Before our young ones run off to school or even before we begin formally teaching them at home, we all want to give them a head start.  Specifically, preparing our kids for math is something we all want to do. One very easy way to do this is by changing the way we word a few common interactions. 

What do you mean?

For example, nearly every mother in the world has given her infant one Cheerio at a time.  Usually when this happens she will something similar to, “Here is another one.”  This situation is good, but it could be better.

In order to prepare your little one for math, try this: place two Cheerios (or whatever else you are using) in front of your infant.  Spread them out so they aren’t too close.  When you put down the first one say, “Here is one Cheerio.”  As you place the second one say, “I have added one.  Now you have two Cheerios.”

By wording the interaction this way, you are introducing the concepts of counting and addition to your child.  He will hear numbers (“one”, “two”) and be introduced to his first mathematical concept; addition (“added”).

Will it work?

Of course, it takes time for children to fully grasp a concept.  They need to see it and hear it several times.  However, by counting instead of just saying “another one” your child will begin to understand that greater quantities are given different words to describe their value.  Also, when the time comes to begin learning addition he will have a basic understanding of what it means to “add.” It seems simple, but this prepares kids for math easier than many other methods.

Use this concept to introduce subtraction.  Say, “I have subtracted one.  Now there is one.”  Then you take away a Cheerio and your child starts to form a new understanding.

It’s easy!

Anyone can do this.  Even the mom or dad who has to work all day.  Do it in the morning or evening.  When your young child doesn’t seem to be paying attention to what you are saying as you add and subtract Cheerios don’t become discouraged!  His little mind is absorbing everything like a sponge.  In a few short years others will be impressed with the fact that, “math comes so easy to him.”  But you will know that you gave him the foundation needed to comprehend basic math skills.

Image by Aline Ponce from Pixabay

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