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Teaching Children About Career Choices

written by: theMallorys•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 2/9/2011

Teaching children about career choices should start in the home. As a parent, you know your child’s strengths and interests, and are best able to guide him. Here are some methods you can use to teach about different careers.

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    Grandmother and child 

    Teaching children about career choices is best done through activities, rather than assigning them articles or books to read on the matter. That’s not to say that there isn’t a place for written text, but your children will really get the message if you can show them instead. Here are some ways that you can do that:

    (Image Credit: Gabriella Fabbri)

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    Internships

    Internship opportunities are a proven method of teaching children about career choices. This method is for older children, and landing an internship in some areas is competitive. The company or organization benefits from having the help without the need to pay for it, and some internship supervisors really are grateful for the opportunity to pass down the skills they have learned. Children benefit from practical learning experiences that may help them with their future careers. A child who excels in the internship might also leave with a great job reference.

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    Apprenticeships

    Apprenticeships are even better than internships for teaching children about career choices. Your child may be paid for the work and learn firsthand what is needed to succeed in an industry that he is considering. They also tend to last longer than internship opportunities. One of the main benefits of your child working as an apprentice is the individualized attention and mentoring they are guaranteed to receive from the person under whom they apprentice.

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    Field Trips

    Take your child on field trips when you can when you are ready to teach them about career options. It can be as simple as asking your friends to give your family a tour of their company. You might also be able to join other groups that have already set up a field trip to the business or organization that you want to visit. Field trips work well children of all age groups, as long as they are ready to explore their options for jobs or entrepreneurship opportunities. It is a great option if you have children in multiple age groups, because everyone will benefit by asking age appropriate questions and getting the answers.

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    One on One Interviews

    You may have had opportunities to conduct one on one interviews with people who work at companies you were interested in working for. These interviews often give you new information and insights that you never knew prior to speaking with the interviewees. Your children can experience the same benefits by interviewing adults with the careers they want some day. The interviews that you set up for your children don’t have to be formal. You can invite someone over for dinner, arrange a phone call or even encourage your child to send questions by email.

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    Shadowing

    Look for shadow opportunities for your child, where they can follow someone on the job for a day or half a day. It doesn’t give them a comprehensive view of what it takes to make it at that type of job, and they may leave with little knowledge. What shadowing does do well, however, is give them a taste of what to expect with that career choice. Your child will either be motivated to learn more, or put the career option on hold.

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    These are all proven ways for teaching children about career choices. It’s not a one size fits all approach. One child may respond well to one or two methods, while the other may not. Test each to see what works best for your children’s learning styles, personalities and interest levels.

    References:

    Junior Achievement: JA Job Shadowing

    www.ja.org/programs_job_shadow.shtml

    Learn More Inidiana: Apprenticeships

    http://www.learnmoreindiana.org/needtoknow/knowyouroptions/Pages/Apprenticeships.aspx