The world is filled with entrepreneurs, and it’s a good thing too! After all, where would we be without things like Velcro and disposable diapers? According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, of the over half a million requests for patents that were filed in 2010, over 244,000 were issued. Because entrepreneurs are how we continue to invent new products and services, it’s important to help create an environment that encourages our children to carry on in the same entrepreneurial spirit.
Check out 10 ways to spark the entrepreneurial spirit and fan the flame of creativity in your own child.
- Encourage her ideas. Build up her confidence. Brainstorm with her if she comes to you with an idea for something she could do. Ask her questions and help her to come up with her own answers.
- Never tell him something won’t work. Instead of telling him that there’s no way a lemonade stand will work in front of your house because there’s no traffic, help him come to his own conclusion. By responding negatively to his ideas he could feel defeated and like his ideas are unworthy. According to Mimi Doe, parenting expert and author of 10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting, parents need to be careful with what they say because words have the ability to lift a child’s spirit or crush it.
- Expose your child to other entrepreneurial kids. Head to the library and look up books that contain information about kids who have started their own business and been successful. Ask around and see if there are any entrepreneurial kids in your area that she could speak with.
- Help with a lemonade stand. He has seen other kids on TV having lemonade stands and making money, and he wants in on the action. If he comes to you with the idea of a lemonade stand go with it. Don’t squash his excitement. Help him make the lemonade and devise his pricing and marketing model to show your support.
- Let your child make mistakes. Parents often want to save kids from making mistakes, but mistakes are how everyone learns. You can’t protect your children from everything. If she sits at lemonade stand for a while and doesn’t sell anything, she will wonder why. When she asks, don’t just answer directly. Again, ask her questions like, “Do you see very many people walking past your stand? How do people know you are here?” She will figure out that she either needs to move or put up a sign directing people to her.
- Teach your child about cost versus profit. Once he has had a taste of success and made some money, now comes the challenging part. Explain to him how much it costs to make lemonade and serve it to the public in a cup with ice. Help him do the math, if necessary, and ask him if he made enough money to pay for the ingredients that went into his lemonade. If not then you can talk about why that is and what he can do to change that. Alyson Schafer, parenting expert and psychotherapist, says that parents should take any opportunity to teach their children about the value of money.
- Figure out what she is good at. After her initial foray into having a lemonade stand she may be interested in making more money. Ask her what she thinks she is good at. Can she make and sell bracelets or necklaces? Can she knit? Does she like to make cookies? According to Schafer, jobs like these show children that work can be fun and engaging.
- Challenge him to make something. Once you have brainstormed with him on different things he could make or do then challenge him to make up a bunch of whatever product he’s decided on. Coming up with the idea is only half the battle; you have to be able to actually produce a product to succeed.
- Allow her to sell what she has made. Maybe she takes friendship bracelets to school and tries to sell them to her friends. Or maybe she can sit at a table at her brother’s soccer practice and sell granola bars. Whatever the product is, support her vision and help her to thrive.
- Let him enjoy the extra spending money he makes. One of the most important things to do is let him enjoy the fruits of his labor. Money is a strong motivator and it could motivate him to keep going with his business.
Contacts and sources:Tina Marconi