If you ask an adult to share their earliest memory of making money, you may be greeted by a tale of a makeshift lemonade stand during the family yard sale, or a story about selling cartoon drawings or friendship bracelets to classmates. These memories stand the test of time, not because of the financial worth, but the feeling of value associated with them. The early moments when they realized something they had to offer was worth something in return.
There is a unique beauty in the way that children see the world and the role they play within it. From the talent they possess and the skills that interest them, it is during those youngest years where the possibilities seem endless and imagination beats insecurity.
While it may not be as easy for adults to share this same mindset, it is up to them to embrace and encourage that youthful creativity they see in the children around them.
Imagine, if rather than simply taking notice of Dick’s and Jane’s interests, they instead embraced and encouraged these behaviors, and these helped them pursue a step towards entrepreneurship. A step that in turn can lead to a healthy appreciation, passion, and drive for independent business, and the skills that are often part of that as they grow.
Help Them Embrace Their Interests
The things that interest children are so important to who they are and who they will one day be! Some may have passions that stay with them for more than a season, like a favorite sport or hobby. Sometimes, it could be something fleeting, like the latest superhero or pop- culture craze. Regardless, helping them spend time marinating in what interests them and discovering more about these thing helps them find themselves. Encouraging exploration and trying new things, while not worrying about what’s popular, helps them discover what makes them unique and innovative—very important traits in entrepreneurship.
Create a Trial-and-Error Environment
Rather than concentrating too much on one project or outcome, it’s a good idea to create an environment of trial-and-error for kids. If they decide they want to build a fort, but the fort keeps falling down, that’s okay! Try again in a different room or use different supplies from the linen closet! Allowing children to try things differently helps them look through a different lens at life and embrace a positive attitude when it comes to failure and trying new things. Ask questions such as, “What do you want to do differently next time?” or, “How do you think we can make it better?” This is a way to grow problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, and the younger, the better!
Encourage and Accept Differences
Dr. Suess may have said it best when he wrote, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Children notice quite early the things that make them different than their peers, but those things deserve to be celebrated. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs in history are people who used what made them different to see the world differently and create new things or ways of doing things. Those first few years of life, humans are filled with so many questions of “Why?” and “How?” Grown-ups should challenge themselves when they respond to invitations by curious minds to dive deeper! What if the question “Why is the sky blue?” is answered, instead of with the question, “What if it wasn’t?” by, “What color do you think it should be?” Get to hear the unique perspective of that child, the one who may learn and think differently than his or her classmates or other siblings, and encourage their opinions and thoughts.
Teach Them to Appreciate Money
When a child begins taking their interests and building on them in a way they can create a product or service to sell, the idea of money becomes much more concrete. Imagine that silly little lemonade stand at the family yard sale once again. Understanding the value behind a dollar is simpler to learn when you’re selling cups of lemonade for fifty cents each. This can provide an avenue to start appreciating money, and lead to a positive relationship with it. They can comprehend early on the difference between simply wanting money and earning it.
Paying a niece or nephew a small fee to walk the dog or wash a car can teach them about the connection between time and money as well.