Being an entrepreneur with young children is no easy task. You have to be at work everyday and involved with your business. This dedication sometimes calls for you to put in 12 hour days. There will times when you leave town for business trips — and not be able to spend quality time with your family. But here are some great ideas to teach your kids entrepreneurship early in life.
The last thing you want is to be a distant parent who misses out on your children’s childhood.
The good news is that on-top of managing your time better, you can reduce this friction by actually getting your kids involved in your business at an early age.
How your business can help your kids be successful in life.
Not only does having your kids do something for you at the office give you a little extra time with them — it will help make your child become a success in life. Being taught about entrepreneurship at a young age can help a child develop life-long skills. Skills like communication and networking discover what they’re strong at, find their passion, and become more self-motivated.
How can you teach your children about these entrepreneurial skills and how it will benefit them? Start with the following nine ways to teach your little ones about entrepreneurship.
1. Help your child set effective goals.
Setting goals can help your children develop grit. It also teaches them to take responsibility for their own actions and promotes a “can-do” attitude. Of course, since 92 person of us fail to achieve goals, helping your kids set effective goals is easier said than done.
Thankfully, research has found that you can accomplish this feat by;
- Letting them choose their big goal by asking questions like, “What’s something that you wish you could achieve?”
- Discussing the purpose of their goals by asking, “What’s the benefit of doing well in class?”
- Breaking the big goal into smaller steps.
- Brainstorming potential obstacles so that they have a plan to overcome them.
2. Teach your kids financial literacy.
The sooner you teach your children about money, the sooner they’ll be able to understand the importance of managing and investing they’re earned from chores or gifts. Best of all? You don’t need to be a financial guru to teach your kids all about financial literacy as long as you’re aware of the basics;
Explain the difference between wants and needs.
Believe it or not, this is even a concept that preschoolers can grasp.
Make sure that your children know that money is finite.
This means if they purchase a toy, then they won’t have enough to buy a second toy.
Allow your children to make money mistakes.
This is one of the most important steps — it’s when they make a disappointing impulse buy. They still have the safety net of living at home.
Helping them delay gratification.
This is having your kids want something really costly. Start it young. Regardless of the fact that you have a lot of money — you will pay only half of the purchase amount — and allow the child to save up the other half.
Teaching them that credit means borrowing money from others at a cost.
Handing out your cash — sometimes to buy love — is not what you want to do with your children. You may not want to charge interest to your kid.
One thing that helps is charging interest and have your child see that interest. When the item is paid off — put the interest amount in a separate savings account.
Stress that money has a time value.
“Now how long did it take you to earn that one pair of “Air Jordans?” You mow three lawns in the summer and shovel five driveways in the winter. Plus to work at this, this, and this.
Provide a realistic figure of how much money it takes to run the household or business.
Lay it out for your kids — plain and simply. I make this much money. Divide your salary up into hours you actually work. I work this many hours to pay for the house. This many hours to pay for the car. This many hours to pay for your school and and yoga class.
3. Let children solve their own problems.
Resist the urge to fix all of your children’s problems. I understand that’s not easy, but letting your kids solve their own problems is an entrepreneurial skills that can only be developed through experience.
This doesn’t mean that you have to let them completely loose here. But, you could at least guide them by offering choices, such as explaining what other children have used or creating a choice wheel.
You could also introduce them the Scientific Method, which can build creativity, curiosity, and confidence in your child.
4. Foster creativity.
Creativity is a key entrepreneurial trait. It can help strengthen emotional intelligence, while also helping us become more flexible and better problem solvers. Another perk, specifically for your kids, is that creativity is essential for subjects like science, math, and writing.
To foster creativity in your children, try out these seven ideas from Christine Carter for the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley:
- Give your children “ unstructured, child-directed, imaginative play –unencumbered by adult direction.”
- Foster a creative atmosphere where children can brainstorm ideas, as well as make mistakes and fail.
- Give your children the autonomy to explore their ideas.
- Encourage them to read and participate in arts.
- Allow them to express “divergent thought” by encouraging them to develop more than one solution.
