I Read 23 Biographies of Successful People, and 98% of their Parents Did this ONE Thing

Wondering how to raise a successful child or children? I read 23 biographies in a row of successful adults, and noticed ONE parenting technique that 98% of their parents used. Coincidence? I think not…

A funny thing happens when you read 23 books within one genre – in 2 months, no less – while researching for a kid’s career exploration article: you start to see a pattern.

And this particular pattern?

I didn’t just see it; it slapped me over my face in nearly every one of those 23 books.

So, I got to thinking: could this ONE parenting technique be the secret to raising a “successful” adult?

While I don’t necessarily believe that one particular parenting technique guarantees your kiddo’s future success, the fact that this one showed up in nearly 23 different biographies of successful people – people who became big deals in their profession of choice – made me want to share it with you.

I mean, how can 23 different successful people be wrong about what helped them achieve all they did?

That No. 1 Reason is….

Each of their parents  — who were unknowingly raising successful children — allowed them to experiment with what they were naturally interested in as a child.

Seriously, it’s that simple + straight forward.

But stay with me here a second.

Because when I say ‘experiment’? I mean EXPERIMENT.


:: Super-Soaker Inventor: Lonnie’s parents let him continue his experiments even after one caught fire in their kitchen…with the only stipulation being that they had to be done outside of the house moving forward.

:: Explorer + Scientist: Charles Darwin’s father thought the idea of him going aboard the HMS Beagle to explore places was a “wild scheme,” but still let him go.

:: Astronaut: Leland Melvin wanted a skateboard that his father could not afford. Instead of saying no, his father told him he’d have to build one.

:: Oceanographer + Shark Enthusiast: Eugenie Clark’s mother surprised her with a saltwater aquarium.

:: Book Writer: Ted Geisel’s (aka, Dr. Seuss) mother was fine with him drawing all over his walls. And his father shared tales from his zoo + the comic strips out of his newspapers with him. Did I mention his parents let him enter a drawing contest run by the Springfield Union…one that he won?

:: Computer Programmer: Grace Hopper’s mother just giggled after her child had taken apart seven different clocks throughout their home to figure out what made them tick. Which led her to fix her alarm clock, build her dolls an elevator in their dollhouse suite, and even enlist in the Navy at age 36 to write programs for computers.

What this Suggests We Mama Bears Should Be Doing

In figuring out how to raise a successful child, your role in encouraging and supporting your child’s sometimes-crazy ideas + experimentation cannot be understated.

Yes, it can get annoying. Especially with the messes (I’m an organized nut, myself).

Yes, it can get tempting to mold your kid’s activities, which is good some of the time, but never all of the time.

Yes, it can seem to be a waste of resources – both money and time.

But let them play, unstructured, experimenting to their heart’s content around what they naturally gravitate towards. And see where they end up. It's worth a shot because don't we all want to know how to raise a successful and happy child?

What are YOUR kids naturally interested in, and how have you found ways to indulge this (or ways you'll allow them to in the future)? 

Wondering how to raise a successful child? I know I am! So interesting that 98% of these children 's parents all used the same parenting technique. #howtoraiseasuccessfulchild #children #tips #kids #teaching #happy #mom | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/read-23-biographies-successful-people-98-parents-one-thing/

11 Kid Money Challenges to Help Your Kid Self-Discover Practical Money Skills

Kid money challenge ideas | savings plan | free printable | I'm looking for money challenges for kids to teach my own some of the practical money skills I had to learn on my own! #kids #kidmoneychallenge #savingsplan #freeprintable | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/11-money-challenges-for-kids/

Worried you’re not teaching your kid enough practical money skills and money skills for kids? These money challenges for kids will help them pick the skills up naturally.

There’s almost no better learning than naturally discovering the lessons by yourself (certainly helps when building confidence in your child).

And with a little prep work, we parents can help make this happen for our kid(dos) by presenting challenges for kids!

I’ve included 11 kid money challenge ideas for children below that will naturally help them learn practical money skills.

