to set the table. Pour a cup from a gallon of milk. Talk about the time when a favorite TV program starts. When driving, talk about how numbers help us determine how fast we drive, the distance traveled, the mileage the car gets per gallon of gas, and how long it will take to get home.
  2. Expose your child to money. Have your child collect coins in a piggy bank and count them out regularly. If your child receives an allowance, have them keep track of the amount. You could open a bank account for your child.
  3. Use games to explore math concepts. Incorporate games involving numbers and math into playtime — from flashcards for learning basic math facts to board games involving money, time, and logic.
  4. Ask your child questions. When helping your child with math, ask questions to guide your child through the process, such as “Where do you begin?” “What do you need to find out?” “Can you show me in a drawing how you got the answer?”
  5. Model analytical and mathematical thinking for your child. Be a problem solver, pose questions, and find solutions. Show how math is more than learning addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Math also teaches us to analyze, reason, and plan.

Tips adapted from