How young is too young to start thinking about careers? If you are a parent of a pre-teen, your child’s career choice is probably not on your mind – yet !
You’re more concerned about academic grades, friends, sports, and other interests. While you should be thinking about those things, career exploration for kids is also a critical part of their development.
While even older students may struggle to settle-in on a career choice, experts say it benefits children to begin thinking about all the options available and what goes into choosing a career.
Knowing the correct way to do it, can help students avoid falling for all the career planning myths that could lead them in the wrong direction.
Children are aware of only the relatively small number of occupations to which they are exposed, for example, doctor, dentist, teacher, engineer, police officer, and whatever it is their parents (or a close relative does ). Learning about other occupations broadens their choices and increases the odds that they will be able to find suitable careers. As they get closer to having to prepare for them, they can narrow down their choices and even begin to take related courses once they are in high school.
How you can help?
- Read about different careers: You can find information online about every career imaginable. When your child expresses interest in any occupation, encourage her to research it to learn more.
- Talk to people: Ask people about their jobs when you see them engaged in work with which both of you are unfamiliar. Find out what training they needed and if they like what they do.
- Use your network: When your child expresses interest in learning about a particular career, access your professional network to find someone who can talk to her about it.
- Protect from social media: Social media makes it is easy to research about ‘everything’. The important point – though – is that you have no idea who is sharing that information – some may not be well-meaning. As a rule – speaking to people you know is better that searching online.
- Help your child learn about herself: When your child gets into higher classes ( usually class 9 ), she should do a self-assessment to discover her interests, values, personality, and aptitudes. Doing it earlier than that isn’t necessary. But, you can help her start thinking about those traits at an early age and discussing how they will influence future career-related decisions.
Also, avoid the instinct to help your child every-time she faces an obstacle. That way, she’ll learn how to handle different situations and understand her-self better.
- Keep Your Opinions to Yourself: Your child may express interest in a career you think is all wrong for her. You may be right, or you may not know enough about that particular occupation to have an informed opinion. Do some research together. You may learn something and your child certainly will.
- Project / Internships: Another great way to learn about a career is to watch someone doing that job. Projects / internships present the opportunity for your child to get an up-close look at a career by following someone at work for a few hours or a few days.
If you’re thinking about how you can help your child, we’ll be happy to partner you on this journey. Connect with us today !