Times tables tips for parents

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9 top tips for teaching a child times tables

Confidence with times tables really is important for children in primary school. While it may seem tedious to practise times tables with your child and you might have bad memories of reciting times tables at school, by ensuring your child is confident with times tables you will be giving them some essential tools for success in maths. Our times tables top tips will provide some useful advice and great ideas to help you support your child in learning their times tables.

1. Get them familiar with multiplication concepts

The first step with multiplication is to make sure your child is familiar with what the numbers in multiplications really represent. Before they can cope with multiplication they need to be confident with sequences of numbers.

You can start when your child is quite young by practising counting in twos and threes, making number patterns and solving simple mathematical problems. Counting objects, making sets of similar objects and using blocks, LEGO or snap cubes can all help to increase your child’s confidence with number bonds and multiplication facts.

Our free Multiplication in School Guide [PDF] includes more ideas on how to help with multiplication.

2. Double your numbers

If your child learns how to double numbers this will help them to make connections between different times tables, for example the 2, 4, and 8 times tables.

3. Practise tables as a time-filler

When you’re sitting at traffic lights or waiting in the doctor’s surgery it is the perfect opportunity for a bit of times table practice! It’s always better (for both your child and you!) to just spend a few minutes reciting or testing times tables rather than going into overdrive and spending too long practising them.

4. Use the right vocabulary

Make sure you are using the right language to talk about multiplication.

Take a simple multiplication sum, such as 3 x 5 = 15. The 3 and the 5 are what we call factors of 15 and that 15 is a multiple of 3 and 5.

You can also demonstrate this by looking at the whole 3 times table written out in a list. Point out that each answer is a number that is a multiple of 3.

Finally, you can give your child a few sums to solve that use multiples of 3.

5. Help them with the ones they find tricky

There are usually one or two multiplication facts in each times table that are more difficult. When you notice that your child is stumbling over the same fact each time, try to give them extra practice. You could even get your child to write the fact out in a fun way on a piece of card and then stick it somewhere prominent (like on the fridge) so that they have an extra reminder!

6. Use a number grid

Printing off a simple 10 x 10 number grid can be a great way to demonstrate how times tables relate to number sequences. You can get your child to colour in multiples of different numbers on different number squares so that they can clearly see the number patterns.

You can find a number square here, showing the 3 times table.

7. Divide and conquer

As well as learning the times tables, your child should also know the division facts for each times table. (For example, if 3 times 5 is 15, 15 divided by 5 is 3, and 15 divided by 3 is 5.)

8. Make it real

The danger with too much rote learning of times tables is that children can fail to see the use of times tables in real life. Try to take opportunities to get your child to use multiplication in problem solving, for example working out quantities for scaling up a recipe, or calculating the price of more than one item of shopping.

9. Create a challenge

Make it fun by turning times table practice into a competition or challenge for your child, by timing them and keeping a record of their scores. You could even join in yourself and set a challenge to learn a more difficult times table, such as the 13 times table and get your child to test you at the end of the week in exchange for testing them…

Times tables flashcards

Bond SATS Skills: The Complete Set of Times Tables Flashcards
Designed to meet national curriculum requirements, these cards offer easily accessible multiplication practice for children.