Dealing with a perfectionist child can be particularly challenging when it comes to crafts. Beautifully arranged photographs in craft books and magazines inspire some children, but for others they may set an impossible standard for success.
Here are five simple tips to help deal with a perfectionist child when working on crafts:
1. Set the Example — When setting out art materials, be upfront about your expectations and try to remain open to new experiences. Be mindful of your own stress levels when dealing with small setbacks, as most children tend to mirror their parents’ behaviors. Whether you’re creating a new recipe, painting a mural, or decorating cupcakes, take advantage of the opportunity to teach your child how you handle mistakes or challenges that come along the way.
2. Try Process-Based Projects — Crafts have a tendency to aim toward a particular finished product, but process-based art puts the focus back on the act of creating. There is no right or wrong way to do process-based art, so these types of projects can help build your child’s confidence. Enjoy the act of creating something for creativity’s sake and focus instead on the quality time you’re spending with your child in the process.
3. One-of-a-Kind — Above all else, your child’s crafts are unique and one-of-a-kind. Celebrate that! Craft projects do not need to be “perfect” in order to be successful.
4. Display Artwork — Not every piece of artwork needs to be kept, but at least a few pieces of your child’s work should be on prominent display in your home. This sends the message that you value your child’s work, and the time he or she took to create it.
5. Improvise! — Some of our most memorable projects have been those that required some level of improvisation. An accidental spill on a painting becomes an added cloud in the sky by painting over it, for example. Take advantage of mistakes to teach your child how to improvise, and work on developing those ever-important early problem-solving skills.
Valerie Deneen is the founder of Inner Child Fun, a blog where she shares tips on inexpensive craft and activity ideas.