Answering Families’ Questions About Math

Here are examples of questions that parents might ask during conversations with you about early mathematics. We offer ideas for how to respond, as well as suggested links for more information.

Questions About Early Math and School Preparation

Even infants notice number, shape, size, and other mathematical ideas! This article explains more about how math develops in young children. These short videos explain how young children learn about different math concepts like shape and addition and subtraction. 

Early math happens throughout the day, no paper and pencil needed. These short articles describe how young children talk and think about early math topics, such as counting and patterns, in their daily lives.

You can learn about the early math topics and what to do with your child to support their development of various math skills. These short blog posts have tips about how to start talking about early math. 

Questions About Positive Math Attitudes

Children develop attitudes about math by watching what their parents say and do. You can learn to enjoy math yourself when you discover that it’s fun, useful, and important! These articles can help you with strategies for modeling positive math attitudes. These blog posts show how you can incorporate math in fun ways using games or by playing cards

Point out the math in your daily routines and in the games you play. You can find a lot of ways to bring math into your daily conversations

Make an effort to engage in and talk about math with your children in a positive way. If you make a mistake while doing math, demonstrate a positive attitude toward correcting your mistake and problem-solving to find the correct answer.

Questions About How Children Develop Math Skills

Before they can talk, children listen, notice, and begin to understand what we say, what we show them, and how we explain things. These videos show some different ways to talk about math with young children and engage them in math activities. 

Knowing what math to try out helps parents learn what their child can do (and what their child is still learning). This short article explains what the mathematical expectations are for young children. You could also check your state’s Department of Education website to see if your state has published early childhood learning standards in mathematics.

If your child is doing math, you can point out what they’re doing to emphasize and reinforce the work. If your child is trying to solve a problem, you can help them figure out how to do it!