Few parents are qualified teachers or are maths geniuses, but think back and remember it was you, the parent, who helped your child to learn to speak and read simple story books.
You have one thing in common with most teachers; they are not generally maths geniuses either, although it seems to be expected of them!
You have one enormous advantage over the teacher. You don’t have a class of 25/30 children to teach. You have one more advantage. You are not trying to get your child to a standard where they have to sit a test where the results will reflect on your abilities.
Back to the question at the beginning. Can parents help their children with maths? In a word, YES. Remember you are helping with maths, not teaching maths. Teaching all the clever stuff about maths is the job of the teacher in the school environment. You the parent can take a little time and help your child fill in the gaps that they have in their number skills. Sometimes it only requires a small extra effort to reinforce something the child has been shown at school but doesn’t quite understand.
As an adult you know that if someone explains something to you and you don’t quite understand, you have the confidence to ask for a little further explanation. Most children don’t have this confidence and so they think it is their fault that they don’t understand. They assume that they are stupid for not getting it first time and so they enter a downward spiral where numbers and maths are something to be feared!
The problem most parents face is that the way they were taught is not necessarily the way that their child is being taught. If your child is struggling with their maths or numbers skills and when you try to help they tell you that you are “doing it all wrong” do not try to show them your way. This will only confuse them even more. Take the time to talk to their teacher and ask for a little clarification on the modern methods so that you can “do it the correct way”.
You the parent have a wonderful opportunity to dispel that fear by using some patience and giving a little quality time to talk over the problem with your child and in most cases it is something simple that when caught early does not become a major problem in the future.
Parenting is hard work! Asking a parent to be a teacher as well might sound like asking for a lot, but you are doing it all the time, think about it! Helping your child with their maths will take a little extra time and effort but it is not only something you CAN do it is something that will give you and your child a lot of pleasure when that “problem” suddenly disappears.