Raising innovative and creative kids

Entrepreneurs need to have nimble mind-sets – solving complex problems with ingenious solutions. Creative thinking is the bedrock upon which entrepreneurs build their empires. Many people never meet their full potential because they fail to recognize opportunities. Teaching your children to seek out opportunities and take action on them, will directly contribute to their level of future success.

How to teach:

  • Limit screen time and allow conventional play. Yes, it’s when kids play that they engage all of their creative energies. Television and many children’s apps are stifling our children’s imagination. Gone are the days when children had to rely on their imaginations as they played. While some screen time on television, electronics or games, can be useful — assuming the right programmes/apps are provided and consumed in moderation– time with physical toys that encourage imaginative play, build creative skills and require critical thinking is important for children. Simple toys like building blocks, colouring books, play sets and even just household items can go a long way in this regard. It is amazing what you can do with an oversized cardboard box and a fresh set of markers. While parents play an important role in moderating play, they should allow and encourage their children to engage in unstructured free play as often as possible. Example: With a few pieces of Lego, challenge your kids to make different things, depending on the chosen subject or topic. We call it “artful improvisation,” – that is, the ability to think fast, cut corners and work with limited resources. Play quizzes and puzzles and teach your kids to love figuring out challenges and solving problems.
  • Model effective problem solving. To prepare kids to find business ideas in everyday life, bolster their problem-solving skills while they’re young. When problems come up in your child’s life, brainstorm solutions together. Help them identify the problem, think of all the possible solutions, weigh the pros and cons, and choose the best option. The more parents can break down what’s needed within that problem-solving task, really verbalize it, and talk it out with the child, the better off the child will be. This will teach them to focus on creating positive solutions, instead of focusing on the problem itself. This habit will allow them to create profitable ideas in their future businesses.
  • Teach constructive ways to challenge the status quo. Kids are often taught to follow the rules blindly, a habit that inhibits entrepreneurship. Instead, teach kids to challenge norms constructively by articulating their rationale. Ask, what do they think needs to change, and why? What do they propose instead? You need to lead by example.
  • As parents, it’s good to stay open-minded about your kid’s passion(s). Talk with your child about their passions and what they are already good at. It’s better to help them pursue their dreams and passions than to force your own dreams on them. Find out what they love, what they are interested in and help them to invest time and energy in it.
  • Help your kids recognize that the world around them is full of business opportunities, and finding them just requires some careful observation, self-drive and creativity. Teach them that if they want to make money, they have to pay attention to the world around them, identify a problem that needs fixing, and propose a solution.
  • Stop saying “no” to everything. They need to explore and engage their imagination, follow adventurous insights and dabble in new interests and hobbies. Often, these activities come in the form of permanent markers on a clean wall, a new toy in the bathtub or a spilled bag of flour in the living room. Our children need the creativity and critical thinking that these valuable experiences and lessons encourage at a young age and ultimately translate into valuable adult skills.
  • Don’t read them bedtime stories every night. Read them a story maybe 4 nights a week and have them make up a story the other 3 nights. Give them a few items, such as an animal, a pair of shoes, an umbrella and a toy boat and ask them to make up a story building off these items. It teaches them creativity and the art of selling.