Exam results got out today! Mia didn’t perform well in Maths. She got very low marks in the subject. Each year her report card tells the same story. Her mother Raksha is starting to get concerned. Why does my child make mistakes in Maths? How can the daughter of parents who topped in Maths be a bad student?
Raksha and Rajat would take turns in teaching Mia every day but she isn’t showing any improvement. Her Maths notebook is full of careless mistakes marked in red pen by the teacher.
Raksha would sit and wonder what if Mia is bad at Maths?
What if she is not a bright child?
Wait! Hold on!
Watch your thoughts! Raksha told herself.
Her mind was spinning with disappointment and worry.
Distraught! She decided to call her friend Divya, whose children were studying in higher classes.
Divya always seemed calm about her children’s performance. How does she maintain her calm? Raksha wondered.
A 10-minute phone call with Divya and Raksha’s mind was at peace.
Here’s how the conversation went
Raksha: No matter how tired Rajat is. 45 minutes every evening he sits with Mia and teaches her Maths.
“So much dedication, hard work and discipline yet the marks are in the 40’s. I am embarrassed talking about her Maths test scores.”, Raksha croaked over the phone.
Divya: Hmmm. I can understand what you feel. Let me ask you something.
“How old is your daughter?”
Raksha: She is 6 years old.
Divya: What makes you conclude that she is a bad student?
Raksha: Mia’s gets bad marks in Maths. Every year.
Forgets multiplication tables.
Mia struggles to understand the concept of tens and ones. She makes so many careless mistakes while doing addition and subtraction.
These are basic concepts of Maths. How can she do well if cannot remember the basic concepts?
Divya: Hmm okay! What strategy are you and your husband using to resolve this issue?
Raksha: I sent her to tuitions. Which ate up most of her day. Leaving no time for her to play. I do not like the idea as I want my daughter to have some playtime for herself.
I also bought an educational app for her. The app came highly recommended. It engages Mia but she is watching the screen all the time.
I don’t like her having this much screen time. It will affect her eye-sight.
The worst part about the screen learning was that Mia had started avoiding books. She had become so addicted to the screen. Every time, I asked her to practice sums or word problems she would throw a tantrum.
She had lost interest in solving problems by writing.
What do I do Divya? Raksha nearly cried to her friend for help.
If you are a mother of a school going child then this conversation is familiar to you.
Either you have been the helping friend or the one asking for help.
Most popular opinion about Maths is – What a fearful subject. I will study it till the time I have to.
Then Bye- Bye Maths.
I say, Do not fear Maths.
I can hear everyone gasping, “Hah! easy for you to say, you are a Maths teacher. It’s obvious that the subject is easy for you.”
My dear friends, such was not the case always.
My Story while growing up
I had a low interest in Maths.
I was least interested in Multiplication tables. (watch this space for tips and tricks to learn multiplication tables easily)
All I wanted to do was play and it showed in my marks. I got poor marks at school.
This trend continued until I discovered Algebra. I loved solving equations and before I knew it I was giving tuitions to my classmates and cousins.
It took me ‘Algebra’ to discover that I love Maths. I did my post-graduation in the subject from IIT-Delhi.
I changed my story!
Here’ how you can change yours.
What to do when the child makes mistakes in Maths?
and I want you to say this out loud.
IT IS OKAY IF MY CHILD MAKES MISTAKES IN MATHS.
If Your Child Makes Mistakes in Maths? No reasons to Worry
1. Remove their fear
Remove the Fear of the subject you think your child is “weak” in.
I would say don’t grow the fear of Maths in your mind. If you fear it your child will follow your mentality.
It’s okay if your child is currently not able to grasp the concept. I can assure you that it is a matter of time.
For example, a baby starts crawling. Soon it’s time for him to stand upright and walk.
Do you think all babies start walking at the same age?
Some walk at the age of 9 months while some at 1 and a half years of age.
Walking is new to the baby. As they learn this new skill. They fall and get up and fall again. Babies keep doing that until their bodies learn to balance. And just like that, they start walking.
Try and remember the time when our children learnt to walk.
When we see them fall do we conclude that our child is bad at walking and he will never be able to do it?
We know in our heart, the child will walk and we show patience. Hold their fingers and help take those baby steps.
We wipe their tears when they fall and hurt themselves.
Our heart knows that this is a learning phase and this is natural to fall in initial few attempts.
Why not apply the same rule as your child is learning Maths?
For that matter any other skill in life.
Give them love and patience as they learn their way into it.
2. Allow your child processing time
Every child learns at a different pace. Each child responds to a different style of learning.
As parents, can we not conclude and label our children as
“Bad in Maths”
“Gets terrible marks in English” and so on.
Everybody is a Genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
As parents, give your child TIME.
Your child will learn in their time. But when children see us putting these negative labels on them – they start believing it as well.
3. Do not judge or label them – when you see their mistakes
It’s the worst parenting habit.
If we judge and label a child ‘Bad at Maths’ the child will start to believe the same.
My question to parents is – How will a child learn the subject if his belief is that he is bad at it?
Now that the fear is out. Let’s find ways to teach our children.
What is the best way to teach children?
Educational apps and other mediums of visual learning are good to grab a child’s attention.
But the purpose is that the child should be able to remember the concept and apply it.
We want children to develop an interest in books and study daily for a certain amount of time.
If your answer is Yes, then read on.
Tips for effective learning in your child
1. Practice the subject daily
We recommend 20 minutes every day.
It is not a huge amount of time and it’s achievable for the child. Remember we do not want to demotivate them by making them sit for hours practising the subject.
Give your child worksheets to practise different techniques of the same concept. This way the child stays interested and consistently working towards strengthening his understanding.
2. Encourage the child to pay attention in the class
As children lose attention in the class for various reasons. their performance suffers. They make mistakes, teachers gives worrisome reviews to the parents. They send them for tuitions thinking the child is weak in the subject.
We can end this need for tuitions if the child pays attention in the classroom teaching.
3. Check your attitude and body language at all times
Children are sensitive to parents opinions. They seek validation from their parents.
If you appreciate your child’s small efforts, they will come back with bigger achievements and surprise you.
3. Support them and let them grow
Every time you get an urge to label your child.
Remember this –
Their mistakes are not permanent but your attitude towards those mistakes is.
The impact your attitude leaves on the child is permanent.
Remember when a flower doesn’t grow in a pot.
We do not go on blaming the flower that it doesn’t know how to grow.
We work towards making the environment conducive to it’s growth. By fixing the amount of water and sun they are getting.
Aren’t our children little flowers waiting to bloom?
Conclusion – It is Okay if the child makes mistakes in Maths
Fearing the subject or labelling the child will only reduce their interest in it. Give them time and your patience to bloom.
They will shine brighter than your imagination.
Click here for more parenting tips.