Handwriting Practice for Perfectionist Kids {5 Tips}

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You’ve seen it before. Your child or your student is progressing beautifully with handwriting practice but he or she is child is frustrated and upset. Her letters don’t meet her standards. He erases until there is a hole in the paper. She throws her pencil to the floor. He is never happy with how he is writing. 

I’ve seen this with my own kids and talked to many parents who are at a loss with how to proceed with teaching their child to write when perfectionism gets in the way. 

handwriting worksheets

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My book, When Your Child Hates Handwriting: Peaceful, Practical Solutions for Parents,  addresses this and many other handwriting issues. You can read more about it here

5 Tips to Help Perfectionist Kids With Handwriting

1.  Acknowledge what their need to write perfectly feels like. Show your child that you understand the feelings behind their frustration. “I can see how important it is to you that your letters be just right. You’re trying so hard!” Much more effective than saying, “It doesn’t have to be perfect.” They believe with their whole hearts that it does. Validation helps ease the tension. 

2.  Take handwriting off the worksheet and into a sand or salt tray.  Have your child copy the letters out of the book (or you can write them on a whiteboard or chalkboard) and into the tray.  Use a non-sharpened pencil, a chopstick or the stick end of a paintbrush.  They can easily shake and erase what they’ve written if they aren’t satisfied. Their “mistakes” are gone instantly and they can start over fresh.

handwriting worksheets

Lovely Lavender Salt Tray Recipe from my book, When Your Child Hates Handwriting: Peaceful, Practical Solutions for Parents.

3.  Model handwriting mistakes.  Write with your child but use your non-dominant hand. This levels the playing field, so-to-speak. Make mistakes. Talk to yourself out loud about what you’re doing about them: “That is not my best letter B. I don’t like that B at all but I’m going to keep going. I’m practicing learning to write B’s and I want them to be perfect. It’s so frustrating when they aren’t.”  Often when I’ve done this, my child has said, “That letter B looks fine, Mom.” You can prompt your child by asking, “What should I do about this awful letter b?” 

4.  Tear up worksheets together. Crumble up your worksheet before writing on it. Remove it first if it’s part of a workbook. Then smooth it out and begin writing. Invite your child to do the same. Tear it up when you’re done. (Take a photo first to send to your child’s teacher if they are in public school so he/she gets credit for completed work.)

5.  Get moving! Get outside and write with sidewalk chalk. Stomp on your imperfect writing and run to another part of the sidewalk to continue practice. Or wash it away with the garden hose. Or stand up and write on a vertical surface. Watch this short video for a unique way to write vertically using window crayons.

50+ More Ideas for Making Handwriting Fun and Frustration-Free can be found in my book, available in print, ebook and kindle format. Click on the photo below for more information and to place an order.

handwriting for kids

More Handwriting Resources


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