Parents use football statistics and shopping trips to improve children’s maths, study shows

Some parents now use football statistics, road signs and shopping trips to improve their children’s maths skills, research has revealed.

A study of 1,000 parents and 1,000 children aged 6-14 found everyday experiences like counting money or certain coloured cars in traffic, as well as discussing sport, were among the most popular ways to engage children with numbers.

More than three quarters of parents (78 per cent) said these everyday scenarios are useful for motivating children to learn about maths, spelling and reading and geography.

While 69 per cent said sport in particular is helpful in helping their kids better understand maths.

The survey, commissioned by Santander UK, revealed more than half (59 per cent) of the UK’s mums and dads found this subject difficult when they were younger – leading to struggles with financial literacy later in life.

As a result, 79 per cent are using everyday experiences to help their children develop an interest in numbers.

Kids were found to be twice as likely to be excited or inspired by popular footballers over maths whizzes like Isaac Newton.  

More than three quarters (78 per cent) of 6-14-year olds said they enjoyed hearing about the numbers in a game such as how far a player has run and how much time is left in the match.

And half of the children questioned (49 per cent) enjoy talking to their parents and friends about the numbers in sports.

Just over four in 10 (42 per cent) of the children surveyed said they struggled with maths – with 80 per cent acknowledging the importance of the subject in later life.

More than half (52 per cent) of parents surveyed by OnePoll say the mental arithmetic required to follow sports like football and golf has made them more aware of numbers and stats in real life.

While 53 per cent felt the use of influential sporting figures and role models would have intellectually stimulated them during their own time at school.

Almost two thirds (62 per cent) would advocate using sport as a means of understanding maths better.

Another 86 per cent say they now believe being confident with numbers helps them manage their money better.

Nathan Bostock, CEO of Santander UK, said: “It’s great to see parents are using everyday activities as a way to boost school aged children’s confidence with numbers, particularly when it comes to everyday finances.”


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