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Talk to Children About Career Planning

Assisting your children with career planning options can begin in elementary school simply by discussing their interests. As the child grows and matures, his interests undoubtedly will change many times, and this is understandable. Discussing options is the most important aspect of preparing for the future, which helps kids understand the opportunities are limitless with the right preparation. Even though a decision is not necessary for many years, exploring the possibilities is the right place to start with imagination and discussion.

Discuss your child's interests and hobbies and talk about professions that correspond with these interests. For example, if your child is interested in animals, discuss with her the options of becoming a veterinarian, biologist, zoologist or trainer. Always give information at an age-appropriate level -- using terminology that is not understood will cause confusion and perhaps a reluctance to discuss the topic in the future.

Talk about your career with your child and invite him to join you for a day. Working in an office environment might seem exciting on the surface, but after spending the day amidst several cubicles, he might think more about working outdoors. Coordinate with parents in other career fields to expose children to a variety of work environments.

Make an appointment with a career counselor at his school. Most middle and high schools have on-staff counselors available who are trained to discuss career paths with students. Parental involvement in these meetings often leads to more dialog about career options and dreams, also allowing parents to continue the discussion at home.

Encourage your children to take part in extra curricular activities that relate to his interests. Children interested in acting, singing, dancing or performing in general can benefit greatly from involvement with plays and musicals. Becoming involved in community theater groups also is an opportunity to learn more about the technical aspect of productions in addition to those on stage.

Discuss all of your child's interests, no matter how impractical you might think they are. For example, if your child expresses an interest in being an artist, do not simply dismiss it. Talk about mainstream choices in the art field such as graphic design, film production and advertising. Consider career options that combine two fields, such as computer animation, which relies on talent in the arts but also computer skills.

Assist in finding work-related experiences in fields she would like to explore. Students interested in being an attorney might benefit from working in a law office after school or during the summer. Unlike the glamorized version of attorneys on TV and in movies, working in a real law office might seem boring and unappealing.



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