- Don’t reward them for being creative because they “interfere with the creative process.”
- Emphasize more on the process, as opposed what your children have achieved.
5. Get kids involved in the community.
Successful and happy individuals have one thing common; they give back to their community. There’s several reasons why this is true. For starters, we’re hardwired to help others. In fact, giving activates the part of the brain associated with altruism and happiness.
Additionally, giving can also help you find your passion, strengthen your skills, and develop empathy. Volunteering, for example, can also offer networking opportunities.
However, just simply donating food or money to a charitable organization can be difficult for children to understand where these contributions are going. It’s recommended, then, that you start at home. Begin by encouraging small acts of kindness, like helping a family member, and then work up to something bigger.
After that, sit down with kids and find out which people, organizations, or causes they’re interested in helping. Then, find ways to help these people, organizations, or causes in your local community. For instance, if your children are passionate about animals, volunteer as a family at a local animal shelter.
6. Find “learning lessons” in adversities.
Throughout life, and especially in school, we’re taught that failure is bad and it should be avoided at all cost. As you know, this isn’t the case as an entrepreneur since failure can be beneficial.
Napoleon Hill, author of the classic book Think And Grow Rich, states that, “Every failure carries with it a seed of equal or greater benefit.”
By allowing your children to fail will encourage them to think of various ways to accomplish their goals and learn from their past mistakes. As a result, they become more confident and resilient.
To teach this lesson, don’t punish your kids when they a mistake. Instead have a discussion on the factors that lead to the failure. Then, brainstorm ideas that will prevent this from happening again in the future. Once they’ve stated what they’ve learned from this adversity, encourage them to never give-up when they experience a setback.
7. Encourage them to learn how to code.
If you want to give your children a competitive edge in the future, then there’s nothing better than teaching them how to code.
After all, coding can improve academic performance in areas like math, build communication and organizational skills, and makes them feel empowered. What’s more, it can prepare them for career in technology — or least prepare them in innovating technology.
Because STEM jobs have been on the rise, there’s more than resources that can teach kids to code, such as:
- Code.org. This non-profit organization provides numerous tools, resources, and tutorials to help anyone learn how to code.
- Hopscotch. This website is designed for children between the ages of 9 to 11. This helps them learn how to program games.
- Move the Turtle. This site is also built for the ages of 9 to 11 year old. The free iPad app helps children develop critical thinking skills.
- Daisy the Dinosaur. Children as young as four can use this app to discover the basics of coding.
- Kidsruby. This is a fun way for kids to learn how to program Ruby code.
- Sphero. This is an interactive hands-on toy that can help you kids learn some basic programming skills as they expand the existing robotic capabilities of the toy.
8. Brainstorm business idea with your kids.
Your children’s entrepreneurial journey will probably start with receiving an allowance for household chores.
[editor note: I NEVER “gave” my children an allowance. Nothing is free. Certain chores were expected in our household for part of living there. Feed the dog, clear your dishes, have your room clean. Also, you do what I ask and I will do what you ask. Period. We help each other.]
Eventually, they’ll discover that they have their own ideas for making their own money. Have a brainstorming session with your kids so that they can come up with the own business ideas and start a business when they’re young.
Like you, yourself did when developed your business or company. Start with the basics — like what they’re skilled at — and what their talents are. If they’re creative — then maybe start selling their homemade products to neighbors, community events. Assist them in setting-up their own eCommerce site.
9. Be an influencer.
As reported in a Fast Company article, research shows that “parents play a huge influence in determining a child’s work ethic and habits. This means that how you talk to your kids about your work and job, including your satisfaction (or lack thereof) with it, directly shapes the ideas about work that your children are likely to adopt.”
Professor Wayne Baker from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business suggests that parents should “be conscious about the messages [they] send.”
Baker, speaking of his own son, adds, “I do want him to know that whatever he does, it’s possible to love what you do, like I do. Because when you love your work, it doesn’t seem like work.”
Furthermore, research from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education found that parental conversation shapes “academic socialization,” establishes kids’ expectations, and helps draw connections between you children’s current behavior and their future goals.