Top Entrepreneurial Skills We Should be Teaching Our Children

Entrepreneurial Skills That Will Secure Your Child’s Future

Having a need to ensure your child’s future is one of the most fundamental characteristics of a parent. We all want to raise them to become independent people, capable of providing for themselves. But the demands of the business world have changed drastically in the last 20 to 30 years and will continue to change in the foreseeable future.

Today’s kids will need to have new tools, methods, and skills to actually be able to sustain their future. There is a strong argument that having entrepreneurial skills will be an essential requirement for the professionals of tomorrow. Things like complex problem-solving, critical thinking and emotional intelligence will increase your child’s chances of stable employment and make their relationships, both professional AND personal, more satisfying.

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Top Six Entrepreneurial Skills You Should Encourage in Your Children

Your kids don’t have to be entrepreneurs but they should develop the ability to think like one. These are the top entrepreneurial skills that will help skyrocket your child’s career in the job market of the future.

1. Complex Problem-Solving

The ability to solve complex issues is a desirable skill to have in any profession. Even though the setting may vary, the underlying cognitive skill is universal.

If you look at some of the world’s most famous serial entrepreneurs, you will notice that they’ve often managed to top completely unrelated industries. Richard Branson has made a breakthrough with his record company but was able to excel with his air travel and telecom businesses as well.

People who are good at complex problem-solving can deal with issues they’ve never seen before and overcome them efficiently. The natural shift to agile and flexible approaches in modern companies has been made because the issues they’re dealing with are both complicated and new. Subsequently, complex problem-solving will only become a more valuable skill to have over time.

Entrepreneurial skills are best developed through learning by doing. Children can learn to overcome new challenges naturally, through play. All you have to do is provide a little structure to their games and guide them with open-ended questions.

In the clip below, you can find some strong arguments about the value of teaching kids through project-based learning.

2. Time Management

Time management is all about knowing how to plan, access, organize, and prioritize your daily activities. It’s a precondition for achieving higher productivity and plays an important role in reducing the anxieties of everyday responsibilities.

Being able to plan out a schedule and stick to it is something we consider an important aspect of being an adult. However, we stand to benefit from time management in all stages of our lives.

The daily schedules of our children resemble our own, in a way. They have routines, appointments, and even responsibilities. Unlike us, they’re not making their own schedule. It’s something that we, as parents, do in their stead. We’re helping them make their appointments and school project deadlines, but we’re also denying them the opportunity to learn how to organize their time for themselves.

When teaching them time management, it’s important to acknowledge this dynamic and slowly empower your kids to self-organize. You can start by letting them choose the order of their predetermined activities. Let them experiment and explore their preferences. Do they prefer to do their chores before or after play-time?

The sooner they grasp the benefits of time management the better off they’ll be in their careers. One of the main concerns of today’s workforce is poor work-life balance. People with a good grasp of work-life balance experience lower levels of stress, have a significantly lower risk of burnout and are more likely to develop nurturing family relationships.

3. Resilience

Resilience is a skill that reflects our ability to deal with and sustain ourselves in difficult situations. There’s really no other way of building it other than through experience. In life, everyone gets their share of adversity, some more than others.

Helping children develop resilience is probably one of the most difficult aspects of parenting because we have to act against our parental instincts. It’s only natural for us as parents to want to protect our children from everyone and everything. But life only gets tougher as we grow older. They need to experience hardships on a lower scale in order to learn how to handle the true challenges of adulthood.

Our day-to-day work lives come with a whole slew of adversities. Overbearing schedules, tight deadlines, late-night meetings, workplace conflicts… you name it! Empowering your children with the tools to persevere in difficult situations will allow them to make bolder career choices while preserving their mental health.

Quote about importance of resilience for child development by Arnold Schwarzenegger - Nobel Explorers

4. Critical Thinking

Teaching children what to think is easy. Teaching them how to think for themselves is where it gets tricky.

Critical thinking is the ability to analyze and evaluate facts in order to form a personal judgment. In our work life, critical thinking allows us to reexamine the status quo, identify new issues that need solving, or figure out ways to resolve the old ones more efficiently.

Children should be taught how to analyze and evaluate the world around them, how to spot discrepancies, and above all, question what is being said to them. That last part makes parenting all the more difficult because you’re going to have to use logic and reason rather than just rely on your authority. But your child will benefit because they’ll learn to value what’s being said instead of focusing on who said it.

For younger children, unstructured play is a great starting point. Try not to interfere as much and postpone your involvement. Give them a minute or two to try out different things. If you do decide to get involved, try to lead them towards a solution or show alternative ways for achieving a similar result.

As they get older you can progress to asking open-ended questions, encouraging them to think differently and lastly, exchange opinions while practicing to support your opinions with arguments.

5. Management and Teamwork Skills

Having a strong, solid, and integrated team has proven to be one of the most valuable assets and resources of today’s companies. Therefore, developing management and teamwork skills is crucial for securing a successful career in any field.

Children often stumble upon these skills just by going about their everyday activities. We’ve talked frequently about why sports are essential for child development and team sports have that added benefit of allowing kids to both develop leadership skills and learn how to coordinate with others.

It’s your role as a parent to guide and support their involvement in similar social activities. In the end, any group activity that requires some level of organization and team effort to achieve a goal will be beneficial. Encouraging your kids to try out new roles within a team will help them develop a vast array of skills.

6. Creativity

When we think about creativity, we usually focus on artistic pursuits. That viewpoint is somewhat limiting, because coming up with new ideas, applications, and solutions is an integral part of every aspect of life.

That is why some people differentiate between “big” and “small c” creativity. “Small c” creativity is the kind we use in everyday life whenever we’re faced with a new challenge, important to us personally, whether it’s work-related or not. Even though the solutions we come up with might not be groundbreaking discoveries, they’re nevertheless an expression of our creativity and the ability to think divergently.

There’s a childlike essence to being creative and studies show that children think more divergently than adults. It’s all about being able to loosen up the constraints of the well-established patterns, rules, and norms we’ve acquired through socialization. This allows us to combine concepts in new ways and approach challenges from a variety of angles.

All kids have the capacity to express creativity. Parents need to be careful not to stifle this capacity in an attempt to control socially undesirable behaviors. That doesn’t mean you should let your child draw on your kitchen walls with crayons. It just means you need to help them unleash their creativity in a setting where they’re free to experiment, while also not having to redecorate after their creative endeavors.

Additional Thoughts on Teaching Children Entrepreneurial Skills

The best way to acquire and develop an entrepreneurial mindset is through learning by doing. Since school is not always the most appropriate context, you’ll need to seek out a setting that will allow your child to practice and utilize these entrepreneurial skills.

Your role here, as a parent, should mostly be based on guidance and counseling. But one of the best things you can do for your child is to help them learn that it’s okay to fail. That doesn’t mean they have to like it. It’s perfectly normal to feel sad, frustrated, or even angry when faced with adversity and failure. They just need to have the right perspective. In its essence, failure is just negative feedback. Information that our behavior isn’t working and we need to adjust it to achieve better results. Failure is a component of learning and we need to teach our kids to treat it as such.

It’s important to recognize that most learning activities will help your kids develop several of these entrepreneurial skills at once. For example, if they’re engaging in a group STEM activity, they will learn how to problem-solve, express themselves creatively while trying to come up with different solutions, and learn to collaborate with others, all the while learning by doing.

“Kids need time for problem solving, critical thinking, applying knowledge through project-based instruction, working in teams, falling down and getting right back up to figure out what they didn’t understand and why.” – Randi Weingarten

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