What do we mean when we refer to an “entrepreneurial mindset”? Why should we teach kids this from an early age? Norman Goldstein, founder of BKFK (By Kids For Kids), asked himself the same question and his answer was to create an organization which would help kids towards empowerment in being creative, innovative and self disciplined.
These techniques don’t just relegate your child to a career in entrepreneurship. These are the pillars to be successful in any field whether they choose to be a teacher, nurse, fire-fighter or surgeon. This entrepreneurial mindset will determine how they face the world. Here are 6 steps to make sure your kids will benefit and thrive.
1. Set 3 main goals
These goals should be written down as they are far more likely to be achieved when they are in black and white. Ask your kids what their top 3 goals are. These can range from getting on the baseball team to improving their math grades or becoming faster readers. Then, ask them what steps they will have to take to start achieving these goals. Encourage them to think of a step by step approach and get them to write these down too. These can be ticked off when they are completed and that is a great indicator of progress and a powerful motivator too. There are some great tips here about how to write these goals down.
2. Help them to problem solve
Getting kids to identify problem areas in their lives and then finding solutions is a great way to teach them to be autonomous. They may be having issues with friends, difficulties in completing a homework task, or trouble with just deciding what to wear.
How do you help them along the way to make decisions for themselves without actually providing the solution? If a child is being picked on in recess, brainstorm with him or her various solutions. Encourage the child to look at the pros and cons. If a teenager spends all her money on the first attractive thing she sees in a shop, the natural consequence is that all her money for the week or month is gone. After this incident, talking about how to make a better choice the next time helps to build problem solving skills.
3. Teach them the value of money
Encourage a child to learn about the value of money and wise spending because managing money is an essential life skill. A great way to start is by taking them to a yard sale. There are usually loads of kids’ stuff there and they may sniff out a bargain.
Next, help them to increase their allowance by paying them for certain demanding chores around the house and yard. These should be rather special tasks and different from normal household chores which are unpaid. With all of this extra money, you can take them to the bank with you and encourage them to open an account and start saving as soon as they are old enough.
As your children grow into their teenage years, talk about investing money and how it can generate more money in the future. Discuss how you use coupons and save money on shopping and how you look for good value. Ask them if they want to save up for a special treat such as going to Disneyland.
4. Teach them about failure
Failure at school is taboo. Teaching our kids that there are lessons to be learned from failure in any aspect of life is a great way to instil in them the right entrepreneurial mindset. Here are some ways you can do that: Forget about punishment if poor grades are coming in. It is a much better idea to talk about what went wrong, why it happened and how to prevent the next poor grade. This is a teachable moment and a very important one because the child is learning from failure. Looking at what went wrong instead of blaming the teacher is a great way to start. Self esteem is built on achievement.
“When you move beyond failure …..you learn how to tolerate frustration, how to get creative and take different approaches to tasks, and also how to ask for help—all things that are necessary for long-term success in life.” – Rahel Briggs, child psychologist at Montefiore Children’s Hospital, Bronx, NY.
5. Teach about communication
How many times have you seen adults and kids glued to their smartphones? Are they really communicating? Face-to-face contact and communication are essential in business and personal relationships. Limit your child’s use of cell phones for communication, including texting.
Get them to talk to you and encourage them to be polite, respectful and use eye contact. Ask them to practice writing real emails to you so that their use of acronyms and text language does not take over their formal writing standards. Another example is to ask them to write you an email asking for a birthday present and stating why they want it and how they would benefit from it. No abbreviations are allowed!
6. Encourage learning
The thirst for knowledge can never be satisfied. Kids love learning new things and this curiosity will last a lifetime if it is begun at an early age. Playing stimulating games with a baby can help kick-start their intellectual development from very early on. You can spot the difference straightaway in a home where kids have been encouraged to learn, read and discover things for themselves.
This is what helps them to develop the right and left parts of the brain. Stimulate them with new gadgets that they have to work out how to use. Get them into strategic games, puzzles and quizzes. Learning never stops in your family. It will be a lifelong treasure whether they become entrepreneurs or not. Couple that with hard work and self discipline for guaranteed success, whatever job they choose.
“An idea isn’t worth much until a man is found who has the energy and ability to make it work.” – William Feather.
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