Tutor Ocean Blog Post What To Do When Your Child is Struggling With Math

What To Do When Your Child is Struggling With Math

If there’s one subject almost guaranteed to frustrate and confuse children who don’t have a natural aptitude for it, it’s mathematics. Parents too can find this one of the hardest subjects to support for children who are struggling.

The consequences of failing in math can be significant. Considered one of the most vital and core subjects, math is an important part of higher education entrance qualifications. Math is considered foundational for many STEM careers including engineering, computer science, and roles within the financial sector. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that there will be a 33% growth in career opportunities for math graduates by 2028, surpassing all other fields.

Having difficulties in math can seriously knock a student’s confidence, cause frustration, and even lead to the child pulling away from academic achievement altogether. Here we present eight tips for how to prevent such problems from occurring, while supporting your child with an often-challenging subject.

Tip 1: Identify Your Child's Specific Math Challenges

Your child may be struggling with an aspect of math, rather than the whole subject. First identify what they’re having the most difficulty with, e.g. arithmetic, geometry, algebra. Once you have narrowed it down, you can identify what additional resources might help address their difficulties.
Unlocking the root of your child’s struggle may provide them with the confidence to work harder at understanding the subject in general.

Tip 2: Encourage a Growth Mindset

Developing a strong work ethic that includes the importance of effort and struggle, followed by reward, can be helpful with difficult topics. Math proves challenging for many since it relates to abstract concepts, many of which have few visual correlates in the real world (negative numbers, for instance).

However, once you show that struggling with these concepts can reap rewards, with real-world consequences, your child may develop the resolve to persevere.

Tip 3: Make Math Fun and Relevant

Further to this idea of demonstrating the value of math, is showing how math can be fun, and does have practical relevance in many spheres of experience. Fortunately, there are many online resources and books that take math out of the realm of the purely theoretical and show how vital it is to the world around us.

Tools like AI Tutor can make learning math more interactive. AI Tutor is a learning tool that creates personalized support for you based on the subject and level of education that child needs help with. With instant chat, practice tests, lesson plans, and reading material, AI Tutor is great way for your child to have fun while practicing math.

Tip 4: Seek Extra Math Support

As well as online resources and books, you may consider hiring an inspiring and empathetic math tutor if your child needs expert support. This takes the pressure of you having to painstakingly re-learn all the quadratic equations and geometry you’ve probably forgotten since leaving high school.

TutorOcean offers a marketplace of online tutors so you can find an expert to help your child crack those math problems and learn to love the subject.

Use TutorOcean to find a tutor for any subject and academic level
Use TutorOcean to find the tutor that is right for your child.

Tip 5: Practice Math Regularily

Becoming proficient in math is rather like developing your muscles or learning to play an instrument: practice makes perfect. Math is a systems-based subject, in which performing certain operations accurately and carefully will produce effective results. Practice, therefore, is crucial.

As well as your child’s coursework and homework, consider investing in math flashcards or additional learning materials. Don’t overburden your child with resources and homework, however; ensure these additional materials are fun and helpful.

Tip 6: Be Patient and Supporting

It can be frustrating for both child and student when, despite your combined best efforts, lessons aren’t sinking in. However, its especially important to remain calm and patient in such situations. Sometimes information takes time to bed in, particularly with challenging and non-intuitive subjects.

To help with this, make sure you’re working in a comfortable, warm, well-lit, and quiet environment where there are as few distractions as possible. If you are tempted to speak harshly to your child, count inwardly to ten, and rephrase any criticism.

Tip 7: Communicate with Teachers

When you feel the problem your child is having is intractable, consider involving teachers. Nobody benefits from silence when a student is struggling. Teachers won’t expect all students to grapple with math with ease, so they ought to be sympathetic to the difficulties you’re facing.

Rather than letting problems fester, send an enquiry email and set up a meeting to discuss your problems, without your child present. This will allow both parties to speak frankly and come up with a combined strategy to help your child progress. This might involve additional support in the form of one-to-one tutoring or more accessible online learning materials.

Tip 8: Celebrate Your Child's Progress

Remember to celebrate progress when it happens, even in small steps. This is particularly important when proficiency doesn’t come easily in a subject. As well as championing improved grades, make sure you celebrate good scores in homework, and even the solving of a particularly intractable math problem. All the above can help boost your child’s confidence and keep them determined to succeed.

You may wish to institute a system of small rewards for diligence and good performance, without necessarily making this explicit. A surprise reward can be as good a motivator as an expected one.

Math needn’t be an ordeal; make it a quest!


Reframing math struggles as challenges with rewards and long-term life benefits can help make the task of completing tests and homework more palatable. Finding new ways to support your child in this endeavour will reward both you and your family, whether it’s by hiring a specialist tutor, or finding fun real-world math examples.

TLDR: How can I help my child with math?

Math remains vital to the understanding of a host of topics that are in great demand among employers. Certain careers are impossible to pursue without a solid foundation in maths. However, basic tools such as arithmetic and geometry have real-world practical applications that benefit everyone.

You won’t be able to turn every child into a math enthusiast or prodigy. That said, with a little determination, it should be possible to deliver a level of basic proficiency to every child, immensely aiding their prospects

Use TutorOcean to find a tutor for any subject and academic level
Use TutorOcean to find the tutor that is right for your child.