How to Proceed When Your Child Has an Idea
The worst feeling in the world is when you have (what you think is) a great idea and no one supports you or believes in the idea. Can you imagine how our little ones feel when they bring us idea and we push it off or don’t take the time to encourage them to think through it? Yeah… I’ve had that same reflection which is why I think it’s important for us as parents to really think differently about how we react when our child comes to us with a great idea. If you have a creative child that comes up with the wildest ideas, then this is for you! I have learned the best way to encourage them is to LASER in on their idea. LASER is an acronym that I created that means Listen, Assess, Support, Empower, and Retreat!
Listen: When they come to you with the idea, actually take the time to listen. What is the idea? Observe their body language when they talk about it. Are they excited? Do they think this could work? Be present in all of those emotions with the child so they feel heard.
My son came to me saying he wanted to make shirts about animals and showed me a bunch of graphics he created on canva. I listened and was present in the conversation with amazement of what he created.
Assess: Is this a feasible idea to support? What would be the time commitment? What budget could you have to see this idea come to life? Do homework to understand how you can support this idea. Take your child along the journey with you so they understand how much work it will take to make this idea come to fruition.
Once my son showed me the graphics, I began to assess how much I could set aside in my budget to support him selling 50 shirts. I also assessed the time commitment to set up a website for him. I helped him understand that it will be a time commitment and he can use his allowance to support this and he had to manage the distribution of the shirts. He was all in!
Support: Be there for your child in the delivery of their idea. Let them know that you support this great idea they created. Ensure that you will support them in making it happen as long as they understand the work that will need to be done on their part.
When my son agreed to level of commitment needed to make this idea come to life, I confirmed my support to him. I told him how I would help him with the website and that I would buy a shirt too. His face lit up to see that I was ready to have his back with his idea.
Empower: Having a parent believe in your idea is really empowering! Speak light and life into them about their idea consistently. Post about it on social media. Tell friends and family about it so the child begins to feel confident and proud about what their mind has ideated. Empowering your child with confidence along with whatever financial support and time they require will make them feel invincible.
I shared his pictures on social media with captions that he created. I told all my friends and family about his great idea while around him. I also continued to encourage him every day as he was going through the selling process.
Retreat: Once the idea has come to fruition or the child is no longer interested (which is completely okay) have a retreat session. Come back together and talk about what the child liked and disliked from the process. Discuss how the idea can be even better next time. This step will allow the child to continue to ideate and improve. They will understand that they can have great ideas and always come to you as a parent for support.
We debriefed after the shirt sale. My son was really proud of himself and all of the shirts that he sold. He said it was so much work and he didn’t get to spend the summer with his friends like he wanted to because he was managing the tshirts. We solutioned together and said that next time we will not plan a sale during the summer and try another time of year. He still wears his shirts and talks about them today!