Soon students will be out of school for summer break. They’ll be spending time at the pool, taking family vacations, and having fun with friends and doing activities they love. This is also a great opportunity to help them explore their interests and future careers. Have a discussion with your child and ask them about their future job goals with some of the following questions, be mindful in your response and be encouraging with their goals:
What do you want to be when you grow up?
What subjects in school do you think would be helpful for that job?
What are some things you could start doing now to learn more about a certain career?
With the rising costs of college, it is important for kids to start researching career fields at an early age before they invest a lot time, money, and energy. Here are some tips for parents to help kids have summer fun while exploring career possibilities:
1. Volunteer in the Community (with family/relatives, friends). Volunteering is a great way to explore interests, gain some work experience and teaches responsibility. Your child will also feel a great sense of reward for giving back to the community and helping others. Ask your child what some of their interests are and see if they can volunteer at an organization related to their interest. Do they love animals? Maybe they could volunteer at an animal shelter. Do they like to read? Perhaps volunteer at the library. Some organizations require children do be a certain age to volunteer and may need an adult to go with them. When researching possible volunteer opportunities, be sure to check the age requirements and any other additional requirements.
2. Job Shadow (company or a family member). Job shadowing is a really important aspect of exploring careers that can show your child what a typical work day may look like and if they indeed like the job they are observing and learning about. Job shadowing helps children realize if they really like the job or they don’t like it and they can move onto other career interests instead of wasting time on one they don’t really like. Is there a co-worker, family member, friend, coach, or mentor that your child could job shadow? The more opportunities to job shadow, the better!
3. Get Involved and Participate in your Local Community (fire company events, library, festivals, community celebrations, garage sales, car wash, food drives, donation organizations). It is important to get involved in your community and this will also help to further your child to explore careers. Research events in your local community or township to see what your child could participate in. Summer is a good time to go through the closet and clean out any unused clothing, toys or items that could be donated to those in need. Maybe your child likes to be lead and organize events and you could help them organize a garage sale in your neighborhood or organize a car wash that will help them to earn some money. They could also organize a group to help pick up litter in the community and collect recyclables.
4. Attend Career-Related Workshops or Summer Camps (kids art/cooking classes, computer/technology, etc.). Having your child participate and get involved in any summer opportunities that will help them explore their career interests will really help your child and keep them occupied this summer. Research your local community or township to see what workshops and camps are being offered. Many townships have recreational buildings that offer summer activities and camps. Also, you may find some online opportunities for workshops and camps. Michael’s Arts and Craft Stores offer art classes for kids that are really fun!
5. Research at Least Three (3) Careers a Month. Help your child to explore and research different career paths that they may be interested in. Knowledge is power! The more information and details they have about a career, the more they can decide whether it is something they want to pursue. Once they found some career paths they are interested in, then they can begin to narrow down more specific jobs and research and gather information about the jobs of their interest. A great online resource is Education Planner or PA Career Zone to have your child take some self-assessments on what jobs match their personality and values, interests, skills, and to explore different career clusters and job families. It is a lot of fun and helps children get a good jump start on their career exploration!
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