Howbury School Lagos

Curbing Math Anxiety in children


Transitioning from basic to more critical thinking activities is of the utmost in a child’s learning journey. One of the subjects that require putting pupils’ analytical and critical skills to test is obviously math. Unfortunately, a lot of children struggle with math-related stress.

Math anxiety impacts students as early as in primary one by affecting their working memory. This can lead students with math anxiety to be as much as half a school year behind their peers in math. Even for students who don’t struggle with math anxiety, it’s important to develop positive study habits that will help them as math becomes more complex.

According to Oxford learning, math anxiety is caused by:

The pressure caused by time limits on tests

The deadlines that timed tests impose on students.

The fear of public embarrassment in front of others.

Influence of teachers

Symptoms of Math Anxiety

1.Unusual nervousness when doing or thinking about math

2.Passive behaviour

3.A feeling of being alone

4. A feeling of permanency

5. Lack of confidence

6. Panic during tests or when called on to answer questions



Studies prove that parents may unknowingly pass math anxiety to their kids, negatively impacting their children’s achievements in math. Parents with math anxiety should realize that their disposition towards the subject could be passed on to their children likewise, hence a need for some big paradigm shift.

Rick Bavaria of Sylvan learning listed these as tips to reduce math anxiety:

1. Believe you can do it

2. Find a “study buddy” 

3. Get some extra help

4. Have a math mentor or role model. 

5. Participate in math class.

 6. Do positive self-talk. 

7. Notice how you use math in everyday life. 

 8. Recognize your math growth. 

9. Recognize your growing confidence. 

 10. Celebrate your successes. 


Beth Werrell of Connections Academy lists these strategies to help parents adjust their mental standpoint in math:

1.Choose a growth mind-set.

2. Recognize mistakes as part of learning. 

3. Consider more than one approach. 

4. Let your kids see you do your “homework.”

5. Watch your words! 

Any time you say, “I’m so bad at math,” “I hated math class,” or “Math is so hard!”, you can have a negative effect on your child’s attitude—and achievement. Try (as hard as it may be especially for parents with a low math inclination) to create positive emotions by making math fun. One way to do this is to connect math to the child’s interests. For example, if the student likes sports, use sport-related discourses or activities to pull them in.








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