How can parents encourage their child to think “mathematically”?


In our global, technology-focused society, people need to think mathematically, which includes using simple calculation skills, logical thinking and the ability to come up with new ideas. But, what is mathematical thinking? In this article, we will explain mathematical thinking and introduce ways parents/teachers can help children acquire it.


What is mathematical thinking?

In elementary school, children learn “calculation skills”, “quantity sense” (how many, how few) and “graph processing skills”. “Mathematical ability”, which includes the above 3 skills plus “logical thinking” and “expressive ability”, has been gaining interest recently. These skills are required not only to calculate, but also to grasp and summarize information and come up with your own solution. The thinking process that helps us problem solve is called “mathematical thinking”.

The benefits of learning how to think mathematically

Children who learn how to think mathematically are more likely to enjoy and be motivated to study math. In addition, being able to think mathematically helps students acquire the ability to communicate their thoughts and ideas to others. Mathematical thinking also helps children figure out the causes of problems and choose the best solution based on the information available and their past experiences.

How can parents help their child think mathematically?

Many parents want their child to “think mathematically” but unsure what they should do to encourage it. However, it is possible to develop mathematical thinking skills by making small changes to your daily life.

Encourage them to explain their reasons in words

When your child asks you to do something, you can help them develop their mathematical thinking skills by having them explain their reason in words. This will help them figure out “why” and encourage them to find the solution to their problems.

Encourage them to think of alternatives

It is a good idea for parents to train their children to think of alternatives when they cannot get their first choice. Practicing looking at things from a different angle and thinking of alternatives will help broaden their mindset.

Encourage them to use diagrams and illustrations to convey their ideas

When communicating ideas to children, parents should ask them to draw a diagram or illustration to convey their ideas. Drawing diagrams help children organize their information and make it easier to come up with answers. Learning how to draw diagrams will be useful not only in math but also in daily life.

Give them a task and encourage them to complete it

Giving children tasks and gradually increasing the level of the tasks is an effective way to support their development of mathematical thinking. For example, when you ask a child to stack blocks and he succeeds, it is a good idea to ask them to stack them higher. Challenging them to figure out solutions through trial and error will help them learn how to search for answers on their own and develop persistence.

To support the development of mathematical thinking, it is important to let them think for themselves and experience expressing themselves in words and diagrams. Attending a preschool class is an effective way to give your child a foundation in mathematical thinking. During these programs they will be able to acquire mathematical thinking naturally through their daily experiences and self-expression.