What Can We Do to Help Children Who Seem to be Perfectionists? 

Perfectionism is being afraid of showing up as yourself. Perfectionists tend to be avoiders, risk-averse, easily overwhelmed, and they don't like to be "in progress."

What can we do to help children who seem to be perfectionists? 

  • Talk about how we make mistakes ourselves and model that. 
    • "Ugh I just added too much flour to this recipe." 
    •  "Oops I forgot to complete something."
  • Model self-kindness.
    •  "That didn't turn out like I had planned but I'm going to be ok." 
    •  "Let me try that again." 
    •  "I can't do that yet but I can learn."
  • Validate their feelings.  
    • "You seem frustrated."
    • "I see you erasing your work. Is something difficult? What else can we do."
  • Remind them that the goal is not perfection. It is progress and learning.  
  • Allow something to be messy—art projects, baking, a work paper, or a room in your home.  
  • Put emphasis on the hard work, not the end product. 
    •  "I am so proud of you for working hard."
    •  "You should be proud of yourself."
  • Encourage problem-solving.  
    • "You can look for that on your own for 5 minutes then ask me again to help if you still need me."  
    • "What can you do first before I come help you with that?"