What do you want to become in the future?
That’s perhaps the question kids get asked the most (after “how are you?”). We love asking that question for many reasons:
- We ask because it gives us clarity about the child and her future.
- We ask because we want to give necessary advice on their choice.
- We ask because we don’t want the child to pick an “unfavourable” career.
Regardless of the reason, there are things you must know about career planning for children in order to guide your child to the right career.
7 Important Things to Know About Career Planning for Children
1. A large percentage of children still have the old understanding of career.
The first day you asked your child about his career interest, what did he say? Chances are you got responses like engineer, doctor, lawyer, or scientist.
These careers have been the favourites for many decades and, even though there has been a lot of advancement in the world of careers, children still think these are the only careers in which they can truly excel. An international study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) proves this.
After surveying 500,000 15-year-olds from 41 countries, the study found that many children still have no idea of the major advancements in the world.
Many children still think the world is only about doctors and lawyers when there are many more career paths. It is your responsibility as a parent to introduce your child to the different careers that exist today.
From Data Science to Content Creation, Athletics, and Public Speaking, new career paths are now changing our understanding of career. Therefore, our idea of career planning for children must shift.
2. Your child needs your guidance to make a good choice
Imposing a career path on your child is the most dangerous thing you can do. But this doesn’t mean you should be nonchalant about your child’s career. Children do not have the necessary understanding of the different careers that exist, so they need your guidance on making a good choice.
This guidance shouldn’t be selfish (e.g. guiding them to what you want), neither should it be careless (e.g. letting them make a bad choice). It should be an empathetic guidance towards a choice that will benefit your child – first and foremost – and also benefit the family.
You can guide your child empathetically by explaining different careers to them and showing them what each of these careers entail.
3. There is no right or wrong choice
In picking a career, there’s often no right or wrong choice. The only choice that can be considered “wrong” is the one that is not aligned with the child’s strength and interests.
Otherwise, many career paths are available for your child to pick and become successful at them.
To help you understand this, view careers as cars. Someone may choose a truck and another person, a luxurious sports car. You can’t say the person who picked the truck made the wrong choice, it only depends on what they can do with it. Jeff Bezos picked a truck (doing and excelling at a host of things altogether) and Albert Einstein picked a sports car (doing one thing and also excelling at it.)
4. Money shouldn’t be the only measuring factor
When picking careers, we often want our kids to pick careers with the highest pays. But money is just one very little part of the equation.
Fulfilment, passion, purpose, and love all play a huge part in determining the success of any career.
Technology may be a very lucrative career paths, but is that the path that will bring your child personal satisfaction and lasting joy?
Take time to understand what your child loves doing and what she spends most of her time on. These things may not directly inform the kind of career to choose, but they will give you some hints into what can make her happy.
Remember, the ultimate goal is lifelong joy.
5. Your child can begin his or her career even from now
The days when you have to wait to be twenty-something to pursue a career are long gone. Today, thanks to technological innovations, there are many ways kids can practice there careers.
Toys and play sets are very common examples of this. TV shows, movies, and documentaries (all under your supervision) can also help your child nurture the career they are interested in.
You can also get them books, or surf the internet with them to find places where their preferred careers are talked about.
Excursions and regular visits to companies where their preferred careers are practiced, will also help them gain better understanding of their choices.
6. Let them change their minds
Think back to your early years. What career did you love in primary school? Did that choice change in secondary school?
Our choices change multiple times as we progress in life. This is not a bad thing at all. It only indicates growth and learning: as we grow older, we learn new things and update our choices.
If your child changes his mind every time, allow them to do that. Today, they may want to become doctors; tomorrow, they may be attracted to law; the next day, they may want to done a helmet and boots. And that is absolutely fine.
Young age is mainly for exploration. Allow your child to explore different things!
Is it worth it?
Is it really important to go through the stress of helping your child find a career? Yes, absolutely.
Careers are the carriers of growth and success. They are the catalysts that will drive us to the life that we want for ourselves and our family. So, take the stress to help your children plan their career.
You may begin with our Career Planning Masterclass