Lively, valuable conversations that will help kids in everything they do in life can take place around the dinner table or bbq, around a campfire, on a roadtrip or even while hiking and biking. Jobs and ‘hire education’ are hot topics right now –make them fun, engaging and relevant for your kids this summer!
Here are some tips for how to get started:
1) Share with them what you like about your job or responsibilities-not just the financial rewards but the satisfaction you get from different aspects of it. Discuss your career dreams and how you did (or did not) pursue them. Be honest about the things you like about your job, your goals for the future and how you plan to attain those goals.
2) Take notice of your kids’ innate talents and interests; comment and encourage their development. Explain how specific strengths relate to specific jobs. Look for attributes such as leadership and negotiation skills, detail orientation, mediation and conflict resolution skills or analytical and problem solving abilities. Praise these talents and help your child investigate careers that would utilize them.
3) When you assign responsibilities around the house, draw parallels between how your child executes them and how that skill could be valued in the workplace. For example, if your son or daughter never forgets to take out the trash, praise her reliability, punctuality and teamwork. If your son never forgets to feed the dog, applaud his maturity, sense of responsibility, compassion and nurturing.
4) Instigate lively discussions with friends and family about the jobs they’ve had in their lives, their dreams, aspirations, successes and challenges. Encourage kids’ curiosity about what people do for a living and how they ended up in the job they have. Talk about the educational or vocational training that was required.
5)Recognize and reward behaviors that will develop into strong, marketable skills such as honesty, accountability, accuracy, punctuality and teamwork. They not only develop a child’s character, they prepare them for becoming a respected employee or employer.
6)Engage kids in lively discussions about their futures; ask questions about what they like to do most at school, after school or with friends. Help them connect-the-dots between their interests and jobs that would incorporate those interests. Spend time together exploring options. Go on field trips, to the library, to neighborhood career fairs and corporate open houses. Visit college campuses and vocational training centers and ask questions about what people do for a living, what skills they needed to develop, who will hire them and what they will do on the job every day.
7) Add a new dimension to vacations and family outings by discussing the people behind the activities, events and exhibits you enjoy. Talk about who keeps our national parks safe and beautiful; who keeps the ocean and marine life healthy and vital; what professionals coordinate a museum or art exhibit. Delve into the backgrounds of the people who keep our world working smoothly and safely and who innovate new and better ideas that continually improve our standard of living.
Help your kids develop an appreciation and awareness of all the professionals who affect their lives on a daily basis, from the people who build our roads to the waste management employees who collect and recycle waste to the farmer, food distributors and grocers who get food to the market shelves. Explore behind-the-scenes teamwork and all the jobs and talents involved.
9) Help your kids develop strong interpersonal communication skills. Don’t let them focus only on computer, phone or text messaging skills. Help them learn how to verbalize their ideas and rationales concisely and to present them to others. The fear of speaking in public is one of the most common afflictions shared by adults. Help your child grow up at ease and confident in front of others. It will be a huge boost to their education, career and social success.
10) Help your kids develop a good work ethic by setting a good example. Do what you say you’re going to do, live up to your responsibilities, be a team player and give 100% on the job–especially the job of preparing your kids for the future.
1. Hold them accountable. If they promise they are going to feed the cat at five, make sure they feed the cat at five. Don’t do it for them.
2. Make them responsible. If they are old enough to do homework, they are old enough to have that homework packed up and ready to take to school in the morning.
3. Don’t wait on them. You know very well there is a difference between taking care of your kids and catering to their every whim. You’re not doing them any favors with the latter.
4. Help them develop a strong work ethic. Have fun while demonstrating the satisfaction of a job well done. “Look how clean the car is. We made it shine!”
5. Show them how you get over a disappointment. Hopefully it’s with honesty, maturity and grace. Let them know that just because something doesn’t go your way, you won’t give in to defeat, retribution or negativity.
6. It’s a cliché and a bumper sticker for good reason: Practice Random Acts of Kindness. Let your kids see that treating others with dignity, respect and generosity makes them a better person and the world a better place.
7. Point out the skills it takes for them to do things well: “You made your bed, hung up your clothes and took out the trash already? You are very organized and efficient this morning!”
8. Encourage team spirit and collaboration. Dispelling the ‘all about me’ attitude is going to help them in their personal and professional relationships.
9. Encourage their passions and curiosity. “You seemed fascinated by what the vet did today for Tinkerbelle. I read that the zoo offers behind-the-scenes tours of their veterinary facility, would you like to go on Saturday?”
10. Help connect-the-dots between their schoolwork and skills they use in every day life: “Thank you for counting my change for me. You must be doing really well in arithmetic. What else are you learning?”
11. (Ok, there are more than ten tips on this list. But for a reason.) #11 is: Encourage your kids to do more than the minimum of anything. Show them how fulfilling it is to try harder, give more, and go above and beyond. You won’t be pushing them to over-achieve, but rather to realize just how capable they are.
For creative, fun, easy-to-use career exploration materials, like our fascinating poster with 1001 Job Titles from A to Z, visit www.GetCareerWise.com.
June 7-13 is Pet Appreciation Week.
This is a chance to celebrate the animals in our lives and what they mean to us. It is also a chance for parents, teachers and youth mentors to help kids who love animals think about possible career choices.
Make this mentoring fun. Bring Spot, Garfield, Timmy the turtle, Peppy the parrot, Goldie (in her bowl please), Slinky or any other beloved pet into the room – or the yard if you happen to have a pet horse, goat or something of that size –to be the center of attention and get a fun and lively discussion going!
