How to build your child's maths confidence

publication date: Nov 14, 2019
author/source: Charlotte Gater

cookingMaths, whether we love it or hate it, is a fundamental part of everyday life. It’s a global language. It underpins many essential life skills and yet can also be the key to many of life’s biggest questions. For something so indispensable we should seek to master it, but more importantly have fun with it – from an early age. I believe that maths can and should be enjoyed by anyone and everyone!   

Improving confidence in maths is the main reason that children attend Explore Learning. Many children that I have met over the years first start out by looking at a sum or approaching a maths problem and very quickly say "I can’t do it". I always say in response "You can’t do it YET" and we slowly break down the problem until we have a "light bulb" moment.

Those moments of realisation, where something falls into place; where the answer to the problem suddenly becomes clear are so exciting. The magic that a child feels at that moment is incredibly powerful and it’s contagious. We just need to support them to get through the "brain ache" to get to that point. 

  • Play Games – There are so many games that you can play with your kids to improve logical thinking like chess and draughts. Maths-related board games like Monopoly are also great fun and are a good way to spend some quality time together. This is even better with Christmas coming up when we’ll all be inside thinking of ways to entertain ourselves other than watching endless TV.
  • Mix Shopping with Learning – When you’re on your weekly shop, get the children involved by asking them to recite the prices and add up what’s in the trolley. You can also reward them with treats when you get to the checkout.
  • Bake and Read – Maths comes in very handy in the kitchen and you can turn baking cakes and cookies into an education game. Test their maths skills by asking them to add up or adapt a recipe for different amounts of serving. The great thing they’ll love about this is, they get to eat the results at the end.
  • Don’t Pass On Insecurities – Many parents proudly claim how bad they are at maths – STOP. Even if it’s true that could be better, don’t shout about it. By saying how much you dislike maths you are passing this negativity down to your child who will see that it’s acceptable to not be great at maths. Encourage them that it’s fun and if they’re good at it they should be proud.

Too often the children I meet see maths about getting to the answer as quickly as possible and if it’s not immediately apparent switching off. We need to encourage our children to enjoy the journey of discovery. Making mistakes is an essential part of learning; especially in maths. Encourage your children to give it a go and if it doesn’t work - try, try again.  


Explore Learning is an award-winning English and maths tuition company with 144 centres located all over the country.  Over 35,000 children aged four to 14 attend their centres each week and, over the course of the last 18 years, have helped over 250,000 children. Explore Learning’s aim is to help every child reach their full potential and get the best results they can, developing a generation of fearless learners.