Monday, October 22, 2007

Ritalin Sticks

Please note the lovely handknitted garments worn by The Princess: black fingerless gloves and bright yellow kerchief thing. They were made not by me, but by MonkeyBoy who is a fine if erratic knitter in his own right.

My boy struggles with attention issues and has a lot of the classic ADD characteristics. He's impulsive, has to tap his feet and fiddle with things, is easily overwhelmed, and often has a hard time staying on task. As hard as it is to be around I know it's ten times harder to live it so I am always happy to see him engaged in something that allows him to be still and relaxed. Often it's reading or drawing. And, once again, it's knitting. He'll go months at a time without picking up yarn and needles but then he remembers goes on a wild knitting streak. And he's good. We should all have such even stitches.

Knitting is good for kids. It's a time tested activity in Waldorf schools--the dolls creep me out but I love that they do lots of knitting. Even more mainstream schools are finding many benefits to teaching kids knitting. At our house, I love it when MonkeyBoy settles down to knit. Sometimes he listens to books on tape, but often he's willing to engage in thoughtful discussions. He's excited when he masters a new technique. And the generosity with which he knitted the items for his sister was absolutely lovely to behold. She is so proud to wear his knitted gifts and he's clearly thrilled at seeing her wear them.


Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

What is amazing is the focus that kids with ADHD bring to rhythmic activities--like knitting. I think there is something calming to the mind--and heart--in them.

He does have wonderfully even stitches!

beth h said...

Do you think he'd be willing to teach ME to knit? I'd love to learn how to make a pair of those cool mitts.
We could trade a lesson for a lesson sometime. Yes?

Elizabeth said...

Why do the dolls creep you out? I think they are so much lovelier than those awful hard plastic ones.

It's great to have something that works so well at getting your boy centered. I wish I had something like that for my kids!

Tikkunknitter said...

I share your enthusiasm for knitting children. My boys learned to quilt in elementary school, and one knits a bit now that he's college age. I've taught quite a few kids to knit (I started when I was five!), and most recently I started a knitting program in the synagogue's religious school: a knitting group for the parents (R.S. Tikkun Knitters) and group projects for the kids, using Peace Fleece Baghdad Blue yarn. I teach a few kids at a time to work on a class scarf - the next group adds its rows, and so on. Within a few months each class should have completed a garter stitch scarf. The kids sign a card as they contribute, which will be given along with the scarf, to the local Jewish Family & Children's Services. You can read more about it at:
(though the site needs updating).
It's always a pleasure to check in on your family's life.

drug-free said...

Congrats! Knitting is way better treatment than Ritalin. (The research beyond this link is illuminating and sad.)

Speaking of knitting, its only 4 days until Christmas presents are due!!!!!