Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Adding up the little things

Our dinnertime conversations have become quite formulaic: We talk about the events of our days and if we are close to a weekend, we share any upcoming plans. (If it is slow going, I will tell a fanciful story about my day that features a dragon just to see if anyone is paying attention.) Some nights this goes better than others. We ask a lot of specific questions about our son's day, but we find that he doesn't have a good recall for the mundane (questions like "what did you eat for lunch?" and "what games did you play outside?" usually prompt shrugs or no responses).

My husband and I try to include our son in the conversation around our days - he knows who our coworkers are and we try to explain concepts to him in simple terms. And it is when we are breaking down these simple concepts that we end up talking to him about math. This usually happens when I explain that mommy just got four new members on her team and we add them to the existing number or when daddy makes up a math problem to solve.

And this is what we are supposed to be doing: Talking about math at the dinner table. In this - albeit small - study, researchers found that talking about math at the table gave preschoolers a better grasp of concepts and that they did better with math academically. Two things I felt after reading this study:
  1. This seems like common sense. I would think that any topic that is reinforced at the dinner table would help a child's performance - from math, to vocabulary to science.
  2. There is an organization called Bedtime Math that has a daily math problem to challenge your child with, which I will be signing up for as soon as I am done writing this post.
All of this conversation around dinner table topics reminds me that I have these flashcards of conversation topics for children and adults. I should really leave those out at the dinner table. I can only talk about seeing dragons at work so many times.)

What are the hot topics for discussion around your dinner table? Leave your suggestions in the comments.

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