How to nurture career options in children

Young children have plenty of fabulous career choices to choose from. Here’s how to nurture their career choices and help them decide which direction to take.

The downside to having so much choice is that children can become confused about exactly which direction to follow. Many parents and guardians can also face challenges when trying to speak to children, young adults, and teenagers about career choices and educational fields. 

This issue is common among children whose parents have highly transferrable jobs. Many parents prefer to take jobs from companies on a sponsor licence that allow them to shift with a family visa and ensure their children get a well-rounded educational experience.

However, moving around too much and having plenty of exposure leads to multiple choices and no solutions. For this reason, among others, it’s a good idea to have a candid talk about career options with children, understand their likes and dislikes, and help them make an informed choice. 

Let us look at how you can nurture career options in children so they can make wise decisions about their future. 

Offer unconditional support

All parents think they are supportive of their children. But the fact is that many parents support their children only when they feel things are going according to their plan. Sometimes, if children deviate from what their parents think is right for them, parents can struggle to support them. 

Support needs to be unconditional. It does not mean standing idly by when children make mistakes; instead it’s showing them that they have a firm foundation to fall back on and turn to for advice and care. 

Lifting children up, encouraging them to think about their choices, considering all aspects, and weighing the pros and cons of each career is much better than ‘telling’ children what they should do for the rest of their lives. 

Have healthy discussions

Dignity of labour is an essential thing to remember. Sometimes parents can unknowingly talk down certain professions, and speak highly of others. Irrespective of which career choice your child makes, it is necessary to remember that there should be a healthy discussion about all their options.

Parents and guardians can further nurture children by discussing the challenges, trials, and positive aspects of their jobs from an early age.

Talking about terms that they will come across in their future, like a resume, cover letter, interviews, salaries, incentives, application processes and more, will also help prepare them for healthy discussions. 

Nurturing career options should not come just from telling them what they should do, but also from allowing them to start thinking in an enterprising manner from an early age. Encourage young children to take up summer jobs like delivering newspapers, walking the local pups, babysitting, and learning the value and importance of work and money. 

Identify their strengths

Identifying potential strengths and helping nurture those in children are better than nurturing a career prospect. If your child is excellent at organizing things, then put them to work in the kitchen, organizing cabinets, learning the importance of cleanliness, and more.

Try to identify how they can use these skills in the future. When your child does a good job, make sure you praise and reward them – a little money for a snack, 30 minutes of extra TV time, a library membership, etc. 

Nurturing their strengths from an early age will help children develop excellent skills that can be used in a favourable career. Many children and teenagers exemplary at gaming strategies grow up to be brilliant analysts and developers. Identifying raw skills and nurturing them is better than telling children what they should do as adults. 

Encourage internships

Your children may not understand the importance of the career they are choosing. They may also not like it once they start.

To help them get a feel for a career you can encourage them to take up internships and try different professions. Many youngsters only want paid internships. While it is excellent if there is a stipend involved, you should advise them on the internship’s importance, not the money. 

There will be time later to make money if they like the profession. Part-time internships are ideal during the summer, as they could intern part time and spend the remaining working or developing an additional skill.

If their summer job is not in-line with their career path, you should try to remain supportive and find the positives and learning so your child can continue learning. For example, a lifeguard’s job teaches responsibility, alertness, and multitasking. 

It is easy for parents and guardians to push their career options on children. Many fields are available now that weren’t there 20-30 years ago. encouraging your children to find their passions and helping them become wise adults will bring them happiness and make you happy in the long term. 

Photo by Katherine Hanlon