Believe us, this isn't as hard as it used to be. Since the early part of the millennium, home crafts have been steadily increasing their takeover, and where its most shocking us (in a nice way) is the amount of the younger generation putting down the stylus and trying out a needle and thread. If you're a mother with a dream of embroidering with your daughter (or your son - another current trickling trend!) but haven't quite unleashed their inner crafting spirit, here's five little nudges to help them get over their barriers:
#1 Decorate Their Nursery/Playroom with Framed PatternsA sneaky psychological tactic, but one they certainly won't object to at the time. When their fingers are not yet ready to make fabric art, the walls of their bedroom or nursery are a ripe canvas to cover with child-friendly patterns and characters that you yourself have brought into being. The lovely sight of stitch will bury its way into their sub-concious, allowing them to associate it with the fondness of childhood...very much the same way as a Mcdonald's Happy Meal can, only this is far better for them!
#2 Start Them Off With Easy Beginner SamplersCross Stitch is one of those activities where if you dive right into the deep end, you'll become too afraid to plunge elsewhere. There's plenty of things to look for in a kit your child will be able to dip their toes in, such as a large grid with stiff fabric, few colours of embroidery floss, a small size and easy to follow instructions/charts. Once they've completed a few pieces, built some confidence and started to see how enjoyable it is, then you can start to help them advance through the different sized aidas.
#3 Look For Kits Featuring Familiar CharactersThe reason the beginner's kits prove to be so popular is their universal appeal with children. Brightly coloured and adorable looking animals are hard to pass by, but what happens when a kid grows out of the simple stuff and wants a bit more complexity? The nature and culturally rich patterns we'd happily pick up aren't going as appealing to growing tastes, hence we need to ask a bit of help from the many wonderful familiar faces that inspire and entertain our little ones. Whether its the comedic stare of Shaun the Sheep, irresistible design of Hello Kitty or timeless icons like Taddy Teddy or Peter Rabbit, no fan can resist the allure of crafting their favourite friends in fiction.
#4 Help Them With Some Practical Cross Stitch ProjectsSome kids are all about decorating their personal space, but many others might not see the point of completing a pattern that they can do little with. Thankfully there are a wealth of kits that leave a finished product that anyone of any age can get some usage out of. This may be a colourful or character-decorated cushion for their bed or couch, a handmade card to selectively give out, or knitted decorations for their clothes or bags. These might require a little help from Mum and Dad, but it opens up entirely new ideas of what can be done with mere needlecraft.
#5 Give Them Their Very Own Sewing BasketAbsolutely no true crafter, young or old, can resist the allure of a well made and beautifully decorated Sewing Box or Crafting Bag. It helps turn cross stitch from a mere past time to an extension of your personality and your identity. The difficulty in trying to get younglings cross stitching lies in them simply not wanting to copy their parents behaviour, thus, getting their own tools and tool box will make it feel more like a hobby that's truly theirs.
How have you managed to get your children into the cross stitching craze? Did you need to be quite clever about it, or was there actually no coercion involved at all? We'd love for you to fill us in on your experiences in the comments, and over at our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages. Any photos or completed pieces by your child (or the both of you!) would definitely make our day!