Photo courtesy of Crowbeak.Sasquatch

When you’re balancing work and home and all sorts of other responsibilities, it can be downright overwhelming to consider doing everyday math with them, so they can perform well in school. That’s why I invited author Erin Flynn Jay to guest post on this very topic. Her recently published book,  Mastering the Mommy Tracktackles many of the questions all of us working parents have, and today she addresses math.

How do your kids do with their math homework? Is it a struggle to get them to concentrate, or do they have a good handle on calculations?

I grew up watching my mother tutor grammar school kids in math at our home. She was also a substitute math teacher at our local schools when I was in grammar school and high school. Because I am not a math whiz, I asked for her viewpoint on this blog post (she read this and offered a critique).

Kids need examples, which will allow them to understand numbers better.

– Beginning when they are toddlers, help them count their snack food like Cheerios or Goldfish from one to ten. It’s wise to get them counting at the earliest age possible.

– When you take your kids grocery shopping, explain to them what your purchases cost. If they are learning how to add numbers in school, ask them for a total. You could ask them, “Okay we have this corn which is \$2, chicken for \$8 and lemonade for \$2. How much money do I need? What is 2 plus 8 plus 2?”

– Give your kids a weekly or monthly allowance depending on your budget. Take them to the pizza place or movie theater and ask them to pay for their purchase themselves. This way, they can understand the value of a dollar or 50 cents more easily. They can get change back and will get a better grasp of what their favorite items actually cost.

– Finally, teach them how to measure their TV shows in 30 minute intervals. For example, you could say, “Alright, you can watch your show for 15 minutes before bedtime.” When the time is up, let them know 15 minutes has passed and it’s time to pack it in.

One final suggestion is to check with your local librarian or bookstore–get recommendations for age appropriate math books. Read them one math book per night.

When your kids sit down to do their math homework, they will perform better if you have introduced basic math concepts at the preschool age. Repetition will reap results.

Erin Flynn Jay is a writer and publicity expert, with articles appearing in a diverse list of publications, including careerbuilder.com, MSN Careers and Wealth Managers. Order her book Mastering the Mommy Track at Amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com

Here at Math for Grownups, you’ve gotten a lot of ideas on how to sneak math into your kids’ everyday lives — from reading time to when you’re on the road. What suggestions have you tried? How have they worked out? I’d love to hear about your successes (and yes, failures)!