One of the fantastic things about children is that they are infinitely curious. They always ask questions and try to figure out the ‘why’ of things. Couple that with unbounded energy and a natural tenacity to hold on like a bulldog in pursuing things they want (think toy store tantrums), and you have a recipe for a first-rate entrepreneur.
The problem is we don’t always know the best ways to channel those qualities in a positive direction. In an earlier article, we talked about how learning entrepreneurship can help in every aspect of your child’s life. Today, we want to share some tips we have learned in the classroom on how you can effectively cultivate that entrepreneurial spirit.
Let Them Figure Things Out
Encourage your children to seek out the answers to many of their ‘why’ questions on their own. Direct them to books, magazines, videos, and digital content on the internet to gather information on topics they’re interested in. A trip to the library, either in-person or virtual, will likewise yield a treasure trove of data.
Guide your discussions instead of giving a quick answer. Your daughter may ask, “Why is the sky blue?” Instead of answering directly, you could say something like, “Well, I bet there’s an online virtual school resource that can help you find out. Why don’t we go over to the computer and take a look.”
Another aspect of this kind of thinking is to help your children problem-solve relational issues independently. While we would like to be the ones to protect our children from things like friend drama, peer issues, or school concerns, a better idea is to teach them to self-advocate for their needs and then back them up.
Teach Them to Handle Money
Many kids feel like as long as you have that little piece of plastic in your wallet, you have plenty of money to spend on them. And while many middle and high schools are incorporating financial literacy into their curriculum, it’s never too early to have them start learning how to handle money at home.
Your children can gain a basic understanding of how to earn money by doing set tasks for a regular allowance, completing odd jobs for neighbors and friends, or starting their own business ventures (e.g., a lemonade stand, landscaping service, etc.). From there, they must learn what to do with the money they earn.
Help them by going over things like paying bills and expenses first. Let’s say your son mows lawns every weekend to make money. His costs would include gas (if he’s using a non-electric mower), transportation to and from wherever his clients live, and any additional funds for equipment repairs or maintenance. After that, you’ll want to work with him to create a budget where most of his profits will go into a savings account or to investments, and the rest will stay in a checking account for him to use whenever he wants. Another great idea is to have your kids save money for some of the items they may want but don’t necessarily need, such as a car or bike, a new video game system, a special toy, or even a trip or theme park tickets.
Introduce Them to Responsibility
We gain a tremendous amount of self-confidence from making and keeping commitments. When your child consistently completes their chores, such as walking the dog and clearing the table after dinner, they become reliable contributors to the family unit. They will also develop better time management skills and learn that prioritizing responsibilities like homework and chores before leisure activities has significant rewards.
The keys to teaching responsibility are to set clear, reasonable expectations and apply accountability. You wouldn’t expect your five-year-old to clean out the garage, but it’s reasonable, for example, to have him pick up his toys and put them away before dinner. And, if he doesn’t do his job, you need to hold him accountable. He needs to know that you depend on him to complete this task every evening.
Canadian author Bob Proctor put it this way: “Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result.”
Nurture Talents, Interests, and Passions
Inspire their creativity and help them pursue the things they love. Learning to take time for the things we enjoy is an important life lesson. In addition, many of these pursuits may naturally lead to profitable business ventures, enabling kids to see that while work is necessary for survival, it can also be enjoyable.
Does your daughter enjoy taking care of animals? She might want to look into a dog-walking business. Or maybe your son loves to bake with you. Offer to let him bake cookies or muffins for a community bake sale and then share the profits. With your help, kids can start at an early age to think of creative ways to have fun and make money.
One young lady was only nine years old when she wanted to begin babysitting. She had always loved babies and children, and being the oldest of three, she was adept at caring for them. However, her state only allowed children aged 10 and up to babysit. At her mother’s suggestion and with her help, the little girl soon viewed having to wait a year as an opportunity instead of a setback.
She took a babysitting course through the Red Cross, assembled a variety of children’s activities and games, and even ordered business cards. On her 10th birthday, she promptly began to hand those business cards out to every adult her mother knew and trusted. By the time she reached driving age, she had a healthy savings built up to use toward buying a car.
An increasing number of public and private elementary schools realize that teaching kids to thrive in an ever-changing world involves much more than giving them a solid foundation in the basics – reading, writing, math, science and technology, and history. They must also master entrepreneurial skills like critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and effective communication for success.
Ask about the Academy of Scholars’ entrepreneurship-heavy curriculum, which includes things like coding classes for kids and mastery of click funnels for launching and scaling online businesses.