Why & How Children should Learn to Sew?
by Jacqueline Thornley
Jacqueline took the decision to switch from a stressful and hectic career in the city, to become a work-from-home mom when her daughters were born. She divides her time between writing articles and learning and developing her handicraft skills, such as sewing, knitting and her latest passion, which is quilt making"
Why Children Should Learn The Art Of Sewing
Today’s crafters are getting younger; according to the Association for Creative Industries, 41% of crafters are millennials, aged 18-34. This is really encouraging news as traditional crafts such as sewing have so much to offer young people. From improving mental health, teaching future generations to be thrifty, and helping the environment, sewing is here to stay. That’s why programs such as You Can Make It "For Kids" are so important; if youngsters can learn these skills now, they will have many years ahead of them to enjoy the benefits.
Creating better mental health
An estimated 1 in 5 young people experience a severe mental health disorder at some point during their life, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Creative activities such as sewing and knitting have been shown to help improve mental health and happiness, boosting self esteem and confidence. When a person concentrates on creating something, they enter a state of flow in which anxieties and outside pressures can be forgotten, and a sense of satisfaction or achievement follows. Children will also really benefit from your time and undivided attention in teaching them to sew; it may even be a neat opportunity to spend time with grandparents who may also relish the chance to pass on these skills. Add plenty of praise and encouragement and watch your child flourish.
Teaching thriftiness for life
Modern youngsters are less financially comfortable than ever; for example, almost half of millennials have delayed buying a home compared with 29% of the general population, and 40% have taken out loans in order to buy a car. Thriftiness and home economy will increasingly be seen as essential life skills; just as teaching your children to budget, cook sensibly and maintain the car is important, so too is equipping them with the basic skills to mend hems, replace buttons or alter a skirt. Start with a basic sewing machine for your child to learn on, so that you can see how they take to the craft before committing to a more advanced level.
Helping the planet
At present, more than 15 million tons of used textile waste is generated each year in the US. As fashion designers and high street clothing chains try to improve their use of recyclable materials and work to reduce so-called ‘disposable fashion’, you can help your family do its bit for the planet too. Teaching your child to alter and adapt unwanted clothes can make a huge difference in reducing what goes to landfill, as well encouraging individuality and self expression.
Traditional crafts such as sewing can offer so much to today’s young people. From boosting mental health and happiness to setting them up with thrifty habits for life, passing on a love of sewing can offer much more than you might expect. It’s also a great way to play your part in helping the environment. Help your child to discover the joy of sewing; a brighter future is at their fingertips.
How to Engage Young Learners in Sewing Activities
Over 6 million children in America have been diagnosed with ADHD or some form of attention disorder, studies show. These attention problems are most present in the classroom but can also make it hard for children to focus on a hobby, even if they enjoy it. While there’s no doubt that there are real, science-backed benefits of sewing for children, it’s sometimes hard to convince them of that fact. When you’re at a loss for how to inspire creativity and get your young sewers engaged, especially if they already have trouble focusing on learning, try using these ideas.
Make the Activity Practical
Oftentimes, as teachers or parents, we construct activities purely based on the idea that it will be fun for the children to learn. However, they often need motivation behind the task. To make the activity more fun for smaller children, you can encourage them to sew a craft that can be used as a practical gift, a decoration or as a cute little keepsake to remember their time at a fun summer camp. Making the focus of the activity on the idea that they’ll be able to take their project home with them and share it with their friends and family often helps ignited a little fire of passion in even the youngest of kids. This work especially great for structured, specific activities such as sewing a Christmas decoration to give to their parents as a gift or sewing linens for a large church as part of a fundraiser or history activity. However you decide to go about it, giving your students a reason to complete the sewing project will likely be enough to encourage them to do so.
Adapt the Task
Sometimes, children are reluctant to learn or participate if they feel like they're going to fail at the task. If you find that your sewing students simply aren’t engaged in the activity, it might be because it is too hard for their skill level or simply that they aren’t seeing enough progress to feel encouraged. To combat this problem, you can adapt the task so the child can feel confident accomplishing it. Maybe this means changing the pattern you’re using, switching stitching styles or even going back to the basics of how to use a sewing machine. From there, you will then be able to help them form small goals that they can reach daily. Be sure to set goals that you know they can accomplish in one class period as this will help them end the class by accomplishing something, which will encourage them to come back with enthusiasm for the next class.
Take it Slow
Sewing is a learned skill that might take some students longer than others to accomplish. Be mindful of the tasks you’re giving the children to monitor whether or not they’re too difficult, always set realistic goals they can accomplish and make activities practical. By understanding and implementing these ideas you will be able to develop the patience needed to adequately teach and encourage individual students through their sewing journey.