How to Teach Math to the Child Who Hates Math

October 12, 2020

Jeannette Tuionetoa

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Shred those math worksheets. Well, don’t shred them, I am kidding. It did sound gutsy though. Keep the worksheets if you like, but if your kids are struggling with math, you may want to sprinkle in these engaging resources to help them enjoy math.

How to Teach Math to the Child Who Hates Math text with image of a kid holding his face in frustration


Chances are, if you are not a fan of math, then your child won’t be either. Unless they are an anomaly, of course, or their other parent loves math as well.

I am not saying that math is the hardest subject for kids or that it is the hardest to teach (although some may say it is), what I am saying is that teaching it can be challenging.

Most of the challenge starts even before we pick up a math book – before the tears, before the tantrums.

We ask ourselves how will we teach it? What math curriculum will we use? What resources can I use? Where do I start? What if we just can’t teach it or they can’t learn it well?

We have discouraged ourselves before we have even started, and guess what? Our kids can feel that. They know you are stressed.

So, we have to keep that in mind before we begin the school year. We also should keep that in mind if our kids start showing the signs of hating math or getting very fussy at the thought of it.

Our approach means a lot. That is why we should be intentional about the approach we use.

My number one recommendation on the list of  how to teach math to the child who hates math is…

1) Change your attitude.

Embrace having to teach math and find ways to make it a better experience. It’s easier said than done, but boy is it is nice just to print some worksheets and plop them in front of your child. Getting them to NOT hate math this way will not work.

Here are a few more tips on how to teach math to the child who hates math:

2) Don’t be afraid of starting fresh.

Sometimes we rush through subjects, at times we think our kids get it and don’t or kids forget the basics.

Begin anew if you have to. If your child is having difficulty with division, make sure something isn’t missing in multiplication or subtraction.

You are the principal, you make the rules. Go back if you have to, reteach, review, and keep it moving forward. You will not regret it.

3) Use what they like.

Think of things that you can use to make relevant to kids. You can use examples they will be interested in. Do they love sports, dance, or reading? Use these all to your advantage and give them examples and in ways to engage them in your teaching.

4)  Make math apply to real life and make it useful.

Even adults know that when we learn things we would like it to apply to real-life situations.

Adding just to add is a boring math lesson. Adding the price of groceries is a life skill they will use always.

Doing a monthly count of their piggy bank can give them a goal to set or an amount to look forward to.

5) Make it FUN!

You know we don’t have to entertain our kids when doing math. We understand how draining it can be to try to make math cool or try to make it EXCITING.

There are simple ways to make math fun with games, activities, STEM challenges that will keep kids engaged, and yes, having fun with math.

Here are some FREE resources that can help.

18 Top YouTube Math Channels for Kids

Kids floating with a laptop and text 18 Top YouTube Math Channels for Kids

25 Math Activities for Kids Who Hate Math | KidsActivitiesBlog

The Best MATH PROGRAM for Kids {and Moms} Who HATE MATH | the WOLFe Pack

How to Use Multiplication Songs to Memorize Times | Hess Un-Academy

Learning about Shapes Math Activity | 123Homeschool4Me

Creative Math Activities and Games For Kids | What Do We Do All Day

250+ FREE Math Games and Activities | 123Homeschool4Me

21 Math Art Projects for Kids | What We Do All Day

Outdoor Math Games for Kids | Coffee Cups and Crayons

13 Art and Math Projects for Kids | Art Class Curator

Hands-on Math Activities  | Creekside Learning

Tips for Teaching with Math Games | Laura Candler

When I started homeschooling, I really had a difficult time with my son. It was like I had to start everything from ground zero. Math was the hardest.

I am not good at math and it showed. It was hard for me to teach and that made it harder for him to learn.

So, set goals for your student, provide lots of practice and keep it hands-on a lot of the time.

How to Teach Math to the Child Who Hates Math text with image of a kid holding his face in frustration

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