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Teaching a child to crochet may seem overwhelming and intimidating to some of us, but if taught correctly, it could give a child a skill that will last them a life time. It could also be a treasured memory for a lifetime, making it well worth the effort. It is relaxing, creative, fun and give’s them something tangible when they are done. When a child learns to crochet it can teach them to be patient, creative and helps them to learn how to focus and concentrate. Crocheting is also a good choice for kids because it involves a single hook and a ball of yarn which is easy for them to handle in the beginning. Crocheting is also an inexpensive hobby for them to try and see if they like.

In my experience when teaching children I usually start with children ten years old or older. However, there has been occasions when I have taught children as young as eight. So this is a variable teacher and student should determine. If the child seems to having trouble, put it away and try again in a few months.

**Here are some useful tips when teaching your child to crochet to keep in mind.**

Patience is probably the most important quality I can stress that will be needed to be successful in teaching, and this is especially so when teaching children. In saying this, always schedule enough time where you will not be rushed. When I am teaching a class I like to keep my teaching day pretty much free; this way I do not have to feel rushed if my class runs into overtime.

You will want to pick a pattern that is “easy” or “beginner” I included a link below from the Crochet Guild of America of some easy patterns. When I teach children we make a small purse with a little daisy flower on it. (picture above)

http://www.crochet.org/?page=ChildPatterns

You will want to also keep in mind to pick a project that can be completed in a short amount of time. When dealing with children I try to pick brightly colored yarn and I always keep extra supplies on hand – you never know when they will be needed. Remember keep the lessons short and sweet to accommodate the short attention span of children.

Most importantly keep it fun. Let’s face it most children want to have fun. Let them enjoy learning by not being as interested in them doing it perfectly, but in learning the techniques and having an enjoyable experience. The perfecting of the stitches will come later.

Remember to praise them. I was teaching one child to crochet that was really slow at picking it up. I concentrated on them finishing the project more then them getting it just right. In time she became a very good crocheter. You can always find things to praise a child on. Examples are “that is a great color yarn you picked”; “you are really a good listener”; “I love the way you are holding your hook”. When they do get a stitch right, “that last stitch looks really good”. When children feel good about their work, it will help encourage them to practice more and progress quicker.

Always have a model to display of a project so your students can see what they will be making. Everyone learns in different ways, but with children you want to be a visual as possible. By having the finished project to model for them, it will help motivate them to want one and help them to see what them need to copy.

Some final tips I have learned over the years when dealing with children:

1. Stay away from dark color yarns when learning how to crochet. No blacks, dark blues or  browns.

2. Start with patterns that are made up of single crochet (Single Crochet) and chain stitch (The Chain Stitch). Teach one stitch at a time before you move on to the next one. Crocheting is a skill that is t aught in a step by step way. Your student must understand and be able to do the first stitch before moving to the second stitch.
3. I always encourage children to crochet the foundation chain with a hook one size larger than the one we are using. For example if the pattern calls for a H we would use a I to crochet the chain. This will keep the chain from getting to tight.
4. If a child is really struggling with a first row of single crochet, I will sometimes do the first row for them, then let them learn the single crochet. Then on their second project they usually can master that first row.
5. Encourage them to go home and make the same project again (while it is fresh in their minds) as a gift for someone. This will help reinforce what they learned that day.
6. Wear comfortable clothes. If you are uncomfortable you will not enjoy the teaching session.
7. Remind children it is not a race, everyone learns at different paces.
8. You want to use a yarn weight of “4” or above.
9. When teaching children I keep my class size down to around 4 – 6 students.

In closing, remember to KEEP IT FUN! I know I stated this already. But it is so important for a good learning experience. Just go with the flow and do not dwell to long on how to hold the yarn, or hook. Once the child gets started they will work out their own methods of holding the yarn and hooks. Just keep them going.

If you are unsure how to celebrate National Crocheting Month, consider teaching a child to crochet.

Until next time, keep those hooks flying.