Mindset

5 ways to raise entrepreneurial children

5 ways to remove restrictions and encourage your children to lean into and embrace their natural entrepreneurial spirit.

3 minutes

By Fiona Killackey

Asking questions, trying new things, learning from mistakes, dreaming big…When you think about it, children and entrepreneurs have a lot in common.

Despite this, many of us were raised to believe in attaining the 9-5 “safe and secure” career and, perhaps, unconsciously, we are passing these pressures onto our children.

Here’s five ways to remove restrictions and encourage your children to lean into and embrace their natural entrepreneurial spirit.  

1. Ask them questions

Children love to be asked for their opinion so why not utilise this trait and provide learning opportunities at the same time? Next time you’re at the supermarket instead of asking them to stop touching this and that, ask them what they might change about the supermarket if they were in charge? How could a supermarket be more fun for children or what additions could they make to ensure mums and dads are happier shopping there?

Likewise, next time you’re out to dinner with older children, ask them how much money they think it costs to run a restaurant and what they think of the menu and overall design. What would they change? You might even suggest they try some quick calculations to see which item on the menu would bring in the greatest profit.

When you take the time to ask children questions, you allow them space to start questioning the world around them with confidence rather than hesitation.


2. Share your work

Many of us have been raised to think that work should stop the moment you come home, but sharing what you do can pique the interests of kids and get them to start thinking about businesses the way entrepreneurs do (as well as allow them to see how much mummy does for the family outside of the home!). Break down one of your work areas into problem, solution and results and then share this with your child/ren. Provide them with insight into how you knew there was a problem, how you arrived at a solution and then what the end results were. Then, ask them to think of a challenge in their own lives and get them to break it down into what the problem is, how they could solve it and then what the results of those actions may be. This gets them to start thinking from a solutions-results mindset, which is an essential trait of successful entrepreneurs. 

3. Reward persistence, not perfection

It’s so tempting to tell your little ones how fantastic and amazing and brilliant they are, but studies show this isn’t always the best tactic for their later years. Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential, suggests that by rewarding persistence, rather than perfection, parents can encourage resilience and a “keep going” attitude in their children.

Next time your child does well on a test or at a sports event, focus not on the end result but on their persistence and courage to keep going regardless of any setbacks.

4. Get them (consciously) talking

When I was growing up my dad used to ask my siblings and I to each stand in the middle of our front room and talk about any topic of his choosing for 1-minute without saying “um”. It was a simple game that we loved but it also taught us to speak freely about anything, with a (small-ish) crowd watching on. While I’m still not the most outgoing person, I can hold a conversation with strangers and feel (relatively) comfortable pitching to a crowd. I really think this trait was given fuel by my dad’s games (a.k.a. ways to keep four children occupied on rainy days).

Look at ways you can encourage your children to speak to a crowd (even if just their parents or grandparents), as this skill is one of the most important for any entrepreneur and one, even as adults, many of us struggle with. 

5. Celebrate success stories

While it’s great for kids to pin up posters of their favourite footy heroes or enjoy tunes from their favourite pop celebrity, helping them discover respectable, hard working entrepreneurs can also boost their imagination and give them a sense of what’s possible in later life. Consider watching documentaries together about business people you admire or even playing business-related podcasts while driving. Make the experience fun for them by asking them what they thought was the coolest thing about that person/company and what they might have done differently.

 

Creating a more entrepreneurial environment for your children doesn’t mean they have to become the next Steve Jobs or Estée Lauder. It does, however, get them to start thinking about the way things work, about business and money, about why things exist and how we can all work to make a better world – traits everyone should possess, regardless of job title.  

 

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