Math Anxiety Symptoms

Maths anxiety symptoms can start as early as year 1 at school. even in pre-school children can find numbers hard.

“Help I can’t cope with more issues!!” I hear you cry. Don’t panic we are here to help and make the process as fun as possible.

If you are terrified of math or have any negative emotions connected to it then fear of failure creeps in which then affects ability and performance. We always suggest playing games to calm children / teenagers through these anxieties or login to websites like www.tablefable.net which uses poo’s and farts to make children laugh and learn.


If your child is showing signs of maths anxiety the  sooner you address the issues the faster the problem can be sorted out. If you had problems with your heart you wouldn’t say “Doctor, it’s ok I’ll fix my heart issues in 5 years, I can live with the heart palpitations and panic for another few years!!”. Don’t let your child self esteem and confidence suffer, if they have problems sort them out sooner rather than later. Now I must take my own advice and go fix the hole in the roof!!


  • Math homework or anything connected to math makes them nervousness or cross.

  • Any mental arithmetic or even thinking about math makes them stressed or uncomfortable.

  • Trying to avoid anything related to math or math homework

  • Feeling they will never be good at math and everyone else is much better than them.

  • Afraid of failure : They find math difficult compared to English and fear the failure and negative emotions associated with math. So they end up giving up completely rather than trying and failing.

  • Dyslexic : 40-60% of Dyslexic children / adults also struggle with math which can lead to maths and english anxiety.

  • Feel like no one else feels like them and they are alone with this anxiety.

  • Incapable : students feel they are incapable of finding the solution no matter how hard they try so give up rather than try.

  • Permanency : students feel like they will never be good at maths no matter what they do so don’t even bother.

  • Confidence : when students confidence is knocked at school it can be very hard to regain self worth.

  • Rely on others : students find ways of relying on others (parents or friends) to help them out rather than trying. This has long term effects as every time they avoid math they don’t practice so only harming themselves.

  • Panic : During timed tests or answering math questions later in life panic will engulf the student and the situation because a major source of stress.


  • Positive reinforcement is MASSIVELY IMPORTANT : Even if the improvements are SO small and the progress is frustratingly slow keep up the praising, help and encouragement. If you saved $2 a day for a whole year you would have $730 by the end of the year, that is way better than $0!! The same is true for positive reinforcement, a little and often will have massive benefit in the long run.

  • Excel - students who suffer from maths anxiety need to feel that they can EXCEL in math. So make sure the math they are working on isn’t too completed. They need to feel they aren’t constantly failing. However they still do need to be pushed so don’t make it too easy.

If you ask someone to run 7 miles by the end of the week this might freak them out but if you give them a program to follow it will help aliviate their panic :

eg Monday = 1 mile, Tuesday =  2 miles, Wednesday = 3 miles etc etc

  • Homework : when reviewing homework ALWAYS point out the questions they got right. Put an emphasis on the correct answers. Ask them “What areas would you like to go over again?” rather than launching into an explanation of what they got wrong and why.  

  • Teachers : try and surround the student with positive role models who like math and are enthusiastic about math.

  • Extra help : Hiring tutors or even a teenage friend that the child looks up to that will play board games, card games or help practice on sites like www.tablefable.net . This will given them personal attention that is hard to get at school.

  • Low Pressure : it’s important to create low stress environments for students with maths anxiety to practice skills they find hard / frustrating.

  • Write Worries Down : writing down math anxiety worries can be nearly as good as having therapy. Once students write down their fears of failure the act of writing kicks their brain into critically thinking about their math anxiety and focuses the student to realise their fears are unfounded.

    • Drawing not writing : younger children can draw their maths anxieties down rather than write them.

    • Reframing worries : students need help reframe their worries of test and assignments. If they can look at them as challenges to improve themselves even a tiny bit then their math anxiety will go down and they will be able to concentrate.

    • Make Math Fun - last but not least maths needs to be FUN. We have lots of ideas and games that will help children realise that maths isn’t the scary monster under the bed. LAUGHING AND LEARNING is the best way to get over math anxiety.