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Teaching Your Child To Sew


I upgraded my Serger to one that can handle more work. I got one with a computer screen. This required us to take some classes on how to use the machine. When I signed up for the classes (from the same place I bought the machine) I told them that I wanted my oldest daughter to take the class with me, since she would be using the machine as much as me.

I was amazed at the response, "we do not allow for a parent and a child to be in class together. We believe that children do better and learn more when their parents aren't present".

Please, do not believe this lie!!!!

Although I am focusing on parents as teachers in this article, all can benefit from reading through this.

So, what makes you qualified to teach your own child to sew? You may be surprised to know that it is NOT your expertise in sewing!

1. You were your child's first teacher, and you have already taught them a lot!

The day they came home from the hospital the teaching began. You taught them to wave, to point, to talk, to use spoons to eat with, to stack blocks, to color, to count, say their abc's, to walk... The list is never ending, and continues for years and years.

Children learn the most important things in life through modeling. As the saying goes,

"more things are caught, not taught"

or my favorite:

"Preach always. Only use words when necessary".

If you want your child to: have manners, read, be patient, see the positive side of life, know how to cook, garden, eat healthy, journal, send notes to people, be kind and thoughtful, love deeply and freely...

You must: read, be polite, be patient, be positive, include your child when you cook, garden, eat healthy, journal, send notes, be thoughtful, and love unconditionally...

Modeling is the greatest form of teaching. It uses all of the senses. They watch, they listen, and they do. They begin with their eyes; which brings curiosity, interest, and the understanding that this is important to the person they love.

Think of all the things your children have learned from you over the years, and then think about how much time you spent strictly devoted to teaching and lecturing on one of those things. Most of it came naturally! This can be a scary thought too - I have definitely modeled things for my girls, that we are all having to work on to change in our character!

Sewing is no different. A desire will be stirred by seeing you learning or enjoying sewing, along with your encouragement for them to join you and try it. The whole time you are sewing you will be modeling.

Allow your child to use all their senses, especially the actual doing. Sewing doesn't have to be taught as a lecture. It can be learned together.

For those of you who have been sewing for years, I guarantee, that there is always something new to learn. Therefore, never take the attitude that you have finally arrived - IT'S A JOURNEY. This will help you to walk along side your child, instead of standing over them.

2. You, as the parent or grandparent, are your child's greatest fan!

You know them the best. You are the one who has watched them grow and mature. You know their current strengths and weaknesses, their personalities, their funny little habits... If you don't, you need to spend more time with them.

All of this information gives you a great advantage over any professional seamstress that teaches sewing!

Work on your child's weaknesses and focus on their character issues when you are doing chores! But when you are wanting to pass on a skill that could possibly turn into a passion, give them every opportunity to learn in a delight directed, encouraging environment, and with the freedom to excel at their OWN pace and in their OWN way.

Please know that I am not encouraging spoiling. As the Lord says,

"For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:11).

"A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them" (Proverbs 13:24)

**There is a time, place, and need to build character through discipline (in our house, this is daily). But, when your children are sewing, or are learning any trade, your job is to embrace who they are, to encourage their strengths and to not try to change them, or expect things from them that they can't give you.

Who Is Your Child?

If your child sits for hours, and listens, and takes everything in you say, and then turns around and is able to take what you said and put it into action, then fantastic - they can be taught in the typical class setting.

But is your child:

*imaginative, creative, and artful

*constantly moving

*full of energy - enough for 2 other children besides themselves

*easily distracted

*able to work on several projects at once

*must do first, and ask questions afterwards

If you answered yes to any of these, then a typical class setting might squash who they are!

One of my favorite metaphors:

(From Chris Davis of The Elijah Company, Summarized by me)

"Our children are like acorns. When you look at an acorn you can't believe that that little thing will grow into a huge oak tree. God has placed everything in that acorn, to be exactly that. All it needs is good soil, water, and sun.

Our children are the same. God has placed everything in them to be exactly who He wants them to be, all we have to do is provide an environment to nurture those gifts, talents, and abilities".

Pray to see your child through the Lord's eyes, and embrace, and encourage who they are. You have the flexibility to teach your child in the best environment that allows THEM to thrive.

3. Time is on your side.

When your working with your own child, your primary motivation for teaching is usually:

a. For the love of your child

b. For a love of sewing

c. For a desire to learn to sew yourself

All of these are great!

The moment your motivation turns to the completion of a project, or mastering a sewing skill, is when things will fall apart.

This is the advantage that you have as a parent teaching, versus a paid teacher. Teachers can feel the pressure of having to have their students walk out of a class with a product, "proof" that they have learned. That focus can cause the student to feel the same pressure, to ignore questions in order to just finish, and ultimately not enjoy their sewing experience. Please note - there are some wonderful teachers out there, whose main focus is for the love of the child, for the love of sewing, and are able to not succumb to pressure.

But as a parent, your advantage is time! Your goal doesn't have to be a finished product. Your goal can be on your child truly learning.

Think about the difference between:

A. Your child is learning to tie their shoe, and you have no plans in the morning. As they are getting dressed, you are completely relaxed, and full of encouragement watching your determined child.

Versus

B. Your child is learning to tie their shoes BUT, you have a 9:30 doctor's appointment, you slept late, and it is now 9:15. Your focus will NOT be on the child.

You ARE qualified to teach your child to sew. You don't have to know how to sew. You only need to want to learn yourself, to love your child unconditionally, and have time to allow them to learn at their OWN pace, and in their OWN way.

Remember, kids spell love, t-i-m-e!

Submitted by:

Kristi Borchardt

Kristi Borchardt learned to sew right along with her daughters. The girls were age 3 and 6, at the time! Because it was such an enjoyable experience she wants to encourage others to pursue this endeavor.

Kristi experienced the woes of feeling very ignorant just trying to read a pattern and was discouraged from trying to teach her girls on her own. After receiving a new sewing machine from her husband for her birthday, she became bound and determined to fulfill her desire to learn to sew.

Kristi's plan was to learn everything before she tried to teach her kids. But as she was learning, her girls caught her enthusiasm and in amazement she watched them flourish in learning to sew right along with her. Kristi says that, "quite honestly, because we knew nothing I experienced a real freedom in my own education".

At age 8 yrs. old, her younger daughter could sew her own dresses, and her older daughter, at 11 yrs. old, had a passion for sewing, and was a better seamstress than Kristi.

What Kristi wants to do, is share her journey in sewing; to help others know (with hindsight being 20/20) that the best way to learn is by doing. She has shared with friends and family their way of learning to sew, as well as, the projects and patterns that built their skills. She has seen it not only work for others, but truly bring a delight into the sewing experience.

To learn MORE, from the “9 Secrets to Successfully Teach Your Child to Sew”, through free articles full of tips, encouragement, suggestions, and projects with step by step directions with lots of photographs, go to http://www.sewingwithkids.com





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