Discussing Daylight Savings with a 4-year-old (via Bedtime Math)
Discussing Daylight Savings with a 4-year-old
For the past year, in addition to brushing teeth and reading books, my daughter's bedtime routine has included math! The last thing we do together each day is visit the Bedtime Math app, a free app designed to help families enjoy math together. Doing math with your kids from a young age is a strong predictor of school success, but many parents shy away from doing math with their kids because math makes them anxious. When we feel anxiety about something, we tend to avoid it entirely, but this is the wrong move when it comes to math!
Research has shown that using Bedtime Math at home at least once per week for a school year boosts kids' math skills and gives them a 3-month advantage over those who didn't use the app. Importantly, kids whose parents have the most math anxiety improved even more, half a school year's gain.
So, what does using the app look like in practice? Each day there is a new story, usually drawn from something cool on the internet or the news. The questions are divided into categories: Wee Ones, Little Kids, and Big Kids (with the occasional stumper thrown in called The Sky's the Limit). The Wee Ones questions (3-5 years) are just right for my 4-year-old, but she likes me to read and solve them all. I don't worry too much about her understanding everything I'm doing with those harder questions, but I try to talk aloud about how I'm getting my answer. We use our fingers a lot!
This video shows us solving a Big Kids problem together. I'm still not sure my daughter understands Daylight Savings, but it's a start. :)
In this video we are tackling a Little Kids problem. It can be tricky to figure out what to do about your child's wrong answers. One strategy I use is to repeat what she's done and get a confirmation about her answer. I try to remember to do the same thing when she gets it right, too.
One big lesson of the Bedtime Math research is that as parents, we can have a huge impact on our children's development. Just as we read to our kids, we also need to be doing math together (and not just homework help, which can stress everybody out). We need to be doing fun math in the same way we make reading stories fun!