10 Ways to Begin Teaching Your Toddler Business Skills
Life skills are business skills.
As a parent you are looking for fun and creative ways to teach your children a variety of skills. Some of the best skills include: cognitive and language development and a strong set of morals. Did you know that at the same time you can also be teaching them business skills?
Try out these ways to teach your toddler business skills and watch them become a super-successful business owner.
1. Following a sleep routine.
How does following a sleep routine make you more successful in business? Well, being sleep deprived slows work speeds, multiples errors, weaknesses the immune system and hampers decision making. The good news is that you can help your little one establish a healthy sleep routine when they’re between the ages of one and six.
As a toddler, you teach them to follow a consistent bed routine that they can follow throughout the rest of their lives. To remember: start with the the four B’s -- bathing, brushing, books and bed. Make sure that they follow this routine every night of the week.
When they’re around six or seven they can start setting their own routine and put themselves to bed. All you have to do is to remind them to follow the routine and they’ll develop a healthy, lifelong habit.
2. Playing games backwards.
At this age your child can start playing fun and education games like Simon Says. Listen to Ellen Galinsky, author of Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs. Galnsky suggests that you put a twist on this classic game by playing it backwards. Instead of saying, “Simon says touch your toes,” you would play “Simon says the opposite.” In this case, your child wouldn’t touch their toes.
Playing games backwards can help your toddler practice inhibitory control. This is an important executive function responsible for developing cognitive flexibility, focus, and working memory. These skills can also predict academic success in terms of IQ scores.
3. Measuring up.
Even if you outsource your accounting and bookkeeping, it’s still vital that business owners have a basic understanding of counting and measuring. If you can’t determine that you’re business is spending more than bringing-in -- then you’re in some serious trouble!
Give your child a head-start in this area by using measuring up activities. How many legos tall their bed is from the ground. Before you know it, they’ll be coming-up with all sorts of creative ways to count and measure.
4. Instilling values.
Having a core set of values is key when running a business. After all, your values:
- Shape your company’s culture.
- Separates your business from your competitors.
- Helps you find the right employees.
- Educates clients or customers on what you’re business is all about.
- Assists you and your team in the decision-making process.
It's never too early for your toddler to learn values. As noted in Parents Magazine: by their fifth birthday you child should have developed the following values:
Honesty: Let your child hear you be honest and transparent with other adults so that they don’t believe that fibbing and deceiving others is acceptable.
Justice: When you child does something wrong, pull them aside and have them identify and express their feelings so that they can make amends. That’s an important value when collaborating with others.
Determination: Avoid excessively praising your child. Instead, provide honest and constructive feedback so that they’re motivated to keep moving forward.
Consideration: Ask you children for suggestions, like how to make the trip to store more pleasant. Besides encouraging problem-solving skills, it develops consideration since these suggestions make the grocery store experience better for the entire family.
Love: Don’t be shy to let your kids so your affection to others, like giving your sibling or best friend a big ol’ hug and share how important certain people are in your life. It’s a simple way for them to understand appreciation and gratitude.
5. Labeling the home.
Start out by labeling just a couple of household items -- like the refrigerator and toy bins. It’s a simple way for them to learn symbols and eventually words. It also lets them know that everything has its own place and should be returned when not in use.
When they learn to organize their bedrooms they’ll realize the importance of keeping their workspace clean and organized. Many people waste half their life looking for something. What’s more, it can also help them organize other facets of their business, such as their finances.
6. Telling stories.
When reading to your child also make sure that you also discuss what these stories are about. Encourage them to tell stories. For example, if they visited a friend or spent the day with your parents -- ask your child to tell all about their visit or what they did with their grandparents.
Storytelling and discussions use a richer language set and “extra talk.” This goes beyond what Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley have dubbed “business talk,” which is the simple vocabulary commonly used at home.
Having conversations with your child can further help your child develop a strong communication skillset. In a survey Galinsky found that employers are the most concerned about their employees’ verbal and written communication skills. Promoting "extra talk" can help solve this problem, as well as improve your kid’s academic performance.
7. Showing them around town.
When running errands with your toddler discuss the places that you visit. When you go to the dry cleaners -- explain that this is where dirty clothes go to get cleaned. You can have your child draw pictures of the various places that you take them -- add some details about these locations as well.
Exploring the neighborhood is a good activity for them to understand that each location serves a specific purpose. Explain about the people working there and about their unique set of skills. This way they know that you pick-up food at the grocery store so they shouldn’t expect to drop-off dry cleaning there. Your child will know that firefighters put away fires and that they don't stock the grocery shelves.
Later, a person can apply this basic knowledge to their business. For instance -- when they need a freelance coder -- they’ll know that they have to visit sites like Toptal or Upwork.
8. Praise effort, not intelligence or talent.
When your kid spells a word correctly we’re tempted to say something like, “That’s right. You spelled that word because you’re so smart.” Instead, you should praise them on their effort and persistence, as well as discuss how they were able to spell the word correctly.
This type of praise encourages children to develop a “growth mindset.” This allows them to tackle challenges head-on because they know that can develop or strengthen their abilities to overcome hurdles. This encourages a passion for lifelong learning.
9. Numbering your mornings.
As a business owner, I don’t know what I'd do without my calendar. It’s the best way for me to remember important deadlines and meetings. It also ensures that I remain productive manage my time more effectively. If it’s not scheduled in my calendar, then it’s not important enough for to worry about.
You can help your toddler understand calendar basics by doing the following:
Create a calendar grid on a piece of poster paper: The grid should have 31 boxes with enough space to add signs that represent each month of the year.
At the top -- write the days of the week: Number 31 cards with numbers 1 to 31.
Attach Velcro on the back of each card: Also, attach velcro to the back of the the 31 boxes.
Place the calendar at your child's eye level: On the first day of each month add a monthly sign and the number one card. Make sure you place this under the correct day of the week. The following day -- ask your child to find the number two card -- along with figuring out the day of the week.
Eventually, your child will understand the calendar and numerical systems. As they get older, start placing household chores and important event notices on the calendar. When they get old enough to have their own phone, use a calendar app so that the family can view a shared family calendar and the tasks that each member is responsible for.
10. Writing out fights.
Let’s say that your son or daughter got into a fight with a sibling or another child at school. The last thing you may be worrying about is getting out a notebook and documenting the situation. But Galinsky and supporting research found that writing out these squabbles -- models critical thinking.
Galinsky defines models of critical thinking as: “[T]he ongoing search for valid and reliable knowledge to guide beliefs, decisions, and actions.” Considering that life, both at home and work, require us to make important and frequent decisions, this is an excellent skill for your child to develop at an early age.
Here’s the process for writing out fights:
- Identify the dilemma.
- Determine the goal.
- Come up with a list of solutions that aren’t just your typical solutions.
- Think about how these solutions could work.
- Pick a solution and try it out.
- After it’s been tried, discuss with your child how the solution is or isn’t working so that it can be adjusted.
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