How to Cultivate Your Child’s Path to Their Dream Career

by Erika Robertson
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Recent surveys have shown that very few Americans end up landing their dream jobs. Even though many parents tell their kids they can be anything they want to be when they grow up, kids don’t always get the opportunities to launch their dream careers once they get older. It’ll sometimes result in people settling for careers they are not truly passionate about.

Would you like to make sure your child doesn’t ever find themselves in this situation? If so, you can take certain steps to ensure they have the chance to pursue their dreams as they grow. Here is a guide on how to cultivate your child’s path to their dream career.

kid dancers | JackF from Getty Images via
Photo credit: JackF from Getty Images via

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Ask Your Child About Their Interests

From the time your child is a young age, begin asking them about what they’re naturally interested in. Some kids will take a liking to the idea of growing up to be teachers, while others will set their sights on launching athletic careers. Whatever the case, don’t be afraid to ask your child the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

You don’t necessarily want to overdo it and constantly be asking your child about their career plans when they’re still in elementary school. You might begin to put too much pressure on your child by taking this approach. But kids are known to dream bigger than many adults, so it’s a good idea to start planting seeds in your child by asking them about their ambitions. It’ll shine a light on the things your child is interested in without taking factors like prospective salaries into account.

Support Your Child and Their Interests

Once you know more about the things that interest your child, do your best to be as supportive as you can be, even if you are not as excited about these things as your child is. You might not be thrilled to hear that your child wants to be, say, an athlete when they grow up, and you might even know the odds will be stacked against your child if they decide to go down this path. Still, you need to show your support for your child anyway.

Remember: There is no guarantee your child is going to remain interested in the things that interest them today forever. For all you know, they might lose interest in them within the next year or two and come up with a new idea for what they would like to do when it comes to their career. But they might be apprehensive when you ask them about their interests later if they know there is a chance you might not throw all your support behind them.

pin on pinterest_help your child discover their dream career

Encourage Your Child to Explore Their Interests

As a parent, do more than just verbally support your child when they talk to you about what their interests are. Go a step further than that and encourage them to explore the things they’re interested in. If they tell you they would like to grow up to be a world-famous dancer one day, buy them dancewear and get them involved in a local dance class. Or purchasing them a cheerleading uniform if they try out for their school cheer team. Exposing them to things they’re interested in will help them decide just how serious they are about them.

If you notice your child is even more interested in a particular activity after they try it, continue to push them to dig deeper into their passions. If you notice they don’t love an activity as much as you anticipated, gently nudge them in another direction and see if it sparks their interest. Your child might realize that dance or cheerleading isn’t for them, but these activities could make them curious about giving gymnastics a try. Invest in gymnastic apparel for them and let them try that, too. The more things your child can try, the better the chances of them landing on something they love.

Help Your Child Get a Great Education Based on Their Interests

No matter what your child wants to be when they grow up, they’ll most likely need to get a quality education to pursue their dream career. This is one area in which you’ll need to step in and help them over the years. When your child is still young, simply getting them into the best school possible will be the only thing you can do to assist them. But as they begin to get older, you can start to look into either getting them into a specialized school or, at the very least, pushing them to take the kinds of classes they’ll need to excel in to pursue their dream job later in life.

Outside of helping your child get a good education, you should also find other ways to help them develop the skills they’ll need to chase their dreams. If they express an interest in teaching, suggest they begin babysitting when they’re old enough to do it so that they can figure out how much they enjoy being around kids. If they tell you they would like to work as an accountant down the line, let them help manage your family’s budget and put them in a position to fine-tune their math and money skills. You can help your child get real-world experiences that could pay off in a big way in the future.

Understand Your Child May Change Their Interests

Very few children decide what they want to be when they grow up when they’re little and see their dreams through to the end. Many will change their minds multiple times as they get older, and you need to understand this is OK! It’s normal for a child to want to be one thing one day and then want to be a completely different thing just a few months, weeks, or even days later.

As your child grows, keep on having conversations with them about their career interests. It’ll keep you in the loop and let you find the best ways to support your child as they try to find their way in the world.

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