Don't forget, have some fun with this! Here's your Money Challenges for Kids list.

Money Challenge #1: Play One Round of Monopoly…with a Financial Hardship

Everyone knows the game Monopoly, right (or at least has heard of it)?

I challenge your kid to play a round of Monopoly (one of the kid game challenges), but a bit differently this time: with one of the 6 financial hardships detailed below.

The fact is, many people have financial hardships in life – either as a default, or just periodically throughout their lives. And since we’re at the stage in your child’s life where hardships can actually be prevented, I think it’s a great exercise to make them feel a bit of how they would feel if they were actually stuck in these money situations.

Prevention is worth it, my friends.

So here you go:

  1. Low Credit Score
  2. Pile of Student Loans
  3. Starting Up a Business
  4. Being in Debt to Someone You Know
  5. Getting Laid Off
  6. Past Creditors Hunting You Down

How do you add these hardships into your game play? Check out my post for directions on adding in some money life skills for kids to your Monopoly play.

Money Challenge #2: Hot Beverage Competition – Profit-Making Challenge

This is a different take on the lemonade stand — with a focus on teaching your child how to make a profit, something that's important whether or not they want to employ themselves one day — and gives families a reason to spend a little time together both indoors and outdoors during the winter. One of the fun challenges to do when bored!

Challenge kids to turn into a biz consultant for a day when they try to fulfill a need from the local Yeti Ski Lift. Jack, the owner, needs to create a new drink for a promo he’s doing. It’s gotta be a hot beverage. So, your kids are in competition to create the best-tasting drink that also makes at least a 60% profit.

Once the drinks are created, you all have a bonfire outside (heck, you can even light up the grill) and adults judge the various drinks to choose the winners.

Hint: this kid food challenge has winners in more than one category See the free printable!

Money Challenge #3: The Great Penny Challenge

Stuck at Home Mom’s came up with a savings challenge any change-loving kid can appreciate.

On Day 1, you put a penny in the jar. On Day #2, you put two pennies in the jar. On Day #365, you put 365 pennies in the jar.

At the end of the year, increasing by a penny a day will yield your child $667 (plus an appreciation for how even little bits of money can really add up).

Money Challenge #4: 52-Week Savings Challenges for Kids/Teens

Mom Dot offers the 52-week savings challenge for both kids + teens:

  • Kids Savings Challenge: Start putting $0.25 each week into savings, and raise that amount by $0.25/week. By the end of the year, you kid will have a nice $344.50 set aside.
  • Teens Savings Challenge: Start by putting $1.00 each week into savings, and raise that amount by $1.00/week. By the end of the year, your teen will have $1,378 set aside!

Money Challenge #5: Charity Contribution Challenge

Have your kiddo go through the process of finding a charitable cause they’re passionate about, and then setting aside money to donate to.

Your kid can follow these steps:

  • Make a list of a handful of causes that you’re interested in, or passionate about. It could be a specific animal – whales, lions, penguins – or a cause, such as rainforest, feeding kids, helping the homeless, etc.
  • Go to CharityNavigator.org, and search for charities that deal with these causes.
  • Choose a charity, based on their score/mission on Charity Navigator.
  • Start to set aside 10% of allowance money/earnings to donate to this charity. If this is too open-ended, then decide on a set amount of time that you'll set aside 10% of your money to donate such as for two months, one month, six months, or a year.
  • Actually make the contributions!

Hint: Your child doesn't have a lot of money to donate right now. But one day they will! So show them that their little bit of money can go a long way by choosing from a list of charities where less than $12 goes a really long way

Money Challenge #6: Join a Stock Market Game

There are multiple LIVE stock market games online that your kiddo can join to dip their feet into investment waters.

Choose one to dive right in:

Money Challenge #7: Zero-Cost Entertainment Night Challenge

Each of your kid(dos) takes a turn of planning a family fun night. Choose the night of the week, and let them know any rules you have to begin with.

