The myth — why you aren’t actually bad at maths

3 min

Have you ever joked that as a family, you’re just hopeless at maths? It’s an easy comment to make at dinners and parties, but what kind of a message does it send to your kid? The fact is that you’re almost certainly capable of more than you think, and that’s good news for both parents and children.

We’re all different in many ways and how we learn maths is no exception. But when we’re at school, we still need to stick to the curriculum. The challenge with maths is that it is often pretty clear-cut where an answer is correct or simply wrong. So when we hear that we’re bad at maths, we often find it easier to ignore the problem than to tackle it head on. But if we start resigning ourselves to the idea that we’re just bad at maths, then this ends up becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

A simple comment can have huge consequences

Research into maths anxiety in Canada has shown that kids who think they’re bad at maths often perform worse. Kids who begin tackling a maths problem while they have this inner monologue going on inside their heads telling them they’re no good, then they often give up. So a simple comment about not getting maths can actually have long-lasting consequences, even if it was only ever a small part that the child was struggling with.

Researchers at Barnard College in New York also believe that people in the West have a tendency to take maths problems lightly. It is socially acceptable to be bad at maths and something we often joke about or make light of. But hardly anyone looks at reading and writing difficulties in the same way.

Take help from games and play

So what can you do at home as a parent if you know that maths isn’t your strong suit, but at the same time, you want to avoid passing this on to your child? One way is to make maths a part of your everyday life at home. Some research shows that playing a maths game together with your kids can help children to perform better at school. It will also benefit you as a parent to solve maths problems together with your kid as it boosts your own self-confidence and reduces the likelihood that you’ll make jokey comments about your shoddy maths skills. You can even try using Albert yourself!

Set your own rules and challenge each other in the app. Perhaps your kid might just be the family’s new maths whizz?

Get started today!