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Making Maths Fun

"It used to feel like the numbers were scrambled on the page" - Louise, Age 7

To find out why my children were struggling with maths, I had to go right back to basics

  • My kids had passion for many things – maths wasn’t one of them
  • So, when your child is interested in something, what fires their imagination about it and gets them engaged?
  • It’s amazing how much information a child can absorb on something they love and how they use what they’ve learned
  • For parents and teachers alike, problems start when your child no inherent interest in maths.
  • “Mind Over Maths” is suitable for children of all ages.

Dinosaurs – that’s what my little boy got obsessed with from the age of 2

I know I’m not alone here! Cars, dolls, animals, dinosaurs – staple fascinations of many very young children. When the bug bites them, it takes over their lives. And yours too probably!

When my son was in love with everything dinosaur-related, everybody noticed. He had a little ankylosaurus she’d take with her to the park or to nursery.

On Netflix, he spotted the old BBC shows “Walking With Dinosaurs” and “Planet Dinosaur” when I was flicking through looking for something to watch for later. Well, as soon as he saw those programs, he wanted to watch them every day.

I’m sure that, in the way I eventually knew every scene in every single one of these programs, there have been things your boy or girl has been obsessed about that you briefly became a world expert in!

For those of you who have lived through a similar dinosaur phase, I’m sure you can recognise these ones below… (answers at the bottom of the page if too much time has passed!)

Cars, dolls, animals, dinosaurs – how a child’s passion for learning develops

Whatever the fixation, it can become all-consuming – sometimes to the exclusion of almost anything else.

Your child becomes a sponge of information. They want to know everything they possible can about it. It feels like they can never become over-exposed by their obsession.

And then they want to bring you into their world…

How their deep interest in something influences your child and their behaviour

As time goes by, their collection of toys and books about their favourite subject will continue to grow. When you get home from work or you pick them up for nursery, your boy or girl may be role-playing – inventing interactive play scenes in their minds and acting them out with their toys.

When they bring a book over for you to read, they sit there and flit between being all ears and paying maximum attention to getting really excited. You can see it in their eyes and you can see it in their smiles.

And the more you play with them, and the more you read about it, the more engrossed and knowledgeable they become. Their obsession, their passion, is an exciting world into which they can escape and into which they can invite you and their peers. In fact, the more you go with them into their world, the more time they want to spend with you.

It’s a virtuous circle – you build a closer bond with your child and you can see their knowledge about their passion and their confidence in it develop. For me, and I’m sure for you, these were truly magical times as a parent (if occasionally a little repetitive!)

Interests in Primary School

Interests in Secondary School

Of course, they don’t stay 2 years old and their interests change. But they still have interests.

With my boy, it was football. His love for the game developed when he was seven. He stuck at it and got himself picked for the school team. As a matchday approaches, he gets excited and he can’t wait to run out on the pitch.

To my boy, it’s important his Dad is there. His teacher is a bit of a hero figure to him as well. For my son, it means the world to him that we’re both there, cheering him on and encouraging him all the time.

No one, including your child, can be expected to be interested in everything. Particularly if it’s presented in a way that doesn’t match the way they like to learn, understand and remember. And if they don’t feel they’re getting the help they need, that can have a lot of negative consequences.

Something knocked both my children’s confidence in a maths lesson.

What happened to make them feel bad about maths, I’m not sure. It must have been something similar as they both starting to slip in the subject around the same time. Whatever is was, it affected both of their confidence levels not just in maths, but in themselves. If you’re 9, you’re lacking a bit of confidence and it feels no one is there to help you out, it’s a tough place.

Were they dyslexic? Were they dyscalculic? Were they being bullied? These are things as parents we worry about. Both my wife and I were determined to find out what the underlying reasons for both children were, and then, we would try our best to put it right.

Want to order Mind Over Maths from £9.99?
Mind Over Math is available for Parents and for Schools and
is recommended for children from 5 years plus.
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