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As you prepare for Back To School season this year, don’t forget to flex your child’s math muscles before school starts. From simple tasks like telling time or counting money to more advanced practices, revving up your child’s math engine prior to the start of school can really help his or her overall academic achievement this year.

We know that summer vacation is a great way for students to decompress and relax, but too much fun in the sun and your student can quickly experience the summer slide or summer learning loss associated with extended periods without any focus on academic endeavors.

Over the summer, math concepts and skills can deteriorate with each passing week if effort isn’t put in to ensure your child’s math skills stay sharp. As we approach the coming school year, the time to address this is right now. With just a little effort this erosion can be mitigated, says Larry Martinek, Chief Instructional Officer at Mathnasium.

Importantly, working on math skills with young children is not only valuable – it can be fun.

“Math practice needn’t be drudgery. In fact, it can be a great everyday opportunity for bonding between young children and their parents. When you’re at a restaurant, give your 3rd or 4th grader the bill and ask him to calculate the change. Or, when you are heading to an appointment, tell your daughter when you need to be there and how long it takes, and let her figure out what time to leave,” Larry explains.

Below are 5 tips for sharpening up young children’s math skills. They were developed by Larry, who created the Mathnasium Method™ taught at all Mathnasium centers.

Math Tips for Parents

1. Change: Have your child calculate how much change you should receive when shopping at restaurants, retailers, and grocery stores.
2. Time: Ask your child to figure out when to leave for destinations by explaining what time you need to arrive and how long it takes to get there.
3. Fair Trades: Tell your child you have 6 quarters and ask how many dimes that equals.
4. Problem Solving: When your child is invited to a birthday party, ask how many months younger or older the friend is than your child. Ask how old your child will be when the friend is a certain age.
5. Splitting in Half: If a pound of candy costs \$6, ask your child how much ½ pound costs. If ½ pound is \$1.50, ask how much a whole pound costs.

The key to sharpening math skills, as with many other activities, is to use them, Larry says. By asking the types of questions above through the remainder of the summer, math will climb back to top of mind and the everyday nature of the questions will emphasize that math is an important and useful skill.

Mathnasium offers free booklets titled Math Tips for Students and Math Tips for Parents that are available at most Mathnasium franchise locations in the U.S.

Mathnasium Learning Centers, the nation’s leading math-only learning center franchise, specializes in teaching kids math in a way that makes sense to them. Students go to Mathnasium year-round to catch up, keep up, and get ahead in math. The proprietary Mathnasium Method™ is the result of 40+ years of hands-on instruction and research. Franchising since 2003, Mathnasium has become one of the fastest growing educational franchises, with a new center opening each week. There are more than 400 Mathnasium franchises in the U.S. and abroad.

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