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How to use regular interactions to teach your children about future career choices

How to use regular interactions to teach your children about future career choices

| December 03, 2017

Parents don’t have to wait until there’s a Take Your Child to Work Day to open their eyes to different career opportunities. On any given day, there are countless opportunities to discuss future career options with your children. Whether discussing your occupation, or highlighting the professions of those around you, it is imperative children begin thinking about future vocations from a young age.

We are constantly surrounded by opportunities to discuss professions with our children. Whether eating at a restaurant, shopping in a retail store, reading a book or interacting with other adults, we are constantly surrounded by people who work in different industries. However, it is up to us, as parents, to turn these opportunities into teachable moments that will help our children understand that wide variety of careers available to them as they become an adult.

Here are four simple ways parents can take everyday interactions and turn them into conversations about future career choices:

  • Point out professionals doing their jobs and explain the work they are doing.

Visits to the doctor’s office, grocery store, restaurants and other places you take your children provide several opportunities to explain the jobs being done around them and what that profession is called. For example, if you notice a police officer directing traffic, talk to your children about everything they do to help protect their communities.

Additionally, if you notice someone enjoying their job, point that out to your child. Highlight the fact that jobs can bring joy to someone because of the opportunity it gives them to serve others, be creative and discover new things. Bringing these special moments to your child’s attention helps them understand why jobs are a source of joy and pride in someone’s life.

  • Excite children about the benefits of future occupations

It is important to teach children that one day, they will have the opportunity to work in a field of their choosing, doing something they love. Emphasize to them that their profession will allow them to help others and bring joy to their lives, and that monetary compensation is merely an added benefit.

Considering this lesson, you should also be mindful of how you discuss your own career in front of and with your children. Children pick up on words, emotions and behaviors very easily and can sense when their parents aren’t feeling the happiest. For example, if a parent routinely comes home complaining about how miserable their job is and talking negatively about working in general, their child might not believe someone can enjoy their job. As parents, it’s important we convey a positive tone whenever discussing careers.

  • Emphasize passion over paycheck

It is also important to teach children and future generations of workers that paychecks shouldn’t be the main motivator to work. After all, if you hate what you do – it will show.

According to a 2017 study conducted by Harvard Business Review, happiness in the workplace starts with accepting that happiness is deserved at work. Research has shown that even menial jobs can provide fulfillment. Even today’s top executives sometimes don’t find true meaning in their work.

However, a multitude of careers can serve as a legitimate source of happiness. Therefore, we must instill into our children that passion is more important than paycheck.

  • Instill strong work ethic in children

Most importantly, through these conversations with our children, we can assist in the development of their work ethics and help to cultivate them into ambitious and hardworking future employees.

To learn more about how to have important financial conversations with your children, please click here to learn more about my complimentary workshop, Raising Financially Fit Families, which I present to groups and organizations of all sizes.


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