# How To Help Your Child Learn Times Tables

Times tables (or multiplication facts) can seem easy when you know them, but learning them drives fear into many children.

In this article, I'm going to look into the easiest ways learn times tables, help you identify your child's knowledge of them, and provide some useful tips on the best ways to teach kids times tables.

### First, find out which tables they know and don't know

It makes sense to take stock of where your child is with tables before trying to help them. To do this we've developed a unique new tables quiz that identifies exactly where to start.

Take the Free Kickstart Tables Quiz

*- in 10 minutes you'll have a times tables progress report*

Kickstart not only identifies which tables your child knows, but it will also let you know which multiplication facts they have mastered.

### So, let's start learning tables

Think of the times tables like a daunting climbing wall - it's scary when you're a first-timer standing at the foot looking up, but once you start making a few hand and foot holds, it gets much easier.

This diagram shows the 81 times tables multiplication facts that every child needs commit to memory.* *(We'll leave the 11 and 12 times tables aside for a moment.)

Children need to be able to recall any times tables answer within two or three seconds *- preferably in one second*. That leaves no time for counting the way up to the answer from 2x, 3x, 4x etc - the answer has to pop out of their memory pretty much instantly.

It sounds harsh but this level of "number fluency" is the ideal foundation for any child *- so how do we get there?*

### What order should we learn times tables in?

We start with the easy tables first - **the easy times tables are the 10, 2 and 5 times tables**.

The 10 times tables are a natural part of counting, the 2 times tables are familiar because of doubling, even numbers, *and they simply chant so well: "2, 4, 6, 8, who do we appreciate?" *The 5 times tables are helped by knowing the 10 times tables (and the fact that we have five fingers).

There's some debate as to which are easiest from here but the 4 and 9 times tables are usually next. The 4 times tables are double the 2 times tables and the 9 times tables have a few shortcuts to help you learn them. After this you could the 3 times tables followed by the 6 times tables. Then come the 8 times tables and the 7 times tables - which are generally regarded as the most difficult.

### Language and times tables

There are many different ways to say the tables and they're all correct, but it helps to be consistent and to adopt the language your child already uses at school. For example we have:

- three times eight is . . .
- three multiplied by
- three eights are . .
- three lots of four are . .

Be aware that what makes sense to you might confuse your child!

### What are the methods for learning tables?

- Stick to one times table at a time to minimise confusion
- Start with chanting and writing them out slowly in order
- Then move on to completing the answers quickly in order - on paper or verbally with your child
- Finally, move on to completing the answers in any order
- Keep reminding your child that 3 x 4 is the same as 4 x 3 - this effectively halves the number of tables facts
- Each times table has a square number 3 x 3, 7 x 7 etc (see the coloured numbers in the tables grid above). These are special "hand or foot holds" that can act as memory hooks - emphasize them!
- Talk about the numbers are you encounter them: "5 x 8 = 40 - that's mummy's age", "3 x 6 = 18 - that's our house number"...
*this makes more memory hooks* - Games are a great way to speed up recalling tables - we have lots of suggestions in our blog here.

### What are the tips and tricks for learning each times tables

- The 2, 4 and 8 times tables are doubles of each other, with many common answers: 2 x 8 = 16, 4 x 4 =16, 8 x 2 = 16
- The nine times tables can use the ten times tables and work back or compensate: so for 5 x 9, think (5 x 10) - 5 = 50 - 5 = 45, also note that the digits in the answer always add to 9. (There's also a finger method which I'm not a big fan of.)
- The 3 and 6 times table are tricky. Do the 3s first then the 6s - expect these to be more difficult and make an allowance in time
- The 7 times tables are hard but if you've done the other tables first you'll find you've encountered most of the 7s already elsewhere - such as 7 x 4 = 28, 7 x 3 = 21
- 7 x 8 = 56 is often thought of as the hardest times table - but tell this to your child and make a big deal about it and they'll never forget it!

### Mastering the times tables

You can know all the times tables without really going on to master them. So once your child has learned the multiplication facts individually, the next stage involves memorizing the times tables so that they can recall them quickly in any random order.

The practice can be verbal or written but either way you're looking for accurate answers within three seconds. Getting to grips with this is what Komodo is all about - it provides an effective and rewarding way to help your child master math at home.

**I'm Ged, Co-founder of Komodo, ex-math teacher and dad. If you have any questions please get in touch.**

**About Komodo - **Komodo is a fun and effective way to boost elementary math skills. Designed for 4 to 11 year olds to use at home, Komodo uses a little and often approach to learning math (20 minutes, three to five times per week) that fits into busy routines. Komodo helps users develop fluency and confidence in math - *without keeping them at the screen for long*.

**And now we've got Komodo English too - ****check it out here.**