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Talking about maths with children

As a parent or carer, you give your child their first taste of maths. Even as they get older, you have a big impact on how their feelings towards maths develop. But you don’t need to be a maths expert to support your child. All families can make a difference to their children’s maths learning and help them build their confidence with numbers.

Top tips:

  • Talk positively about maths. Children learn from example, so avoid saying things like “I can’t do maths” or “I hated maths at school.” It’s easy for children to take that on board themselves. Keeping things positive is more likely to help children develop confidence with maths.
  • Point out the maths in everyday life. Maths is all around us – it’s not just something that happens in school! Showing children the numbers in things like cooking, using money and travelling is a simple way to bring maths to life. This will help children see the value of learning maths.
  • Praise children for effort rather than talent. Giving children praise is important, but the type of praise we use can have an impact on how they feel about maths. Praising children for the hard work they’ve put in, or for working out the steps to get to an answer, is more helpful than simply telling them they’re clever. It helps them see that it’s not about natural ability – but that by working hard they can always improve.

Additional resources

Visit these other resources to help you when talking to children about maths.

Advice from Cbeebies

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Maths on Toast

5 top tips from Maths on Toast about creating positive maths experiences at home.


Parent Channel

In this short video, parents, children and teachers share simple everyday maths activities that families can do with their children.


Family Maths Toolkit

The Family Maths Toolkit resources help families enjoy maths together. 

You can now access our 200+ resources for free. Just fill in the form and we'll send to a link.  

The resources include parent information sheets that go into more detail about how you can help your children with their maths in the way you communicate.