Top Tips for Teaching A Child Multiplication

Top Tips for Teaching A Child Multiplication

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The leap from learning addition and subtraction to multiplication and division is a daunting task for young students and tutors. The biggest challenge is that students have a shorter time to learn the latter than the former. Tutors have a hard time developing strategies to ease the burden of learning multiplication. The century-old technique of coercing children to memorize the times table is intimidating and ineffective. Here are a few tips for teaching multiplication.

Basics First

It is essential that the child masters the basics before attempting multiplication. Avoid starting with memorization because it can lead to the fear of the multiplication table. The simplest means is to relate multiplication to addition — an operation that the student should already be comfortable with.

Your child should know that multiplication is repeated addition. For example:


2 x 2 is similar to 2 + 2


3 x 3 is similar to 3 + 3+ 3


Start with Zeros and Ones

Your students should already be aware that adding a zero to a number (n + 0) has no effect. Next, explain that in multiplication, a number multiplied by zero is zero (n x 0) = 0. Secondly, explain to the student that any number multiplied by 1 is the number itself (n x 1) = n.

Teaching Times Tables Strategies

It is best to introduce the times table once you are confident that the student has mastered the concept of multiplication, lest they memorize the table without the knowledge. Start with what the students already know, i.e., numbers multiplied by 1 and 0. The standard chart is the most appropriate for elementary students. Most times tables resemble the one below. When a digit in the far left is multiplied with a digit at the top, the result is where the two converge. For example:

1 x 1 = 1, 4 x 4 = 16, 7 x 7 = 49 and 11 x11 = 121 . . .


© Wikimedia

How Do You Practice Times Tables?

At this point, students are familiar with the times table, and it about time they start memorizing it. Teachers should make this process as fun as possible for the students to participate.

Encourage Children to Practice in Writing or Verbally

Identify a working rhythm and let the students set the tone. This can be in the form of a song or a poem. Use visual materials. Regardless of the times you cover multiplication, it is a good idea to hang charts in the classroom. Identify the strength of each child to ensure that everyone is on board. Those who are left behind are likely to struggle in future lessons.

Quiz Them Regularly

You can test your child once you are confident that they have memorized the times table. It’s best to do this when they are not focused on school matters such as when you are out in the mall or taking a stroll. It should be a fun session where the child is free to attempt without fear of failure. Correct a wrong answer with an explanation — do not shout or act aggressively.

Help Them with The Tricky Ones.

It is common for young students to get it wrong, especially when multiplying higher numbers. Some children memorize the wrong answers and have difficulty “resetting” their minds for the right answer. When you notice that the student is stumbling over the same issue, try a more practical approach such as sticking a note on the fridge or make them carry a cheat sheet with the problem.

Real-Life Application

It is vital to relate multiplication to real-life situations. Take your child out with you when you are buying groceries, fruits, eggs, or even when cooking. Let them count how many eggs can fit in a try or how many oranges is enough for the family. They can also calculate the total cost of goods. This way, children perceive the importance of multiplication and make more effort to learn.

Reward Effort

There is no harm in heightening the effort of your children by rewarding their effort in multiplication problems. They do not have to get it right; you can reward them for the progress they make. This encourages persistence and willingness to learn and try again.

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