A little girl playing the doctor gives her patient an injection, they all wear protective masks
  1. Providing imaginative play opportunities

Children learn so much through play! Naturally, play mimics real life. Encouraging this type of play and playing along is hugely beneficial for your child in exploring all sorts of career options. The very best part of this play is that it costs very little. Café waiters can serve up cups of mud masked as coffee. Grass served as a salad. Bedrooms are easily transformed into firehouses, police stations or classrooms. There are no limitations to this kind of play and you can encourage this type of play widely.

2. Breaking down stereotypes

One of the easiest things you can do to expand your child’s horizon is to break down gender stereotypes about jobs. Things like using terms like postman or policeman instead of postie and police officer set ideas in the minds of little people. In the same light, we often tell little girls they can “Be anything” but we never say the same slogans to little boys. Our job as parents and careers coaches is to open up their worlds not unintentionally narrow them.

3. Identifying different careers

Every trip to the supermarket or trip past a construction site or interaction with a staff member is an opportunity to expand your child’s horizons about their ideas of work, what it is and who does it. Chatting to your kids about who you see and what they are doing for work while you are out and about is the easiest and most impactful counselling you can do in his space. Another great idea is chatting about where things come from while shopping. Debunking the myth that milk comes from a carton is a great career conversation to kick off their exploration of future pathway options!

4. Reading storybooks about jobs

We know that reading is up there with playing for opportunities to discover the world for little kids. Making sure you have a wide array of books available for your child is expensive. So using the library is always an amazing way for exploring all types of books about jobs. In fact many would have themed weeks that support investigating careers, especially around National Careers Week every year. Or make your own special week with only selecting books about jobs for one week’s borrowing.

It is the little things that count here. Stopping to chat about the various types of work that are depicted and what they do and even more importantly do they enjoy it.

5. Asking more than “what do you want to be when you grow up”

If kids got a dollar for every time they were asked by someone what it is that they want to be when they grow up…. It is a strange question why you think about it! Why do we expect that kids will even have an answer for such a complex question! It also starts sending the message when they are still really young that they should be figuring it all out when what they should actually be doing is having fun exploring!  Question you could ask instead…

  • What do you imagine a *insert vocation here* does all day?
  • What do you love doing the most?
  • How many jobs do you think you will have when you are bigger?
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