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3 Ways to Nurture the Entrepreneurial Spirit in Your Children Entrepreneurship is becoming the chosen career path for many young individuals. Here are three things you can do as a parent to recognize and encourage this entrepreneurial spirit in your child.

By Mary Banks

Key Takeaways

  • In the ever-evolving world of entrepreneurship, innovation knows no age limits.
  • Entrepreneurial spirits embody heightened creativity, visionary thinking and excellent problem-solving
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The entrepreneurial landscape is changing with the youth embracing entrepreneurship over traditional career paths. It's becoming clear that Gen Z and the generations to follow are drawn to the idea of being their own bosses. It's an exciting shift that gives parents the unique opportunity to nurture and support the entrepreneurial spirit in their children. After all, entrepreneurial spirits embody heightened creativity, visionary thinking and excellent problem-solving — qualities every parent hopes to instill in their child. Here's how you can cultivate entrepreneurship in your child:

1. Nurture their creativity

Creativity is one of the pillars of entrepreneurship. The hard part is that creativity isn't something you can force; it's something you can inspire. To do so, you must give children ample creative opportunities. These don't have to break the bank or be overly complex. It can be as simple as taking trips to the library, choosing different books each time and having discussions about them. You can talk about books' stories, characters and themes and ask your child to write alternate endings. You can also provide them with art supplies to draw, paint, or sculpt, allowing them to experiment with different materials and techniques to express themselves freely.

Part of sparking their creativity is also giving children age-appropriate opportunities to problem-solve, whether it be through extracurriculars, fun escape rooms, puzzle-board games, competitions or real-life planning, such as for family trips. Ultimately, you should create an environment where creativity, experimentation and expression are welcomed and celebrated. Doing so will help them learn to think outside the box, take risks and see possibilities where others may see roadblocks.

Related: How Your Entrepreneurial Spirit Can Lead The Way in Crisis

2. Normalize failure

As parents, we want to see our children succeed in everything they do. However, failure is an inevitable part of everyone's life, and shielding our children from it will only give them unrealistic expectations. Normalizing failure as an inherent part of the learning process is imperative. It's a challenging concept that we must first embrace ourselves. By encouraging children to perceive setbacks as stepping stones to success rather than obstacles, we can help them develop the tenacity to bounce back stronger and propel themselves toward any endeavor they pursue.

Related: How to Use Your Entrepreneurial Spirit to Ignite the World

3. Encourage early business ventures and mentorship

Your child doesn't have to wait for a distant MBA program or ample business opportunity to dip their toes into entrepreneurship. Remember those classic lemonade stands we all started with? Well, they're more than just a childhood memory — they're proof that the entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in us, even as kids. Take my son, for instance. When he found out we had no more space for his toys, he took matters into his own hands. He set up a makeshift shop near our apartment in New York City, laid out his toys on a blanket, and sold one to a passerby!

So, we must shift away from the idea that entrepreneurship is only for adults with fancy degrees or massive investments. It all starts with those little bouts of creativity and ideas that turn into action. Encouraging our kids to be independent thinkers, make decisions independently and take on small passion projects can go a long way. But we can also take it one step further by tapping into all of the kid-friendly entrepreneurial resources at our fingertips, including programs, conferences, competitions and workshops. There are even camps designed specifically to teach kids as young as four how to brainstorm ideas, set goals and market their creations. These opportunities allow your child to learn from successful entrepreneurs, understand the hardships and triumphs of this path and begin making small advances towards it early on.

Final thoughts

In the ever-evolving world of entrepreneurship, innovation knows no age limits. As parents, we play a vital role in fostering an entrepreneurial mindset in our children. Whether they choose to become future leaders or not, doing so will equip them with self-reliance, creativity, problem-solving and confidence — invaluable skills that will undoubtedly help them achieve success in any field.

Mary Banks

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Director of Admissions Consulting, Quad Education Group

Mary Banks is the Director of Admissions Consulting at Quad Education Group and has worked for 40 years in the higher education industry. Mary has served as the Director of Admissions at the Columbia School of Nursing and Associate Director of Admissions at the Columbia School of Business.

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