Math Anxiety and How Parents can help Children overcome it

According Tobias and Weissbrod, Maths anxiety is defined as “the panic, helplessness, paralysis, and mental disorganisation that arises among people when they are required to solve a mathematical problem” and truth is  large population is victim to this anxiety.

People with math anxiety think that they are bad at math and they kind of start hating it. This hate and anxiety make them to avoid situations in which they have to do math. But research findings says that in reality brains of these people can process math, sometimes better than the best ones in class. When French mathematician Laurent Schwartz was in high school he suffered from Math anxiety, but later on he went on to win the Fields Medal, the highest award in mathematics.

So why does Math anxiety happen

Psychologists think that math anxiety decreases  a cognitive resource called working memory, the short-term memory system that helps a person to organize the information needed to complete a task. Worrying about being able to solve math problems, or failing in a test preoccupies the working memory so much that, it leaves little of working memory less of it available to tackle the math problem. Researchers says that people can at this stage even struggle with basic arithmetic skill like adding two small numbers.

Why some people experience Math anxiety

It’s all about the way Math is introduced to children. Sometimes it’s about how teachers are and how they introduce this subject. Also if parents talk about math as something challenging and difficult, children are going to get influenced by this. In several society knowing math is considered as being intelligent, and hence a person who do not perform well is treated as less smart. The fear of getting rated as less smart automatically puts pressure on students.

Symptoms of Math anxiety include:

math anxiety

1. Emotional symptoms: No confidence, Feeling helpless, Fear of going wrong

2. Physical symptoms: Increased heart beat, stomach grumbling, sweaty hands, shivering

3. Scared to try out Math sums

4. Not knowing how to go about with problems, even if it is very simple

5. Confused and always want to quit

6. Very stressed before and during exams

How parents can help to prevent Math anxiety:

Get your kids interested in Math through games

From early age get your child interested in number games. It could start with simple ludo, monopoly or even card games. Let them learn the concept of addition, subtraction through these games, rather learning it up from books straight.

You should be watchful not to share any negative experience of yours with Math

Your child is watching and learning from you, and hence if  you express negative feelings about math then it is going to directly impact the way child responds to math.

Practice with your Child

Math needs lots of practice. Doing math problems should not end with finishing home work, but engage kids by sharing with them life based problems. Give them sums and ask them to solve it mentally. Give them problem sheets and if needed sit with them and solve. Make math learning enjoyable.

Read about Fun Ways to Learn Math Facts

Help your child to combat negative thinking

Lack of confidence can be a major block for students with math anxiety.  To beat the negativity ask them to take up small math challenges and reward them with positive affirmations each time they crack the sum.

Help them with exam preparation

To prevent math exam from becoming a nightmare, it’s good to start preparations early on. Practice done over a period of a time in systematic method will prevent lass minute stress. Give them additional training by hiring a tutor.

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