First, what are some of the wonderful things our pets do for us? Make your own list. You can include things such as: Pets provide…
- Exercise motivation
- Search & rescue help
You get the idea.
Then think about the things we need to provide our pets, such as:
- Health care
- Toys & Recreation
Hmmm….If you think about what pets do for us and then what we do for our pets, you start to think about cool jobs associated with all the animals we love.
Time to start another list! This will help get you started, but there are many, many more jobs to add:
- Animal Behaviorist
- Pet Groomer
- Wild Life Manager
- Vet Tech
- Marine Biologist
- Equine Transportation Coordinator
- Pet Supplies Retailer
- Animal Nutritionist
- Horse Trainer
- Pet Journal Publisher or Writer
See who can come up with the longest lists. Then give the winner a special treat and a pat on the head. You’ve just learned how to use Pet Appreciation Week to get career wise!
Please visit www.GetCareerWise.com for creative, easy-to-use career exploration materials that help get kids excited about growing up and getting a job someday.
1. You can do it. Most kids love to talk about themselves and are thrilled when adults give them their full attention. You might be surprised to hear what they want to be when they grow up.
2. You can provide mentoring through a volunteer program such as those sponsored by the National Mentoring Partnership, Read Aloud America, America’s Promise, and the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation. They welcome individual, community and corporate participation.
3. You can also mentor a child more informally any time, anywhere throughout the year: during a meal, while doing chores around the house, during TV commercials or on the way home from soccer practice. Simple questions such as “Who do you think designs soccer equipment?” and “I wonder who wrote the jingle for that commercial?” can lead to conversations about diverse career choices.
4. One-on-one conversations can uncover important clues about what will motivate a child in life and in school. Listen carefully and tie that clue to a school subject, an exploratory field trip or an informational interview with someone who works in that field.
5. You can elicit important information through shared creative activities too: reading aloud, singing, dancing, painting, exercising, visiting museums, and going to movies. The key is to hone in on what makes a child glow with enjoyment, curiosity or a sense of achievement and to help them apply that to their school work and life skills development.
6. You don’t need to preach or judge. Only encourage, nurture and appreciate. Think back to what it meant to you to have an adult care about your thoughts, dreams and opinions. That’s where strong self-esteem starts and self doubt ends.
7. If you don’t know the answers to a child’s questions, find them together. Knowing how and where to find answers is a fabulous life skill in and of itself. Visit libraries and museums, go on field trips, source varied reference materials, interview experts – show kids how rewarding it is to explore the world around them. Along the way, they will become more comfortable with finding their place in it.
8. You have a lot of wisdom to share about your work, education, career path and professional experience. Share how you have learned –or are still learning- to deal with challenges and opportunities along the way. Use all of it as your mentoring curriculum. It’s good stuff!
9. Sharing stories or regrets about the good, the bad, and yes, the stupid decisions you have made will help a child feel more at ease and less anxious about his or her own decisions. Kids appreciate honesty. (And they can spot a poser a mile away.)
10. STEM careers (science, technology, engineering and math) are hot topics in the news, as they should be. But not everyone is cut out for them. Help kids understand that thousands of jobs make the world go ‘round. We need the professionals who collect our trash and repair our cars as much as we need software engineers and biologists. Instill a respect for all professionals and what they contribute to our working world.
CareerWise by Tailwag Studio publishes creative kids-to-career resources for use at home, in the classroom or in youth mentoring programs. No special training is required, so anyone can help mentor kids so they can have brighter futures. www.GetCareerWise.com
CareerWise by Tailwag Studio publishes creative kids-to-career resources for use at home, in the classroom, by counselors, or in youth mentoring programs. No special training is required– anyone can help mentor kids so they have brighter futures. www.GetCareerWise.com
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (and again and again), there are hundreds of fabulous and fun ways to get kids excited about career exploration!
Today provides another one.
Did you know that National Donut Day began as a fundraiser for the Salvation Army in 1938? It’s held annually on the first Friday of June, in honor of the female volunteers of World War I who served donuts to soldiers.
Although we are all concerned about issues such as childhood obesity, nutrition, exercise and the like, we have to be realistic about the world we, and our kids, live in. A So whether it’s sharing a donut after an energetic game of soccer, a family bike ride or a walk around the block together, or taking a box of donuts to a local homeless shelter, you can use National Donut Day to talk about career options.
Here are some sample questions to get the conversations going:
- Who invented donuts? Why are they shaped like they are?
- Who comes up with all the different flavors? Who designs the fancy ones?
- Has anyone invented a healthy donut yet?
- What training does a professional baker need? Where would one get his or her training?
- Who manufactures and services all the big equipment needed to mass produce donuts?
- What does a donut franchise like Krispy Kreme cost and what do you have to know to run a business?
- What experts teach kids about nutrition and healthy eating? What education do you need for those jobs?
- Are there any interesting books at the library or bookstore about famous bakers, chefs or food franchise owners?
- What school subject provides information that is extremely important for a baker to know?
- What is the Salvation Army and what do they do?
You get the idea.
Now, go get some exercise, reward yourself with a donut and then visit a neighborhood library or bookstore for more food for thought!
CareerWise is the proud publisher of award winning kids-to-careers resources that creatively enable any adult to mentor kids about the importance of staying in school and becoming workforce ready. A poster with 1001 Job Titles from A to Z fosters curiosity and valuable conversations. A 96-page workbook with free teaching guide helps kids connect-the-dots between their schoolwork, their interests and growing up to get a job someday. For more products & info, please visit our site.