Tuesday, 25 February 2020 United Kingdom

What's the Easy Way to Learn the Times Tables

It might seem like your child will never remember the times tables
easy way to learn times tablesIt does not seem fair; some children find learning the times tables so easy. They start at about  age of 7 and within a few months or the year they know them all up to 12!  Some children start even younger.  However, this is not the case for may children. These children struggle to remember basics and never seem to grasp the idea behind the times tables. This causes parents anxiety and leaves them feeling helpless.  This is not to say the child is not capable, it just means they need a longer time before they can remember all facts. How long they need - well, that just depends on the child.  How can we help a child that is struggling? The good news is all children with perseverance and a systematic approach they will learn the times tables but it may not be easy, but if will be painless! 
Start from an early age 
One thing to remember for the future, is that you should start when they are about 7 years old. Once a child is secure with adding and subtraction, can count in 2's, 3's, and 10's, counting backwards and forwards then I believe they are ready to tackle the times tables. From my experience, these children understand basic maths and can easily be taught the concept of row, columns and groups. Research has shown that 'giving children an early maths boost is significant because previous studies have shown that differences in mathematical ability between children in the first year at school persist into secondary education'.
Start by explaining rows and column
Even if your child has some understanding of the times tables facts you should still refresh the basics. Show them rows and columns using arrays  and explain to them how this works. There are plenty of videos onmultiplication arrays that can your child understand the basics. Arrays are a good starter to introducing children to the world of times tables and a good model for checking that they understand the concept of multiplication. The last thing you want your child to just memorise the facts without understanding the concept behind it.
                                               Here is a video on arrays.  

Always teach the multiples first
Always start with the multiples first (e.g. 3, 6, 9 , 12, 15). This ways the child understands that multiplication is basically adding on.
Use objects to help them
Arrays are an excellent way for a child to visualise what the times tables are.  Once you start using the arrays to model and visually see multiplication working, you can then also use objects to ....arrays so the child can see and move objects.
Use different resources to learn the times tables 
Remember there is not just one way to learn the times tables. Think about times tables worksheet,  number squares, songs, board games, printable games video games and books as a great way to learn the times tables. Board games such as snakes and ladders have been shown to increase the mathematical abilities of children. 
Parent and Child together 
Learn with your child. Play a game with them for - example times tables snap. Do not constantly test them. When my son was younger, we used to test each other. I only had a few seconds to answer 4 questions, and he had 'lots of seconds' seconds to answer one. Not surprisingly, he won most of the time. He enjoyed this. I obviously gave him an advantage, but learning should be about having fun and learning together. I sure did get quicker at recalling the times tables. Also, when we played times tables snap - I had to snap twice in a row before I could take up the two cards. There are plenty of  easy ways to help your child learn the times tables - just give them an advantage. 
Give them time - it could take years
I found that you just need to give children time. We often forget that they have so many things they are learning - maths, English, science and social skills. Sometimes it just takes time and constant practice before they master the multiplication tables. 
Give encouragement and praise
Make sure you are generous with your praise and encouragement. Many children seek  praise from their parents and if it is not forthcoming, they no longer want to try that activity. Give plenty of praise and explain to them that it will take time but a little and often will soon get them there. Make sure you smile and your praise is genuine. Children can see through false smiles. 

At the end of the day there are no easy ways to learn the times tables, but there are plenty of things you can do to make it more enjoyable and easier to understand. 

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