There is an impressive number of successful entrepreneurs on the market who started with no previous experience in business or any specific training. A lot of them simply had the right attitude and learn as they go. along the way. While it may look like some were just born entrepreneurs, as parents we can set an environment to inspire and teach our kids to have an inquisitive, problem solving and divergent thinking. Sure they can learn some of it at school, but unfortunately most of what is being taught in traditional school models, is not in alignment with the needs of their generation.
Given the responsibility we have as adults to encourage entrepreneurship and pave a better road for the next generation, here are some things that can be done now to introduce key skills early.
When they encounter a problem, encourage them to think of the solution themselves: Teach kids to question. Show them how they can research or ask for further information if they aren't sure. When they feel frustrated about anything, ask them how they would solve the issue, or improve the situation. Create a safe space by never ridiculing their ideas and making them feel comfortable to share their unique point of view. Let them lead and experience the whole process of discovery and making connections.
If their solutions sound too simplistic and uninspired, keep challenging them: Get you kids to ask why we do things a certain way. If they offer a solution without giving it thought, enquire further. You may direct their thinking by giving small hints and suggestions but let them be intrigued and come up with further ideas themselves.
Praise kids for sharing their ideas and create fun around implementing them: Conscious compliments are always a boost in everyone's confidence. Another nice thing you can do is create a playful environment. Many good teachers have an “idea box” in the class. You can do this at home by including the whole family and getting everybody to drop their ideas, thoughts on how to make an improvement on something or solve a problem and then at the end of the week or fortnight the family gets together to discuss strategies and parents get an opportunity to encourage kids to take action towards their ideas/solutions. This not only creates fun but can help improve their group communication skills.
Let them explore: Look closely at what they are naturally curious towards and let them travel through their interests. As they develop, you will see them choosing what they want to focus on with more ease. Creativity comes to the forefront when we participate in things we enjoy doing.
Teach them how to learn from their mistakes: Let kids experience failure well showing them how to overcome by reflecting on what they learned, get back up and move forward. This teaches kids how to be resilient and it is key for building self-confidence and a healthy way of thinking.
Introduce money early on and give them goals and responsibilities for managing it: Teach them how important it is to save and invest and let them make their own decisions to the extent that suits your family. There is not much being taught about finances in schools so it is ideal kids learn at home in their day-to-day lives.
Teach them the importance to cultivate positive relationships and model success: Entrepreneurs know very well the importance of building meaningful relationships. Talk with your kids about friendship, and specially about the importance of giving back and listening. If your child shows interest in developing a particular skill you can introduce them to an expert who they can model to create the results they desire. Talk to them about the importance of practice, focus and compromise.
Make communication a priority: Chat about your own work day and challenges and create a space for them to do the same. Children's mind are more comprehensible than we think, plus, communication is crucial to developing a divergent and creative way of thinking. If kids cultivate continuous improvement in these areas at home, they will tend to move more often outside their comfort zone and naturally start using learned tools for their own growth.