Close up of red button with needle and thread

A recent report has found that nearly 1 in 7 American children has a mental health condition, and 50% are going untreated. 

As the current system tries to meet the demands placed upon it, what can concerned families and communities do to help their young people at home? One surprising answer may be to help them learn traditional creative skills such as knitting or sewing. Not only have textile crafts been shown to improve mental health, but they also help both adults and children to put down their cell phones and socialize face to face, and equip young people with practical skills to recycle and reduce wastage in future.

Calm and creative

Studies have shown that creative activities help to reduce stress and can actually make you feel happier. A quiet repetitive skill such as knitting or sewing offers the opportunity to enter a state of flow, forgetting about the day’s stresses and focusing on achieving something tangible and rewarding. It can also teach patience, as anyone who’s dropped a stitch or tried to thread a needle in a hurry can tell you!

Social sewing

As millennials now account for half the crafters in the US, sewing and knitting are firmly back in fashion. Teaching your child these skills can help them grow in confidence and connect with others who enjoy the hobby too. It also provides a wonderful opportunity for kids to chat while their fingers are busy. This quality time can be a precious window into what’s going on with your child or teenager. To encourage them further, why not sign up for a sewing class together? A machine for simple sewing projects needn’t be hugely expensive, and many community centers offer affordable, friendly classes. Embarking on a fun sewing project is a great way for your child to socialize and meet like-minded individuals, and to take pride in their work. 

Future-ready

Teaching your children to sew can also equip them to be thrifty, productive adults. Did you know that while 95% of textiles can be recycled, 85% end up in landfill? By showing your kids how to adapt, adjust, or breathe new life into old clothing, you can help them to express themselves through fashion, save money, and play their part in protecting the planet. 

As today’s children feel the pressures of modern life, the simplest solution might be to pick up a needle and thread. Not only are traditional crafts such as sewing or knitting very restful and rewarding mentally, but they also help your child to learn patience, grow in confidence, and socialize with others. They will also equip your kids to be thrifty, green, and productive as they grow up. A future where children flourish and the planet benefits? That sounds well worth creating.


by Jennifer Dawson

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