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Why Is Math Important? 9 Reasons Why Math Skills Improve Quality of Life

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  • Parent Resources

Math isn't just an important subject in school — it’s essential for many of your daily tasks. You likely use it every day to perform real-life skills, like grocery shopping, cooking and tracking your finances. 

What makes math special is that it’s a universal language — a powerful tool with the same meaning across the globe. Though languages divide our world, numbers unite us. Math allows us to work together towards new innovations and ideas. 

In this post, learn why math is important for kids and adults. Plus, find out why learning even the most basic math can significantly improve your family’s quality of life.

Why is math so important in life?

You simply can’t make it through a day without using some sort of basic math. Here’s why.

A person needs an understanding of math, measurements and fractions to cook and bake. Many people may also use math to count calories or nutrients as part of their diet or exercise routine. 

You also need math to calculate when you should leave your house to arrive on time, or how much paint you need to redo your bedroom walls. 

And then the big one, money. Financial literacy is an incredibly important skill for adults to master. It can help you budget, save and even help you make big decisions like changing careers or buying a home. 

Mathematical knowledge may even be connected to many other not-so-obvious benefits. A strong foundation in math can translate into increased understanding and regulation of your emotions, improved memory and better problem-solving skills.

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The importance of math: 9 benefits of a great math education

Math offers more opportunities beyond grade school, middle school and high school. Its applications to real-life scenarios are vast. 

Though many students sit in math class wondering when they’ll ever use these things they’re learning, we know there are many times their math skills will be needed in adulthood. 

The importance of mathematics to your child’s success can’t be overstated. Basic math is a necessity, but even abstract math can help hone critical thinking skills — even if your child chooses not to pursue a STEM-style career. Math can help them succeed professionally, emotionally and cognitively. Here’s why.

1. Math promotes healthy brain function

“Use it or lose it.” We hear this said about many skills, and math is no exception. 

Solving math problems and improving our math skills gives our brain a good workout. And it improves our cognitive skills over time. Many studies have shown that routinely practicing math keeps our brain healthy and functioning well.

2. Math improves problem-solving skills

At first, classic math problems like Johnny bringing home 42 watermelons and returning 13 of them can just seem a silly exercise. But all those math word problems our children solve really do improve their problem solving skills. Word problems teach kids how to pull out the important information and then manipulate it to find a solution.

Later on, complex life problems take the place of workbooks, but problem-solving still happens the same way. When students understand algorithms and problems more deeply, they can decode the facts and more easily solve the issue. Real-life solutions are found with math and logic.

3. Math supports logical reasoning and analytical thinking

A strong understanding of math concepts means more than just number sense. It helps us see the pathways to a solution. Equations and word problems need to be examined before determining the best method for solving them. And in many cases, there’s more than one way to get to the right answer. 

It’s no surprise that logical reasoning and analytical thinking improve alongside math skills. Logic skills are necessary at all levels of mathematical education.

4. Math develops flexible thinking and creativity

Practicing math has been shown to improve investigative skills, resourcefulness and creativity.

This is because math problems often require us to bend our thinking and approach problems in more than one way. The first process we try might not work. We need flexibility and creativity to think of new pathways to the solution. And just like anything else, this way of thinking is strengthened with practice.

5. Math opens up many different career paths

There are many careers that use a large number of math concepts. These include architects, accountants, and scientists. 

But many other professionals use math skills every day to complete their jobs. CEOs use math to analyze financials. Mailmen use it to calculate how long it will take them to walk their new route. Graphic designers use math to figure out the appropriate scale and proportions in their designs. 

No matter what career path your child chooses, math skills will be beneficial.

Math skills might become even more important for today's kids!

Math can certainly open up a lot of opportunities for many of us. But did you know that careers which heavily use math are going to be among the fastest-growing jobs by the time kids today start their careers? These jobs include:

  • Actuaries
  • Statisticians
  • Data scientists
  • Software developers
  • Cybersecurity analysts

It's not just STEM jobs that will require math either. Other popular, high-growth careers like nursing and teaching now ask for a minimum knowledge of college-level math.

