How to Teach Children Decimals

Updated July 20, 2017

Decimals are a critical concept to grasp for children in elementary schools and are normally seen around the second-grade level. Decimals are used every day when using money and can appear in many more of our daily activities. As a teacher, you must figure out the best way to teach concepts to your children. Although there is no correct answer, these steps should provide some help the next time you have to teach decimals to your class or child.

Review the basics of the thousands, hundreds, tens and ones. Introduce the tenths, hundredths and thousandths places.

Start with the tenths place and then work your way out to the thousandths place. Make sure to tell your children that the tenths place holds a higher value than the hundredths or thousandths places.

Teach the child to line up their decimals when adding or subtracting them. Give an example of how to line up the decimals.

Give each child some coins. Explain to each child how much each coin is represented in decimals when determining the price of something or calculating change.

Check if the children have an understanding of decimals by using worksheets to test their grasp of the concept. Any children struggling to understand should be given extra help.


Show that decimals always separate the ones and tenths. Work with money, as real-world experiences and hands-on activities can help children learn.

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About the Author

Michael Pinter has been writing since 2007. He wrote for his high-school paper and is now writing for Knox College, where he is a journalism student. Pinter specializes in video game, sports and fitness articles.