There are many reasons why kids struggle with math. Math anxiety is one factor that we often write about but another major reason that kids battle is memory. When your child’s working memory is being overloaded for storing basic numerical facts, then there is little space left for other endeavours. It’s hard to understand more complex equations when their foundation is wobbly.
Everyone’s brain has different memory capabilities but if you want to improve your child’s memory for math, here are some tips that we can recommend.
- Remove Obstacles from Focusing In Class
If you know your child struggles with their memory then try to make sure that nothing is in their way during a math lesson. For example, taking notes aids memory but if your child cannot keep up with note taking because they do not write fast enough then encourage them to record the lessons on a tape recorder or other device, just to take the pressure off. Depending on school policy, try and see if they can use a calculator for basic sums during lessons. That way they will not be using their mind’s energy on basic numeracy and will be able to focus on the concepts that are being explained to them.
- Play Games
Here at Matific we always talk about how games are good for math. The nice thing about games is that children are absorbing mathematical ideas without overtaxing themselves. So if they understand some of the financial principles in Monopoly, they may be able to grasp percentages or fractions a little better than before taking pressure away from that overloaded brain of theirs.
- Utilize Their Senses
If your child struggles in class, one way forward could be to chat to the teacher about recording their solutions to problems on video. After the material is recorded your child should break up the data at home and try to visually map or draw out the problem in their own time. A visual representation of a problem could perhaps be used to supplement their verbal or spatial working memory.
Learning through repetition is known to achieve some of the best results. You don’t have to force your child to memorize their times tables but if you have an alternative way of providing a lesson for them on a topic they have covered, such as an app or through YouTube or even just by using a different textbook to the one prescribed you may improve their ability to comprehend math a little better.
It’s hard to find the right balance between putting too much pressure on your child to learn and giving them the confidence to do better in math. But hopefully some of these tips will make basic numeracy become second nature. If there are any teachers reading this, we would love some memory boosting tips – especially in time for summer vacation.
Sources: Learning Works For Kids
Marina Gomer is a journalist and mother of two. She lives with her family in Sydney, Australia.