A recent report from ‘USA Today’ shared ideas and tips on how a parent can encourage their children to become entrepreneurs. After interviewing child inventors as well as their parents, many different questions such as, “What are those parents doing different?” were raised and answered.
Use their imagination
One of the first tips which were given is to allow your child to experiment while they are very young. Let their imaginations go free, and give them toys which they can use to create and build things. Some kids may be more artsy and prefer clay, paints, and such. “Cassidy” is one such child, and the daughter of Norm Goldstein, who is the chief Executive Officer of ‘By Kids for Kids’. Cassidy loved to make animals out of pipe cleaners and clay. Other kids may be more technical, and need toys such as Leggos. It is very important to encourage your child while allowing them to find out the areas in which they excel. It is also a very good idea to sit down with them, at a table or on the floor, and not only offer encouragement, but, also play with them.
In addition, It is said to be very important to take children seriously when they have ideas. Far too often, parents simply brush off, or even laugh at thoughts of inventions which kids have. Instead, when a child comes to you with an idea, sit down, talk about it with them, and ask how they would make it work. When Cassidy was upset over her crayons breaking all the time, Norm asked her, “Well what do you think we should do?” Together, they created the Crayon Holders. And when Hart Main thought that someone should create “manly” scented candles named “Man Can,” he was told, “Okay let’s figure out how to make them.”
Move On It
When your child does come up with a great idea, don’t sit on it, or hesitate. First you will have to make sure that the idea has not already been patented. That is very simple to do, by visiting uspto.gov, which is the United States Patent and Trademark Office web site. Then call around to anyone who you know could help with your idea. Hart called a family member who already made candles, and brainstormed his “Man Can” idea. Send hundreds of letters to department stores such as Wal-Mart, asking them to sell your product.
Another thing which is very important to remember is that you should not become too involved. Although there is only so much that your child can do, allow them to do all they can. Encourage them at each and every step, and if they pause, ask such things as, “Okay, that was wonderful! What next?” But do not do everything for them; let them make their own decisions…even at those times when the decision could be a mistake. When children do make those mistakes, encourage them to keep moving. It is important that they learn early on that mistakes will happen, but it is not a stopping point, merely a learning experience. Learning how to fail, and keep going is a very important lesson for a child on the road to entrepreneurship.
It is a very good idea to get your child involved in groups which encourage entrepreneurship. Whether it be an organization at school, or other groups, such as the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, The Future Business Leaders of America, 4H, or others, kids who can bounce ideas off of other kids seem to fair well. Many groups will even sponsor competitions which will help your child grow into entrepreneurship. For Science competitions, you may check Intel and Google. ‘By Kids for Kids’ features all sorts of competitions, in math, science, arts, and sports. Most of these also have a prize of cash, which can boost the child’s college fund.
Angela Kaye Mason is an internet researcher, writer, and contributor at entrepreneurweek.com blog network. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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