Are You Making These 5 Colossal Mistakes with Your Child’s Maths?


Perfect hair, perfect teeth, perfect nails, perfect parents. Pah! There’s no such thing!

As much as you try to be the perfect parent and raise the perfect child, you’ll always fall short!

If you want advice on how to get your child to go to bed early; get them to watch less TV; always tell the truth or call if they’re going to be late; then you’ve come to the wrong website!

However, if you want advice on how to correct some common mistakes in relation to your child’s maths learning, then read on (and worry about the early bedtime tomorrow!):


Are you making these 5  mistakes?

1) Being negative about maths

Do you hate math? Did you find math difficult when you were at school? It happens! It’s OK to share this with your child but try to do it in a positive way.

Don’t say:
“I was no good at math, It’s too hard-go ask your mum/dad.”
Instead say:
“Math can be hard but let’s see if we can work this out together first before asking for help”

2) Not praising every maths achievement

If your kid finds maths easy, we often take their maths ability for granted and fail to praise them. It’s even more important to find something to praise about your child’s maths when they are struggling.

Don’t say:
“You’re not as good as your sister at maths.”
Instead try:
I know you sometimes find maths difficult, but the presentation of your work is very neat-it’s important in maths to show your working out clearly, well done!”
or “This test score may have been a little low, but remember last month your teacher said  your work is improving”

3) Failing to make maths part of everyday life

As parents, you know that you should read to your child from an early age, in the same way, start talking about maths as soon as they’re born and continue pointing out the maths around you as your child grows up!

Don’t think:
“I’ll wait until a problem comes up before I do any extra maths with my child.”
Try thinking:
“Let me help my child to feel comfortable about talking about maths and practise a little bit of maths each day.”

4) Making maths seem boring

Maths isn’t all about worksheets and memorization. Varying the type of maths your child does when they’re at home is vitally important, especially if your child’s homework always consists of worksheets.

Don’t think:
Worksheets and memorization is all my child needs to be good at maths”
Try thinking:
How can my child work with maths in a variety of ways?”

5) Not communicating with your child’s maths teacher

Sometimes parents just know best. Even if your child’s teacher thinks your child is doing fine at math but you’re concerned – do something. Talk to your child’s teacher about your child’s progress and start playing math games and revising the basics with your child.

Wait until the parent-teacher meeting to sort this out
Communicating as soon as problems develop and have your own suggested plan of action.

What maths mistakes have you made recently? What solutions have worked? How do you get your children to bed early? Tell me in the comments below!


Caroline Mukisa
About The Author: Caroline Mukisa is the founder of Maths Insider. A Cambridge University educated math teacher, she's been involved in math education for over 20 years as a teacher, tutor, Kumon instructor, Thinkster Math instructor and math ed blogger. She is the author of the insanely helpful ebook "The Ultimate Kumon Review" and insanely useful website "31 Days to Faster Times Tables" You can follow her math tips on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @mathsinsider

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

5 thoughts on “Are You Making These 5 Colossal Mistakes with Your Child’s Maths?

  1. These are really good tips. I homeschool and have a 3rd grader who loves and has a natural ability for math – and is working beyond his grade level. I have a fourth grader who doesn’t love it and is working at grade level or maybe slightly below. He actually thinks math is fun *once* he figures out what he actually is supposed to do. I work hard to incorporate most of your tips. I communicate with the teacher often, LOL :)

  2. Hi,
    I like these points and strongly agree with the one about being positive. If a parent didn’t like maths, they were probably taught in an old fashioned style. However, it’s really, really bad to say “Don’t worry, I was never any good at maths”.

    Just one point: I don’t agree with praising the ‘neatness’ of the work. If you mean praising correct mathematical communication via good layout, then sure. Just being ‘neat’ is fairly unimportant IMO.
    Advanced Skills Teacher: Maths

    • Hi Dave,
      Yes, good maths layout is definitely more importants than “neat” work but I think sometimes it’s good to praise even the smallest thing as a stepping stone to encouraging other good math skills. Thanks for passing by!

  3. I almost always avoid resorting to commenting on neatness. There is inevitably something else worth praising that is in some way mathematical.

    I think that commenting on neatness detracts from the real focus of learning mathematical abilities. I don’t really see that praising neatness will improve anyone’s confidence in maths as a subject.

    The exception to this is if the work is presented in formal written up report style or poster format.


  4. Boy, I really agree on the parental comments in front of children. That attitude rubs off so quickly. They listen to everything parents may not want them to. Come visit me at when you get a minute.

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