our everyday life

Activities to Help Kids Decide What They Want to Be When They Grow Up

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

Today he’s a policeman. Yesterday he was an astronaut and the previous day it was a preacher like his grandfather. Young kids have no concept of what it takes to achieve success in a profession. Mostly, they want their chosen profession to be fun, cool and helpful. It’s not too early to help your child learn about various professions. It could help him tackle academics with more enthusiasm in a few years.

Kids in Workplace

The fourth Thursday in April is Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. The idea originated in 1993 with Gloria Steinem and the Ms. Foundation for Women as a way to help girls envision the possibilities of a career and family. The event is aimed at kids 8 to 18, but your toddler or preschooler can benefit from learning about what you do at work, even if you work from home. Simulate your current or previous work environment and help your child get a feel for how you spend your productive time. Explain what you had to do to get your job and what you like about it. Explain a few of the reasons why you might like a different job.

Read All About It

Kids have many options for future professions. Read books or watch programs about various jobs such as those held by firefighters, doctors and any other profession your child has expressed an interest about. Some books you can use include “What Will I Be? Dora's Book About Jobs” by Phoebe Beinstein, “Jobs Around My Neighborhood” by Gladys Rosa-Mendoza, “Everybody Works” by Shelley Rotner and “Girls A to Z” by Eve Bunting. Help your child see that her gender doesn’t limit her possibilities.

Field Trips

While you are out and about your neighborhood, point out people who are working as you travel. This could include the crossing guard, the grocer, the mail carrier or the person repairing equipment at the park. Observe these people and help your child figure out what each person does and how it benefits others. Ask your child, “Would you like to do that person’s job? Why or why not?” Sprinkle your field trip with some interesting options, such as the person who takes care of baby animals at the zoo or someone who works in a movie theater or amusement park. Look for clues that make a specific job ideal for the person doing it. For instance, your child could like caring for the animals, but not dealing with poop.

Interviews

Your child can ask questions about various jobs to discover if he would like that job. Encourage him to ask family and friends why they like, or don’t like, their job. He could ask his teacher or doctor what they like best about their job and how long it took to become a member of that profession. Your preschooler could also ask what type of education is most important to their job.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

Photo Credits

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