11 Signs Your Child Is Struggling With Math (And How To Help)
Students struggle with math for a number of different reasons.
It’s normal to see students struggle with certain math concepts at some point, requiring a bit of a boost to sharpen their math skills.
But for some students, the problem goes beyond struggling with just a couple math concepts—it becomes an ongoing problem that stops them from understanding math most of the time.
Why Students Struggle With Math
Dyscalculia is a learning difficulty that impacts students’ ability to do math. Children with dyscalculia usually have difficulty understanding numbers, symbols, and related concepts that they need to succeed in math.
Many students struggle with at least a mild form of dyscalculia, and don’t meet their potential in math class. Students who don’t meet basic math standards in earlier grade levels are likely to continue not meeting them in later grades.
This is why it’s important to identify the signs that your child is struggling with math as early as possible, and start making a plan to address it.
11 Signs Your Child Is Struggling With Math
- Not meeting major milestones
- Difficulty recalling basic math concepts and facts
- Difficulty learning advanced math concepts and facts
- Trouble managing time
- Doesn’t make the connection between math families
- Trouble with mental math
- Difficulty applying math concepts to real world problems
- Doesn’t attempt to find different approaches to problems
- Math grades are much lower than other subjects
- Anxiety about math class, tests, and homework
- Says he or she hates math
Your child has trouble keeping up with his or her peers in class. Younger students may struggle to count by number groups (2s, 5s, 10s) and/or individually, while older students may struggle with multiplication tables or fractions.
Your child struggles to remember math concepts he or she has been taught and learned in the past.
Your child struggles to build upon basic math concepts and does not understand more advanced math problems.
Your child has trouble managing time, including reading clocks, judging increments of time, and sticking to a schedule.
Your child isn’t able to easily make connections between math fact families, for example: 10+2 = 12 and 12-2 = 10.
Your child uses his or her fingers to count when figuring out math problems, rather than doing the work in his or her head.
Your child struggles to apply math concepts to word problems, or in real life situations like calculating the cost of items.
Your child doesn’t try different approaches to math problems and gives up easily when he or she is unable to find an answer.
Your child performs well in his or her other classes, while math grades are much lower. He or she may avoid doing math homework or studying for tests.
Math is a major source of stress for your child. He or she is easily overwhelmed or frustrated by math and can’t remember what he or she has learned while taking tests or doing homework.
Your child complains he or she “hates math” and avoids participating in math class or practicing solving math problems.
How Parents Can Help Children Struggling With Math
If you have seen any of the above signs of math struggles in your child, it’s important to tackle the issue as soon as possible to get your child on the right track.
Luckily, there are a number of ways parents can help their child improve in math class. Many of these can happen at home, as well as with the help of a tutor.
- Practice With Your Child Every Night
- Identify Problem Areas
- Make Math Fun
- Find Daily Applications
- Be Positive
- Get a Tutor
Sit down with your child after school and do a little math practice each night (even if he or she doesn’t have homework). This will help him or her build skills, while keeping what your child is learning fresh in his or her mind.
Figure out which areas of math your child is struggling with. Once you know where the problem is, you can work with your child’s teacher or tutor to make a plan to address it.
Help your child discover how math can be fun (rather than overwhelming) by making math games you can play together. Check out our blog post for ideas on how to make math fun for your child.
Find opportunities to use math with your child beyond just when he or she is doing homework. Have your child practice math when you are grocery shopping by calculating the cost, or following a recipe when you are cooking or baking.
Help your child build confidence by helping and encouraging your child when he or she is stuck on a math problem. Rather than allowing him or her to get frustrated and give up, work through the problem together to find the solution.
For many parents, it’s been a long time since they’ve been in math class, and a lot has changed. If your child is struggling with math and you just can’t help, a math tutor can make sure your child gets the help he or she needs.