Got a perfectionist child? Try these 5 tips!

Having a perfectionist child can be challenging.

Perfectionists can be quick to get frustrated. They sometimes give up if they can't do something "just right." And even worse, they don't try at all because they are afraid they might make a mistake.

Wanting to do your best is good, but striving to be "perfect" is unrealistic. Being a perfectionist can hinder a child's advancement and lead to anxiety. Today, we want to share tips to help your perfectionist child.

5 Tips to help a perfectionist child

It takes time.

It’s is something that we work on daily with our son (and I know it’s because both his father and I are perfectionists, too).
However, I’m happy to let you know that you can help your child deal with perfectionism. Don't expect it to go away, but you can definitely work to minimize the “it needs to be just right” mentality.

First of all, it takes time and effort to change a perfectionist's habits. 

Here are 5 strategies to help your perfectionist child:

1. Celebrate Mistakes

Model mistakes and celebrate them: point out to your child when you try something difficult and point out when you make mistakes.
This can be hard for us because often we have been trained to be embarrassed by mistakes and want to hide them. Try to be okay with mistakes and talk with your child about what you learned from them. Explain what you will do differently next time.
woman talking to her child

2. Reinforce Practice to Mastery 

Remind your child that to be good at something takes a lot of practice.
For example, learning to walk took a lot of practice (even though he or she probably doesn't remember). Tell your child stories and show him or her videos their struggles learning how to walk. Show her falling down and getting back up and trying again. Focus your attention on the effort that went into learning to walk. Point out all the practice that went into learning to walk and how it's now easy as a result. 
Now, turn your attention to other things that take a lot of practice to master and discuss them. For example: Riding a bike, tying shoelaces, and reading. If we want to get better, we need to practice (a lot)!

3. Challenges help us get smarter

Perfectionist kids will sometimes avoid an activity they perceive as hard because they fear that they will not be able to do it perfectly. Their perfectionism keeps them from trying at all.
When they stay with what is familiar and easy, they don't grow.
One of our sayings is: “If something is too easy, then we’re not learning.”
When Brewer tries something difficult and is struggling, I like to remind him that it means he's learning! In a small way, we pause to celebrate the struggle to encourage a growth mindset.
This is why we first created our Blimey Box escape games. We wanted a fun and engaging way to challenge his thinking. When kids play our problem-solving games, parents have a lot of opportunities to praise effort.
If you want some printable problem-solving activities, signup below to grab these freebies!
We love setting these up for our kids to wake up to on Saturday morning. And it gives us a little extra time to sleep in or sit and sip coffee!
5 Printable Mini-Treasure Hunt Puzzles
These mini-treasure hunts are fun problem-solving games that take kids 15-30 minutes to find a hidden treasure. All you need to do is print, cut, hide a treasure and relax. 

4. Review strategies for dealing with a challenge 

Before your child tries something new and difficult, it is important to discuss some strategies to use if he or she gets stumped.
Perfectionist kids will often shut down when engaging in problem-solving activities because they want it to be easy and perfect.
Before my son tackles a Blimey Box Escape Game or a Treasure Hunt we talk about how he can deal with something too difficult.
  • Be sure to try before you ask for help - It's okay to ask for help if you need it, but you need to try first.
  • Practice Self Confidence - If he gets stuck, we want him to think of one thing he is proud of himself for that he was able to accomplish so far.
  • Take a break if you need it - Take some deep breaths or walk away for a second. Sometimes a quick break can clear frustrated minds.

    mom cooking with son

      5. Practice every day 

      Just like something that is challenging, helping your perfectionist child takes practice. This is not something that will miraculously change. Be prepared to put in time and effort.
      Encourage your child to try something difficult and challenging every day. Don't let him or her shy away from challenges. Instead, provide opportunities for your child to work through his or her perfectionism daily!
      If you are looking for fun problem-solving activities to do at home, check out our Escape Game Kits for Kids. They are challenging, but engaging enough that even the biggest perfectionist will persevere to finish the game!

      You may also want to check out a couple of our other Blog Posts:

      Good luck! Please let us know how it goes and if any of these strategies work for you.
      As I mentioned, it will be a process, but if you are persistent, you will start to see less of the perfectionist tendencies. 

      Learning Escape Room Game Kits for kids:

      Check out our educational escape room games and our lockbox game kit! Kids love the thrill of solving math, reading, and logic puzzles to get codes to unlock a final treasure. Make learning an exciting adventure! 

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