Teaching the Kids
Today, I had the privileged to teach 3 kids how to crochet. I don’t usually teach the youth as sometimes it can be challenging, especially when a child doesn’t want to learn.
All of the three kids learned how to chain, single crochet, double crochet and while one child took her time to learn, the other two picked up half double crochet with the hopes they will teach the 3rd child.
I was more impressed with the mother today, she let me do my thing without interrupting any of the learning process. She sat back and crocheted quietly. While I didn’t think one of the kids would learn today, I was so surprised. I think it greatly helped that their mother was quiet because I was a stranger teaching. Being a 3rd party teacher helps as if I am offering suggestions, it’s not perceived as a personal attack.
Tips to Teaching Kids
I’ve learned with kids that it’s a two way street. They have to give me their attention while I am willing to give them mine. I’ve had kids in the past that were forced to sit down with me and you can tell they have hated the moment as it wasn’t there choice. I’ve also had kids where the parent likes to intervene and correct too quickly without allowing the kids to make their mistakes so they can learn. In one particular case, I have seen one parent completely humiliate herself because she prefer to be right than to be inspirational.
Society teaches kids to be perfect and expect perfection. Crochet can be picked up easily but it’s not going to look pretty the first time. Encouragement when they are in the learning process is key.
Also, biggest key is to know when to be right and when to let the creativity soar. Too many people expect the student to learn exactly the way they know. Know when to back off and let the students find their own rhythm.
- Time and place is really key. Choose a time or place when the child is not being stimulated by another activity.
- Respect the word “No”. If the child is uninterested in learning, you need to respect that. Do you really think a children is going to be open minded to absorb information if they are not willing?
- Get the kids involved in selecting the yarn. Giving a child a choice of yarn to play with that is reasonable to the learning process is key. It makes them personally accountable for the results of their finished sample.
- Use a larger hook and thicker yarn. Size K, 6.5 mm and Chunky Weight Yarn. It’s easier to hold and easier to see the stitches.
- Use simple words and memory hooks that make it fun. Don’t start teaching the proper words right off the bat. Making the learning fun is a great place to start.
- Know when to be right and when to let creativity flow. Most kids don’t hold the yarn or the hook exactly as I do. Give the kids a starting point but most often than not, they will hold the yarn and hook to what is comfortable for them. In time, which most likely will not be in the learning session, they will adjust holding the hook and yarn to be better. We each hold our yarn and hooks slightly differently, don’t expect students to copy you 100%.
- Watch and let silence be key. If you are filling in the silence with corrective words, the students will be over stimulated with trying to learn something new and feeling the pressure of the teacher pushing them.
- Keep instructions of praise concise and genuine. For example, saying “you’re doing great!” isn’t good enough. Be specific. “I love the way you thought about rotating your hook like you did!”.
- Kids tend to know when they are messing up, know the signs to back off and let the creativity kick in to figure it out. I use simple things like, “ummm hummm”, ‘nope try again’, you’re on the right track but let me give you a hint. When they start going in the right direction… “That’s right”. “You got it!”. “Keep on Going”.
- Make the learning fun and rewarding. You don’t need to get treats or offer cash rewards for a great job. Verbal recognition is all you need!
- Know when to quit and realize the kid has had enough for the session to call it quits. If they are asking to learn more… you know you have a new crocheter on board.
Not everyone is meant to crochet and some kids may fight off the process and never learn at all. Know that if they don’t learn as a child and you exposed them to it, you will most likely be a story they share in their adult years saying “Well my mom used to crochet but I never had the patience but I am willing to learn now!”
Hopefully some of my tips help you. If you have tips to teaching people, please share below.
ALSO, I use the same techniques in teaching adults!