TURN TYKES INTO TYCOONS
Could your child be the next Warren Buffett or Oprah Winfrey? Experts tell how to foster that entrepreneurial spirit in your little one.
By teaching your kids to be enterprising, you’re not just preparing them to create their own income stream in the future – you’re also helping them develop values like hard work and responsibility.
Successful entrepreneurs all have the ability to look at situations differently, the confidence and desire to do things differently, and the ability to find opportunities in problems. Entrepreneurs are also prepared to take risks and are more likely to do things unconventionally.
To raise enterprising children, encourage them to dream and seek to make a difference in other people’s lives. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Encourage Them to Read
Look for stories that teach the right money values and that offer simple lessons in entrepreneurship. Go through a story with your kids after they finish reading it, to make sure they understand what is being taught.
Develop Their Skills Through Daily Activities
Focus on life skills such as creativity and innovation, decision-making, problemsolving, time-management, research and communication. Just about any activity works to help your kids hone these skills. If they are older (about nine or 10), send them to the supermarket to shop for the evening meal. Get them to prepare the shopping list and handle the money. If they are younger, assign a task (such as putting away their toys) and give them a time limit to complete it. This helps develop their problem-solving and time-management skills.
Inculcate Financial Knowledge
Going for endless numbers of entrepreneurship classes won’t help if your children don’t understand the value of money and how to manage it. Teach them about budgeting, investing and saving, starting with their allowance.
Experts have observed that latchkey kids turn out to be very enterprising when they grow up, possibly because they are more independent than non-latchkey children. While you don’t have to ditch the domestic helper, your children could certainly benefit from learning to do things for themselves. Think simple tasks, like getting them to help with the household chores.
Help Them Come Up With a Business Idea
Brainstorming with them can be fun. Encourage them to plan a business and help them identify the risks and failures that may be involved in starting such a business. Help them see that failure is not something to be feared.
Spend some time examining different businesses with your little ones. Help them understand what these businesses do and what can be done differently and better.
Find Them a Good Mentor
If your kids are older (aged eight-plus), help them find business mentors, people they are likely to respect and whom they aspire to emulate. Look within your business and social networks – try to identify someone who owns a business and who wouldn’t mind acting as a mentor to your children. Your kids can “work” or help this person out for the day, learning the ropes and seeing first-hand what it takes to run a company. The mentor can check in on your kids from time to time, and make himself available on certain days to guide your children or share important business lessons with them.
Get Them to Contribute at Home
Be upfront with your kids about the family’s financial situation. Get them involved in financial decisions and even in your family’s investment choices. Better yet, encourage them to contribute to the family finances – they can help out with the home/family business, for example. This will help them develop the right entrepreneurial values.