When and How to Teach Math to Babies from 0 to 24 Month?

Though it would be impossible to actually teach your child math at this age, you can still cultivate your child's intuitions about math.

Here are the essentials you need to know about math guidance for your infant.

Why We Need Math

Increases Mental Agility


It's hard to say why your child needs to study math in just one sentence. But studying mathematics trains memory, comprehension, ordered thinking abilities, observational skills, creativity, patience, problem-solving skills, and so on.

Simply put, mathematical thinking trains mental agility. Math increases activity in numerous areas of the brain and drives expansion of the brain as a whole.

Teaching Concepts, not Names

In general, when we see people teaching young children about numbers, they make children learn how to recite the numbers 1 through 10 like a song. This is not true comprehension, but rather just the recitation of a counting song. Of course nouns are important. However, asking a child to memorize the names of numbers before understanding the concepts themselves will make it harder for them to understand these abstract entities. Children at this age still have a lot of trouble digesting abstract concepts. So, you can first have your child simply recognize the concrete facts about numbers before moving onto more abstract topics.

For example, if you show your child 2 rabbits, 2 fruits, 2 cars, and 2 pairs of chopsticks, your child needs to have these concrete objects in mind before moving forward with the more abstract concept of "2". Your child should not just have the words "cat" and "fruit" in mind, but the concrete forms themselves. You should say "A cat has a tail and meows" to inform your child of the characteristics that cats share. Thus, that the meaning of "two cats" becomes easier to comprehend.

Teaching Math Right

Start When Your Child Can Recognize You

As soon as your child is born, they watch you. They listen to you, they feel your body heat, and also begin to understand what love is. Children unwittingly stare into their mother's eyes and listen to her heartbeat thinking "Ah, so that's my mom." This is how they come to distinguish her from other people.

In mathematical terms, this is "the concept of distinction". Thus, when your child first begins to recognize you, it is the perfect time to begin teaching them math but don't have high expectations. Starting from the time a child begins speaking frequently, stimulate their senses and allow them to experience different things directly. The right place to start is with training their ability to distinguish objects.

Have Fun Communicating with Math

No matter what you are teaching your child, engaging with Mom is an essential part of the process. Math instruction should go hand in hand with language learning. So that even though your child may be unable to understand what "1,2,3," represent, they can still at least say "1,2,3," with you like parrot. Whatever you say, your child will repeat after you, eventually coming to understand just what they are saying means. This process contributes to intellectual development as well.

Using a variety of adjectives to describe things adds greater dimension to your child's categorizing skills as well as thei

r senses of length, width, volume, depth, speed, time, weight, etc. Intersperse your speech with adjectives as you compare different objects saying for instance "Which of these two apples is bigger?", "The toy box is empty", "There are a lot of these, but fewer of these."

Acquaint Your Child with Math Using Toys

For any domain, but especially for the difficult domain of mathematics, the younger the child, the less effective formal teaching will be, and the more you will have to rely on games to make any headway. You should play these games organically as part of daily life.

Here's one great example. Have your child set the table with 1 spoon, 1 pair of chopsticks, and 1 cup for each person. Demonstrate the arrangement before letting your child do it. Through this one-to-one matching training, your child will become familiar with quantity and number. Setting the table is also a way for your child to have fun and feel accomplished.

When your child is 2 or a 3 months old baby, he/she will start to show aversion to this kind of instruction, so it is important to show them that "math is fun" beforehand, letting it take deep root in their young mind.

Teaching Math Month by Month

0-6 Months

Learning Math with Toys

Your child has yet to develop a concept of number at this age. However, it is around the time that he/she should be able to pick up one thing or choose one thing from among two.

The hallmark of this age is that fact that your child's sense of number will be very vague, it will be no more than a notion of "quantity". Any amount higher than 2 is simply considered "a lot".

Stimulate the Five Senses

Develop a clear sense of color, size, and position through vision. Compare all the different odors and find out about strong and weak odors through smell. Compare flavors through taste. Feel the texture and temperature of objects through touch. Experience pitch and volume through hearing.

Your child will receive the basic concepts of mathematics through their five senses. After they grow older, your child will not need to experience an object directly to know what its qualities are because they have already built a strong foundation in mathematics.

6-12 Months

Teach with Things, not Numbers

It is common to see families teaching their child to recite the Arabic numerals 1, 2, 3, 4…, through a repetitive process of writing and rewriting, over and over. Teaching your child math this way could result in them losing all interest in numbers. To say nothing of mathematical concepts.

Your child will become familiar with quantity by interacting with the world of their surroundings before slowly acquainting themselves with the Arabic numerals representing these quantities. This is the right order in which they should learn.

You should use picture books, photos, and other items familiar to your child to play games that will make them more familiar with numbers and form a concept of number.

Talk about Size

When nursing or giving your child formula, compare your child's hand to your hand. You can say something like "Is baby hungry? I'll give you a sip of milk. Wow, you're really drinking it up!" Next, gently hold your child's hand and say "Wow, such a pretty hand. This is my hand. Baby's hand is so little and cute, my hand's big". Conversations like this can help your child understand measurement, which is one of the seven major domains of mathematics.

Use More Words that Describe Shapes

Walk around your house. Hold your baby and say "Baby, look here. This is a tick-tock tick-tock clock. The clock is square and has four corners. Oh! The TV and clock are the same rectangular shape. Over here is the ball that you like. It is a round sphere. The cup has a round shape, too!" This is one way to connect objects with their shapes.

This is one way to teach your child about shape and categories, two of the seven major domains of math. This is done by looking at objects to study their shapes and putting objects into categories based on their shapes. The strangers that your child is scared of are also a kind of category, as this indicates that your child can distinguish between people that they know and people that they don't know.

12-24 Months

The Concepts of 1, 2, and 3

Though your child can count to 3, it's hard to say that they understand the concepts of 1, 2, and 3 and they aren't purely reciting them. Thus, when counting things, you will see your child use their fingers to count one by one and that they count more quickly. They will count the fifth item in a sequence as third, or other such situation. They won't be able to count from the first number to the last correctly, but will precisely say these first and last numbers. If your child counts from 1 to 10, you will hear "1" clearly but all numbers in between will be mumbled, up until "10", which your child will say precisely. In cases like this, try to get your child to count according to the sequence, without leaving any numbers out. It is important to point this out to your child.

Use Numbers in Conversation

During this time, phrases with counting "1, 2, 3…" should appear frequently in your conversations. When giving your child a foot rub, rub their toes while shouting out "1, 2! 1, 2!" When your child starts to notice clocks, read out the digits on the clock for them. Let your child learn the names of numbers first, and that these names come in a particular order, as doing so will give them a good foundation on which to build their math studies.


Editor in Babiology, mother of two, highly passionate about sharing the pregnancy care and post delivery care learning with the readers.

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