Now here’s the catch: they need to plan a night of fun that costs NOTHING (by “nothing”, I mean that you can set the rules, such as gas to get to somewhere like a park is okay, but no purchases made from a store).

Help them to think outside of the DVR-box (though those can be nice as well!).


Money Challenge #8: Become the Family Gas Finder

Your child can make a meaningful contribution to the household – something kiddos love – by being in charge of researching which gas station has the cheapest price.

Help them sign onto GasBuddy.com and look the costs up. Let them do this once a week or once a month to see how gas prices have changed, and if another station is cheaper.

Bonus: Talk to them about how many miles away the gas station is, and if it’s acceptable to travel there for the amount you’ll be saving.

Money Challenge #9: Dinner Budget Challenge

Let your kid(dos) take over the kitchen for the night. Give them a budget to work with, and help them to choose a meal to make based on that budget. Drive them to the store, and supervise as they pick out the ingredients (they might want to bring a calculator and add up the expenses as they go).

Then, help them as they prepare and serve the whole family the meal.

Here’s a link to 30 recipes that kids can cook to get you started.

Money Challenge #10: Find and Apply to One Scholarship

This could be for college, for a summer camp, for a program they really want to be part of; for anything, really. The point is to get kids invested in their future selves + help walk them through the process of finding and then applying for scholarship/grant money that is out there for the taking.

I’ve written an article about Linsey Knerl’s own son did this, winning $1,000 to put into his 529 college savings plan. Other contests they’ve entered so far have been coloring contests, essays, or simply a reading program goal reward with prizes varying between $25 and $20,000.

3 Places to Start their Money Search:

Money Challenge #11: The BIG KAHUNA Savings Challenge

Your kids probably want to do something “outrageous.”And by outrageous, I mean or out-of-budget for your family. Maybe you feel a little guilty for saying no; maybe you have absolutely no intention of ever giving in on this.

Whatever that big thing is…offer this to your kid: If you can save half of the cost to do it/buy it, then I’ll kick in the other half and we’ll actually do it.


Maybe it’s:

  • Buying a day pass to a theme park.
  • Spending the night at the beach an hour from your home instead of doing a day trip.
  • Buying a (used) car when they’re 16.
  • Getting a dog.
  • Going to see Taylor Swift in concert.

Not only will this thing not cost you as much, but you’ll have cemented some “cool parent” points in your child's memory. Not bad.

And when they lose determination because they don’t believe they’ll ever reach their savings goal? Then use it as a teachable money moment with these 3 goal-saving steps.

Well, that's it. Which money challenge are you most excited to introduce to your child? 

6 Game-Changing Ways to Play Monopoly to Teach Money Life Skills for Kids

Board games for kids | best | family | educational | 8-12 WOW, will this add some educational elements (like life skills for kids) to our board game family night! I can't wait to try this out. #boardgamesforkids #familyactivities #familygames #kids #lifeskills | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/6-game-changing-monopoly-money-life-skills-kids/

Dealing with money – whether there’s a lot of it, or a little of it – is one of the most critical life skills for kids to learn. Help them prevent some common financial hardships by living them out in a round of Monopoly.

Even though there can be a lot of strategy to the game of Monopoly, the reality is, most of it still comes down to luck.

You can make bad purchase decisions – driving your cash down to nearly zero – but get saved last minute by landing on free parking (depending on how your household plays). Or jail suddenly becomes a valuable asset because it means you can no longer land on people’s properties and so you don’t owe any bills.

Wouldn’t we all just like to sit around all day and roll a dice?

It’s not exactly reality.

Let’s supplement the “luck” part of Monopoly play, and add in some thoughtful actions and decision-making to one of the best board games for kids that teaches life skills for students.

We’ll accomplish this by handing your child a sucky, but all-too-common, financial situation to deal with (taken from the real book of life!) that will limit their ability in some way to play. Talk about some life skills for children training!

Financial Hardship #1: Low Credit Score

Dose of Reality: Having a low credit score will definitely put a damper on trying to buy property in real life.

