There’s a lot to love about sewing; it’s fun, creative, and it’s a practical life skill that will come in handy many times over. So many of us have fond memories of piecing together scraps from mom or grandma’s sewing basket or faithfully studying our first embroidery patterns, even starting at a young age.
Sewing is an excellent hobby for kids, especially when they’re stuck indoors. Like so many other arts and crafts hobbies, it’s not just enjoyable, it can play a positive role in their mental health.
Simple hand-sewing is fairly easy to pick up, and you may already have the necessary supplies to get them started, making it an easy and cheap DIY project to begin on a rainy day. If you’re not an expert yourself, there’s plenty of easy-to-follow hand-sewing tutorials available online, and learning alongside them can be a wonderful bonding experience.
Here are some of the ways sewing can benefit your children’s mental health:
1. It can help them to overcome trauma and negative feelings
When children are faced with a difficult or traumatic event, learning to process the range of feelings they’re experiencing in a healthy way is essential to their future mental health. In addition to appropriate therapeutic intervention, sewing as a hobby may help them to overcome traumas and negative feelings. Hands-on creation of art has been scientifically proven to help people process different types of trauma, likely because it offers a mindful way to reconstruct a positive self-image and express oneself creatively.
2. It’s an exercise in mindfulness
We live in a society in which multi-tasking is the norm, and kids learn from an early age to overstimulate themselves by doing more than one thing at a time. Unlearning this behavior in favor of mindfulness, which refers to concentrating on one thing at a time, can help to restore calm and relaxation. Expert Natalie Grant of The Crafty Needle notes: “Sewing projects require not only mental concentration, but physical work as well; it’s not usually possible to multi-task while sewing, making it a mindful hobby.”
3. It can improve their self esteem
Childhood can be a tough time for self-esteem — finding acceptance among peers and developing a personal identity are challenges that take time and guidance. Many kids find self esteem through hands-on hobbies like sewing, where they can learn new skills, see themselves improve, and enjoy the tangible results of their progress. Not only will they feel good about increasing their skill set, they’ll be very proud when they can do their own mending or create a gift to give to a friend or family member.
4. It can help them calm down
Big emotions are fairly common in childhood. Kids are still learning to deal with frustration, rejection, and disappointment, and emotional regulation is something that can take time to perfect. Instead of slamming doors and stomping feet, redirecting to a calming and meditative activity like a sewing project can help them to calm down. It keeps their hands busy while allowing their mind to relax and return to calm, making it easier for them to process and talk about those tough feelings.
5. It’s a screen-free hobby
Keeping entertained with screened devices while stuck indoors is fine to a point, but it’s not the best or most productive way for kids to spend the majority of their time. Too much screen time can end in sensory overload, and endlessly scrolling or playing can make tech a habit that’s hard to break. Setting screen-time limits and encouraging hands-on hobbies like sewing is a much healthier alternative.
Whether they simply master the basics or develop a lifelong fondness for sewing, you can be confident that their time with the needle and thread will be well spent. In addition to bolstering their mental health, sewing teaches math skills, encourages the use of planning and critical thinking, and helps to refine hand-eye coordination. Getting started requires little more than a basic sewing kit and some old scraps for practicing on — cut up some old pillowcases and t-shirts, and they’ll be off and running.