# Math is a PROCESS

## It's not just finding the right answer!

Making mistakes and trying to figure things out is part of doing math: This is how kids learn problem solving and how to really do math. How you respond when your kid makes an error can send the message that math is a process and that success comes from effort.

## How to make math a **PROCESS**

### Be a **Cheerleader**

Acknowledge their effort:

“I like that you’re thinking really hard about this!”

Point out what your child is doing that is a step in the right direction:

“You’re right that if we’re adding these numbers together, the answer is going to be a larger number.”

Let your child know that you believe she is capable of figuring it out:

“That’s not the right answer, but I know you can figure it out.”

### Normalize Mistakes

Make sure your child knows that making mistakes means that they are doing math well:

“It’s okay that you didn’t get the right answer yet,

because now you know why that isn’t the best way

to figure it out!”

### Pause...and Allow Some **Struggle**

If your child doesn’t get the right answer, or even the right strategy to *find* the answer, give them a moment to figure it out before offering assistance. This lets them know *it’s okay to not get it right away*.

Parents often find it tough to watch their kids struggle, so if you are tempted to jump in with the right answer, try this:

- Count to five to give your child a little extra time
- If he still needs help, just give hints at first and see if then he can figure it out
- Take a break if he needs it, and come back to it later

### Emphasize **Effort** Leading to Success

When your child does get the right answer, reflect on the process it took to get there:

“Look at that! You kept trying, and you figured it out!”

### Don't Stop at the Right Answer

Even if your child find the answer easily, you can still encourage her to make it a more effortful process.

**Ask her how she figured out the answer, or explore it further:**

“I wonder if there’s another way we could figure it out.”

“What if we had five pieces instead of four? Then how would we split them in half?”