I can probably count the number of books I read last year on the fingers of one hand (not including Tommy Thumb). I’m not one for resolutions but I am looking forward to reading more this year, and I’ve just finished my first book. I was asked to read and review Enterprising Child by Lorraine Allman with Mary Cummings.
It’s a dip-in, dip-out book – perfect for snatched moments here and there – and it’s been an eye-opener as it’s not necessarily the kind of book I would usually reach for. As I was discussing with a mum friend yesterday, if you start trying to being a better parent by reading you could easily end up spending all your time trying out different approaches.
But, truth be told, I liked the hard-hatted little girl on the front and as I’m starting my own business this year I thought it was relevant to try and engage Scrip in a realistic, achievable way. We play and learn a lot together but I hadn’t thought about play making her enterprising or entrepreneurial so I wanted to see what the authors suggested.
Rather than aiming to create the next generation of Richard Bransons, as the book says, ‘Enterprise is all about creativity and the courage to create something of value’. I must admit I usually think of people as being potential entrepreneurs or not – I hadn’t thought that everyone could benefit from entrepreneurial thinking. But I’ve reconsidered.
The book’s clearly laid out and easily digestible, with good forewords, intros and further information about the benefits of being enterprising. The main content is divided into different chapters to cover activities for different age groups. I focused on 4 – 6 year olds as, *sniff*, my oldest is soon to be four. The book closes with interviews with adult entrepreneurs and a collection of younger ones.
I liked the activities. Whereas some were very much what I’d expect them to be – like playing shop and helping out at car boot sales – there were other activities that particularly appealed, centring around encouraging children to think of solutions themselves. When you’re queuing, for example, rather than sighing and moaning, how about asking your child why he/she thinks there’s a queue and what could be done to speed things up? Or resolving conflict – rather than giving children a solution when they both want the same toy, how about involving them in the compromise?
Obviously not everything will work for every child, but all of the activities made me think. I do often rush in with the answer to Scrip’s many questions and I have now started asking her what she thinks is the answer. And sometimes she’s right, and often she has some funny suggestions but she seems to enjoy being asked.
As well as the book there are also a supporting Enterprising Child website, apps and an enterprising toy guide, although I haven’t yet looked at these in great detail. All in all Enterprising Child was an interesting and informative book which may just get you thinking in a different way.