Thinking inside that box may generate ideas of using your child's hobby or talent to start a small business.  Play an instrument beautifully?  Hire out to entertain at parties.  Love to knit, sew, or craft?  Offer classes for youngsters during this busy time.  Do you have an athlete in the family?  Arrange for some organized games and skill building with the neighborhood kids.  Many parents would find the activities refreshing for their kids during the two-week Christmas break.

Instilling in your child a sense of pride in a job well done is one of the best gifts that will launch them into the next golden age.   As a mother of four, I know that the smile radiating from the face of one of my own children caused by a personal achievement cannot compare to any other radiance.  Their pride in success and independence is unmatchable in life skills and can only be achieved by allowing them to succeed or fail under their own weight.   Earning those dollars contributes to their can-do attitude that will serve them well in life. 

Parents, we are the number one cheerleaders for our offspring and we can offer the support, encouragement, and love by allowing our kids the privilege to succeed and experience for themselves that which we learned long ago.  Remember, running a small business is a new concept for a child and your offering the advice and support needed for success in their first experience with an entrepreneurial venture is imperative.  Help them create a safe advertising campaign, offer them a possible client list from your address book, educate them about expectations when working for someone (being timely, working diligently, adhering to safety rules, cleaning up, and finishing a job even when it is hard, etc.), and cheer them on--remembering your first day of work. 

‘Tis the season for making lemonade and exploring empty cardboard boxes. So grab the reindeer by the antlers and let your child ride the wave of boundless opportunities this Christmas.  Delight with them as they discover what it feels like to be rewarded for their own efforts, share their joy as they walk a few inches taller; and relish in the victory of their newfound skills in managing their own small business.  The "learning while earning" and the pride that accompany an entrepreneurial venture are most undoubtedly gifts that will keep on giving--gifts of greater value than anything found under the tree this year.

December 24, 2009

Linda Raasch is the founder and chief of