AThe further your child gets into learning maths, the more time they will spend time being stuck as the problems just get harder. We don’t want to see them struggle, but it is something we cannot prevent. Many parents are tempted to help out, but that’s not always the best thing to do.
In fact, it can be counterintuitive since you don’t want them to be too dependent. On the other hand, being stuck in maths is just part of the process, so you must guide them towards the process because this will help them develop strategies for getting unstuck themselves.
Talk about the question but never give away the answer
The most effective way to get unstuck is to let your child explain the problem. In fact, explaining a problem will help them organise their thoughts. Also, you need to know what’s holding them up and what they have already tried, and why it didn’t work. This is often the only way to crack the problem wide open.
As a parent, you should ask your child questions that will force them to think analytically and look at the question differently. A qualified Maths tutor can be very helpful with this particular strategy.
Ask them what they know
Asking your child what they know will help them clarify what bits of the answer they know, so you can determine where the gaps are. So, it’s best to ask them to write everything on a piece of paper and let them turn the problem into a picture or diagram.
You may also require them to break the question into parts that they recognise, because this will help them make links between different parts of their learning. You can also ask them why this is different from the last question or problem you did. This will encourage them to try similar methods and see where they fell short.
Asking them about symbols and words
It is also a great idea to ask them about words and symbols because this can start a conversation about the question. Since maths uses various symbols, your child must know their purpose and their uses.
Overall, helping your child get unstuck in maths without giving away the answer is a good habit to get into. This habit will also help them become more independent because, at some point in their school career, they will need to answer difficult mathematical problems that even you don’t know the answer yourself.
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