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4 Ways to instill an early love for math in your child

Julia Christensen is an experienced tutor and professional writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.

Make math fun for kids and develop a lifelong love of the subject

Math as a school subject has a bad reputation. It’s not uncommon to hear students say that they hate math, and many adults find it difficult to deal with. A dislike for math can have negative effects, from confusion with everyday activities, like banking, to fear or anger regarding more complex numbers, such as those relating to measurements or taxes. Wouldn't it be great if your student adored math from a young age? Check out these four tips to help her learn to love math.

Time it right

Help her associate math with something special. Add a bit of math to a fun part of your day, like dessert time, television time or car rides. For example, if you'd like to relate it to a food-centered moment, try having the family play fast-answer math games, like seeing who can recite the hardest time-table without a mistake, to decide who gets first pick. When watching television, ask her to subtract one channel number from another. In the car, see which passengers can add up license plate numbers the fastest. Short, competitive games add a bit of playfulness to simple arithmetic and often incorporate multiple players.

Computer or phone games

Math and technology go hand-in-hand, so why not connect the two for your digital-crazed student? You can try a classic game like Number Munchers. Like many early, educational games, this 1980s classic can be found online. Find new games for your touchscreen device. Topics can be simple addition or complex test-prep math problems on a timer — all presented in a game-like fashion that keeps learning entertaining!

Number-focused board or card games

Math games don't end on the screen. For very young children, playing Go Fish with a deck of standard playing cards can help grow familiarity with numbers. Many board games have players roll then move, which adds an extra opportunity for counting practice as she moves the correct number of spaces each turn. Older children can include subtraction and higher counting by playing the banker in money-focused board games like Monopoly.

Homework support

Like any subject, math gets a bad reputation when your student feels overwhelmed or confused. Be there to support her during homework obstacles, and help her find outside assistance if needed. Even if you don't know how to work through one of her questions, you can try looking online for free resources — such as videos, lessons or example problems — or seek the help of experts, such as tutors. Keep her from sinking when she's young and encourage excitement for math.

For more tips and strategies to help your student succeed in school, visit

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