6. Math may boost emotional health

While this research is still in its early days, what we have seen is promising. 

The parts of the brain used to solve math problems seem to work together with the parts of the brain that regulate emotions. This suggests that math practice can actually help us cope with difficult situations. In these studies, the better someone was with numerical calculations, the better they were at regulating fear and anger. Strong math skills may even be able to help treat anxiety and depression.

7. Math improves financial literacy

Though kids may not be managing their finances now, there's going to be plenty of times where math skills are going to make a massive difference in their life as an adult.

Budgeting and saving is a big one. Where can they cut back on their spending? How will budgeting help them reach their financial goals? Can they afford this new purchase now? 

As they age into adulthood, It will benefit your child to understand how loans and interest work before purchasing a house or car. They should fully grasp profits and losses before investing in the stock market. And they will likely need to evaluate job salaries and benefits before choosing their first job.

Child putting money in piggy bank with mom.

8. Math sharpens your memory

Learning mental math starts in elementary school. Students learn addition tables, then subtraction, multiplication and division tables. As they master those skills, they’ll begin to memorize more tips and tricks, like adding a zero to the end when multiplying by 10. Students will memorize algorithms and processes throughout their education. 

Using your memory often keeps it sharp. As your child grows and continues to use math skills in adulthood, their memory will remain in tip top shape.

9. Math teaches perseverance

“I can do it!’ 

These are words heard often from our toddlers. This phrase is a marker of growth, and a point of pride. But as your child moves into elementary school, you may not hear these words as often or with as much confidence as before. 

Learning math is great for teaching perseverance. With the right math instruction, your child can see their progress and once again feel that “I can do it” attitude. The rush of excitement a child experiences when they master a new concept sticks in their memory. And they can reflect back on it when they’re struggling with a new, harder skill. 

Even when things get tough, they’ll know they can keep trying and eventually overcome it — because they’ve done it before.

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Tip: Set goals to inspire and motivate your child to learn math

If your child has a Prodigy Math Membership, you can use your parent account to set learning goals for them to achieve as they play our online math game.

The best bit? Every time they complete a goal, they'll also get a special in-game reward!

See how it works

Why students struggle to master certain math concepts

Many students experience roadblocks and hurdles throughout their math education. You might recognize some of these math struggles below in your child. But don’t worry! Any struggle is manageable with the right support and help. Together, you and your child can tackle anything. 

Here are some of the most common math struggles. 

  • Increasing complexity

Sometimes the pace of class moves a bit faster than your child can keep up with. Or the concepts are just too abstract and difficult for them to wrap their mind around in one lesson. Some math ideas simply take more time to learn. 

  • Wrong teaching style

A good teaching style with plenty of practice is essential to a high-quality math education. If the teacher’s style doesn’t mesh well with how your child learns, math class can be challenging. 

  • Fear of failure 

Even as adults, we can feel scared to fail. It’s no surprise that our children experience this same same fear, especially with the many other pressures school can bring. 

  • Lack of practice 

Sometimes, all your child needs is a little more practice. But this can be easier said than done. You can help by providing them with plenty of support and encouragement to help them get that practice time in.

  • Math anxiety

Algorithms and complex problems can strike anxiety in the heart of any child (and many adults). Math anxiety is a common phenomenon. But with the right coping strategies it can be managed. 

Set your child’s math skills up for success with Prodigy Math

Now we've discovered just how important math is in both our everyday and life decisions, let's set the next generation up for success with the right tools that'll help them learn math.

Prodigy Math is a game-based, online learning platform that makes learning math fun for kids. As kids play and explore a safe, virtual world filled with fun characters and pets to collect, they'll answer math questions. These questions are curriculum-aligned and powered by an adaptive algorithm that can help them master math skills more quickly.

Plus, with a free parent account, you'll also get to be a big part of their math education without needing to be a math genius. You'll get to:

Want to play an even bigger role in helping your child master math? Try our optional Math Memberships for extra in-game content for your child to enjoy and get amazing parent tools like the ability to set in-game goals and rewards for them to achieve.

See why Prodigy can make math fun below!

Learn how it works