Math Help: Talking Math with Your Children


From newborns to toddlers, children develop language and literacy through parents’ talking. It is by no surprise that parents often encourage language development by reading, pointing out words and pictures, and having their children repeat the words back. On the other hand, “talking math” does not seem as intuitive, and can sometimes be intimidating. 


Why Math Talk?

While it is true that math skills can be improved by solving math problems, early math talk is essential and has a huge impact on a child’s future math success. A study from the University of Chicago shows that children, who read bedtime stories involving math problems with their parents for a school year, saw a remarkable improvement in math scores compared to those who read stories without math. By the end of a school year, students who did bedtime math gained an equivalent of a 3-month advantage in math achievement over their peers on average. In fact, generating math talk with young children can spark an early interest in math, and decrease math anxiety.


Math Help: How to Talk Math?

To increase math talk with your child, you may incorporate the following fun math ideas in your daily interactions:


  1. Counting

One common method to increase math talk is by counting things throughout the day. Whether it is counting the number of cookies for snacks, the number of books to read, or the number of blocks in the tower, it helps children learn the meaning of numbers and their sequence.


  1. Talking about Time

Another way to make math fun is to talk about time. From talking about the time to eat breakfast, to how many hours until dad gets home from work, or how many days in a week, it helps children with their mathematical, cognitive and motor skills.


  1. Observing Shapes

Taking time to notice shapes and talking about sizes help children develop spatial relationships. Understanding space and structures at an early age helps children figure out how things can fit together, and what it means to double things in a practical way. This ultimately makes sense of the idea of multiplying by 2.


With a new school year underway, there are many exciting ways to encourage math learning. Subscribe to MathProject’s monthly newsletter below to get more math help and tips! For more information on MathProject’s specialized math program, contact us at 1-844-628-4243 to book a free assessment,

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