Eight million British adults have the numeracy skills of a nine-year-old, according to Full Fact. As a result of their poor mathematical skills, 55% of parents say that they’re unable to answer their kids’ sample GCSE maths questions. The Telegraph reports that this lack of support is causing children to turn their backs on science, technology, engineering and maths, also known as STEM subjects. However, having adequate numeracy skills is essential for encouraging good spending and saving habits. So, as a parent, you should do all you can to bolster your child’s numeracy level.

Maths enhances multiple skills

Maths is about so much more than numbers; it supports the development of a child’s problem-solving and spatial awareness skills. It also helps kids to understand shapes, patterns, and measurements. Yet, 18% of adults say they avoid maths altogether and 60% confess to not being able to help their children with maths. But, the concern here is that when parents actively avoid the subject, so do their children. It’s, therefore, advisable to get your numeracy skills up to scratch by enrolling in an evening class or using online resources. By doing this, it won’t be long before you feel confident enough to tackle your child’s maths puzzles together. 

It can be fun

50% of children claim that maths is boring or too hard. However, when numeracy is taught in an engaging way, it needn’t be either of these things. Research has found that using finger-training alongside counting games helps children to perform better. To encourage this, you could make a game out of flash cards as this will persuade your child to use their fingers to count. Younger children can get involved in similar finger counting games, too. Set up a pretend shop, complete with play money and get them to purchase and pay for the toys and games you’ve got scattered around your home.

Setting kids up for life

One of the biggest benefits of having solid numeracy skills is for financial planning. The Money Advice Service has highlighted a link between good numeracy skills and being able to manage everyday financial decisions. So, using common scenarios to increase your child’s maths skills is wise. Good examples include getting your child to calculate and hand over the cash for your shopping, asking them to work out how long you need to wait for the next bus, and getting them to measure out the ingredients for dinner.

Maths plays a critical role in life. And, whether you love it or hate it, you need to embrace it for your child’s sake. Therefore, now is the time to sign up to numeracy classes, to introduce numerical games at home, and to turn everyday scenarios into a mathematical learning curve.

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Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.

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