Most kids will start to show an interest in a particular career from a young age. They often choose visible careers such as a teacher, nurse or shopkeeper and begin to role-play. This doesn’t mean that they are going to grow up to do this job; it’s just a way for them to begin to learn about the various roles in society.
But as children grow, discussing what they want to be or do when they grow up becomes more important. The world is full of weird and wonderful jobs you wouldn’t have thought of. They could just as easily grow up to be an equine lawyer as a story writer for a VR game company these days!
Of course, you don’t want to box them in too soon but equally, you don’t want to fill their heads with unrealistic expectations. So, here’s how to talk about careers with your kids.
All Options Are Open
One of the most important messages you should pass on to your kids is that all options are open to them. While they are still young, they should be allowed to dream of becoming an astronaut or an award-winning actor, even if you quietly know that it’s not very likely to happen!
When you talk about what they might do when they grow up, keep your conversations positive and inspiring. Talk about the kind of skills they might need to work on if they want to pursue that kind of career and don’t be afraid to engage your imagination too – we really don’t know what our kids could grow up to do because, in all likelihood, those jobs don’t exist yet.
Encourage them to Pursue Interests
While talking about particular jobs is fun, it’s really important that you also make time to discuss skills and interests. Kids are often quite sporadic with what they are interested in and rely on you to help them pursue various activities.
There are lots of activities that are really worthwhile for your kids. Music, theatre and other arts are brilliant for giving them a way to express themselves and bond with their peers. Sports are ideal for maintaining their fitness and building skills such as coordination. But there’s no limit. Let your kids try a range of activities and see what sparks with them.
Build Their Confidence
Confident kids are much more likely to pursue bold plans and overcome the challenges they face – both skills required in the workplace. Your main job as a parent is to support your kids and encourage them to build on their own independence in a safe environment.
Complement your kids when they make an achievement and gently encourage them to push their skills a little further. A lot of the time, kids get put off things when they aren’t immediately good at them so encourage them to keep trying. In fact, it’s a really good idea to learn something new with your kids so that they can see your learning process too.