Anyone ever try to get a mortgage with a 530-credit score? It’s basically impossible. I like how in Monopoly the player must pay back the bank the mortgage + 10%…but it’s not realistic how Monopoly assumes each player has a really great credit history and can mortgage their homes to begin with to get a quick infusion of cash.

How it affects their Play: You need to secure a co-signer (another player) each time you want to purchase a property. If you go bankrupt, they’ll be responsible for buying that property from you to give you the cash you need. If no one wants to co-sign with you? You’re out of luck. No deal.

Financial Hardship #2: Pile of Student Loans

Dose of Reality: It’s hard to become a real estate mogul when you pop out the college gates in debt. Lots of debt.

Student loans can be a great investment in your future – I came out of college with $36,000, myself. However, it’s critical for your child to realize that taking out student loans is going to change and/or limit the way they can live right out of college. There will be sacrifices they’ll need to make to their lifestyle in order to pay them back.

How it affects your play: For the first two rounds of the board, each piece of property you land on you must pay half the cost of to the bank…to go towards your student loans. That’s because before you can think of purchasing property, you’ve got to pay down that debt and put yourself in better financial standing to be a property owner.

Financial Hardship #3: Starting Up a Business

Dose of Reality: Starting up a small business is time-consuming, and there’s rarely enough consistent cash to take a salary from it at least for the first few years.

We business owners know and understand that owning a business can reap rewards – both lifestyle and financial – far beyond what we could find at a 9-5 job. BUT, we also know that in the beginning (and maybe even in the middle), income can be quite inconsistent.

How it affects your play: When you pass Go, the amount you collect is not $200 each time. You roll your dice, and multiply the amount you get by 20. That is your income each time you pass Go. So, if you roll a 12, you get $240 – woohoo! But if you roll a 2? You get just $40.

Financial Hardship #4: Being in Debt to Someone You Know

Dose of Reality: While it may seem like a great idea to take a loan from family and friends, in real life, doing so can strain your relationship.

This one’s juicy — one of those life skills every child should know so they can hopefully avoid! It’s wonderful to have family and friends to fall back on for loans when the going gets tough, especially in your early 20s when you’re just starting out. But it can also strain relationships and make things feel, well, a bit…icky.

How it affects your play: The player to your left is the person whom you owe $500 to. Have them hand you over $500 of their money. Here’s the catch – since you borrowed that $500 from them, they have $500 less in their lives and their game play. You can pay them back as quickly or as slowly as you’d like. But don’t be surprised if they want to be paid back on the “quick” side, since their ability to live their life (aka, play the game) has been diminished.

Financial Hardship #5: Getting Laid Off

Dose of Reality: Layoffs happen. Meaning paychecks stop, and sometimes rather suddenly.

You’re reading the blog of a 4-time, lay-off veteran. That’s right – my husband and I have collectively been laid off 4 times in the last 10 years. Ouch. So, this one is close to my heart!

How it affects your play: Your pay when you pass “Go” is reduced to a percentage of what you would get in unemployment insurance. Roll your dice. This is the number of board rounds you’ll only receive $60 when you pass “Go”.

Financial Hardship #6: Creditors Creeping Up from Your Past

Dose of Reality: Zombie debt is a real thing – creditors you thought had forgotten about you will come to find you again (oftentimes when you’re trying to do something big in your life, like buy a home).

Past debts can really affect our current and future money decisions. Generally, it limits what we can and cannot buy, and if we can get a loan for something like a car or a home. Now’s the time to learn this lesson instead of after poor money management decisions have been made and your child is stuck dealing with it.

How it affects your play: Each time you pass “Go”, you’ll need to also draw one card from the Zombie Debt pile. Good luck to you.

You won't find these on a basic life skills list, but your child will learn lots of money lessons during this game (and the frustrations might be high). Here are some questions to ask your child about what they learned + start that money dialogue:

  • How did your particular financial hardship affect your ability to play the game?
  • What were you and were you not able to do?
  • What were you surprised that you weren’t able to do?
  • What were you surprised that you were still able to do?