Does math make you anxious? Here's how to solve it

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Does calculating the tip at a restaurant make you nervous? You might suffer from math anxiety. (KABC)

Does calculating the tip at a restaurant make you nervous? You might suffer from math anxiety. But don't worry: You're not alone.
Math can be a stressful subject for adults and kids who are not number-oriented, and now recent research shows that it can affect your health.

Some people, like Kristin Quick, love reading but are downright anxious about math.

Now that she is a mom, she said she is determined not to let her fear of numbers influence her kids. "I don't want them to have it as a stumbling block like I did," Quick said.

Researchers at the University of Chicago found that math anxiety is real, and it can start as early as first grade.

Psychologist Susan Levine said this type of anxiety can cause kids to completely avoid the subject. "It can involve just not engaging in the math or thinking that they're not good at math," Levine said.

While most parents have no problem teaching other subjects like reading and science, many shy away from math. Researchers said this can potentially increase a child's risk of math anxiety in the classroom.

But there is good news. One easy way parents can boost math confidence in their kids is through an app.

Researchers looked at the app called "Bedtime Math" and said first-graders who used it did significantly better in math in school than a control group who didn't use it.

Julianne Herts, a Ph.D. student who contributed to the study, said the app allows parents and kids to work together on becoming more math minded.
"It has a problem of the day each day," Herts said. "And at the bottom, there are different levels of questions that parents can answer with their children."

Quick said she hasn't tried the app in the study, but she said she likes the idea of encouraging her kids to learn more about math. "They just have that advantage when they go into that formal learning setting," she said. "They're not starting from ground zero."

The best apps are ones that stimulate conversations between parents and kids.

Besides apps, show your kids how math can be relevant in everyday life, like when baking or comparing prices in a grocery store.
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