Summer is approaching. No doubt you’re looking forward to many lazy afternoons spent curled up in a hammock with your favourite book, with nothing but the birds keeping you company…get real! More likely, you’ll be hard pressed to find a few minutes to yourself. Your days will be overflowing with the incessant chatter of your kids enjoying some time out from school. While this can be great for a few days, summer vacation enthusiasm can be quickly dissolved by bored, whining children – faster than hot pavement melts a fallen scoop of ice-cream. Perhaps you’re wondering how on earth you’re going to keep your kids entertained. Don’t despair just yet. Helping your kids create their own summer businesses might be the solution that keeps your kids entertained, gives you some peace and quiet and also teaches your kids some valuable life skills.
While of course it’s important that you allow your kids to enjoy simply being kids, encouraging them to spend some of their time building their own businesses can be beneficial. Running their own businesses, whatever they might be, can teach kids valuable skills about money and also a thing or two about work. They can even be a lot of fun! You may wish to use their experiences operating their own business as a starting point to discuss important topics about the workforce. For instance, you may wish to discuss what skills your child thinks are most important to his or her business or what it means to say that the customer is always right.
Many young people have their own businesses, and you could ask your child if he or she knows anyone their age that does. Chances are, they’ll come up with one or two people and this is a great starting point for you to be able to discuss business ideas. Ask your kids what their friends say are the good and bad parts about running their own businesses. If they can’t come up with anyone they know, there are plenty of examples on the internet of kids running businesses that you might like to chat to them about, the more creative the better. The idea is to get their creative juices flowing!
There are all kinds of businesses that your kids might like to try their hand at. A lemonade stand is an old favourite. Other ideas include a dog walking, baby-sitting or lawn-mowing business. Your kids might like to start a flower-planting company, or a house cleaning or ironing business. If their computer skills are good, they might like to offer to type other people’s documents for them. Consider your child’s skills and what they enjoy doing, and together you’re likely to come up with many other ideas. Remember, while it’s great to guide your child, it’s important that they take responsibility for their business and think of the idea as their own, so telling them what sort of business they should run is unlikely to be successful.
Once your child has come up with a business idea, help him or her to come up with ways to make it successful. Simple marketing ideas include printing off eye-catching fliers and doing a letter-box drop, or putting some up on noticeboards at popular locations. It’s important that your child comes up with his or her own ideas about how to build the marketing side of their business. The creativity of your offspring might even surprise you! Just ensure that their ideas are safe and not likely to land them in any danger (the same goes for the businesses themselves).
Fostering an entrepreneurial spirit is a positive thing for parents to do. It’s common for wealthy adults to look back fondly on their interest in making money from an early age. While money is often thought of as a dirty word that shouldn’t be mentioned in polite company, this should not be the case. Entrepreneurialism, after all, is just hard work and creativity – attributes that most parents want their children to value. Of course, most kids (like adults) love the idea of making a few extra dollars, and if you help them come up with ways to earn money while doing something they enjoy and are good at, they’ll likely thank you for it.