How to Help Your Child Solve Math Word Problems

child doing homework with headphones

Solving math word problems involves skills in analysis, reading and mathematics. This causes some children to struggle, even if their individual skills are up to par. When word problems are first introduced, children don’t always understand the path from a phrase like “two trains are leaving different stations” to a numerical answer. Here are some ways you can help your child digest and solve these problems. 

Highlight Key Parts

Math word problems throw children off by adding fluff to the actual equation. However annoying this may be, it does give children a more realistic view on how math problems work in real life. With these problems, have your child highlight the words and numbers that relate to the question being asked. This will help them hone in on the problem they need to solve.

hand doing math homework

Answer the Question

This may seem as obvious as “solve the problem,” but at first glance, a child may find it difficult to understand what a word problem is saying. If your child can rephrase the question in the form of a statement, they’ll have a firm grasp of the question they’re answering. This is an important step in solving a word problem. 

Write Out the Equation

Now that your child knows what equation needs to be solved, they should write it out. When they show their work, they’ll be able to catch possible errors. It will also remind them that they’re solving a simple math problem. Seeing the problem without the words in the way makes it easier to solve.

child holding up fingers above chalkboard

Read, Reread, Proofread

The biggest error children make with math word problems is rushing through them to get to the next task. If your child reads over the question twice before attempting to solve the problem, then looks over it again after, they’ll have a better chance of catching any mistakes. It will also help them build confidence in their ability to solve these seemingly  complex problems.

Math word problems often trip children up, but you can make the problems easier to solve. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.