How can I help build my child’s numeracy?

Find out about your important role in fostering your child’s numeracy learning and explore ideas and resources to help you

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How can I help build my child’s numeracy?

As parents you play a significant role in your child’s learning by setting expectations, nurturing curiosity, and encouraging a love of learning. You can help build your child’s numeracy through doing the following:

  • be positive about their numeracy experiences and praise effort and perseverance
  • let your child know that everyone can be successful
  • seize everyday opportunities to capitalise on numeracy development
  • involve your child in numeracy-related activities
  • describe what you are doing in situations that involve numeracy
  • explain why you make certain numeracy choices
  • explore numeracy with your child
  • learn alongside your child and encourage a sharing of numeracy ideas and thoughts.

In the video below we hear from Julieann, a parent of three young children aged 2, 4 and 6. She shares opportunities in everyday activities to build her children’s numeracy.

In the video below, we observe Jackson and Bonnie explore:

  • patterns
  • number concepts
  • measurement through bead play

Helping children to become numerate does not need a high level of mathematics. It means:

  • encouraging children to try, then keep trying
  • encouraging children to think (reason)
  • supporting children while they do homework (which means encouraging them and taking an interest, but not doing the thinking for them)
  • modelling numeracy with children (including interpreting data, charts and diagrams)
  • talking aloud when solving problems (every day or mathematical)
  • getting children to check their answers (Does this answer make sense?)
  • encouraging children to help with
    • cooking (especially measuring out ingredients)
    • paying bills
    • scheduling events in the day
    • reading maps and giving directions
    • shopping
    • measuring –– and thanking them for their support
  • do not say “Maths is hard” or “I was never good at maths”. Numeracy capability is not inherited but attitudes are contagious.

‘What do you already know about this problem? How might you work it out? Have you seen a problem like that before? Tell me a little more about your thinking.

To focus on your child’s problem-solving approaches and their reasoning:

  • Ask questions and give instructions like
    • “What do you already know about this problem/question?”
    • “How might you work it out?”
    • “Explain why you think that is the answer?”
  • Do not focus only on the correct response, the process/approach is important
  • Allow your child to experience some confusion. It is an essential aspect of the learning process.