As parents we’ve all been there. Unless your child is naturally interested in maths, sometimes it can be a struggle to motivate them to find the joy of maths. Of particular importance are children who are learning primary maths concepts for the first time, as having a deep understanding of these basic concepts can set the foundations for future maths learning. Maths tutoring can of course help your child to work on maths problem solving, but to really create a spark and maintain an interest in maths I have found that dispelling myths about the abstract nature of maths and showing kids how maths relates to everyday life can really help.

A great way to get your kids interested in maths is to relate the maths back to what they are interested in. For example, if your child is really into bicycles, you can talk to them about the maths involved in building a bike, show them blue print plans of frames with all specifications and ratios shown and maybe even encourage them to design their own bicycle using the key concepts such as fractions for primary maths, geometry principles and division for primary maths. If they are into horses, explain how a vet uses maths, or if they are into computer games explain how computer programmers use a lot of maths to build the graphics and functionality.

Depending on the age of your child or student, it can also be a good idea to ask them what they would like to do when they grow up. One of my kids was reluctant to do extra maths tutoring and was not really interested in maths full stop. I asked him what he was thinking he might want to do when he grows up – he said he would like to be a mountain bike designer. I suggested that he write an email to his favourite mountain bike company and ask them if you need maths to be a bike designer. He did, and got a reply right away that went along the lines of “Yes, you need strong maths skills to get a job as a bike designer with us”. He is now much more willing to work on his primary maths tasks and even asked me to give him more maths problems to solve that are specifically related to becoming a bike designer! Luckily I have a lot of maths tutoring resources at hand that can help him in an engaging way.