What did you want to be when you grew up? I remember when people scoffed at my brother when he said he wanted to be a garbage man. It wasn't seen as a great choice to pursue but look how important they are in our world!
How we portray careers, skills and ideas for future employment will often evolve into what children feel would be an appropriate job. Even now I learn about different kinds of jobs that I think would have been so exciting for me to try - but had never knew even existed (I so want to be a socio-costumologist!). Limiting what jobs and careers are encouraged with children takes away so much chance for exploration for them.
Encouraging children to learn about the importance of all jobs can help create more opportunities for them to develop skills, appreciate things and maybe decide on a career.
For example - tradespeople
Trades are often seen as less glamorous, or are viewed as jobs for young men that drop out of school. However trades are very much one of the most important industries out there and so it is important to introduce the idea of trades to children at a young age.
Learning a trade (or two!) can lead to the discovery of new and exciting ways to look at the world. So helping kids explore how things are made, how things are fixed and who is responsible for doing these things is a great addition to the way they learn and discover.
The best way to introduce young children to trades is to provide an environment that offers them a chance to participate in the work themselves. Explore tools and how they work, build things by hand, have things available to take apart and repair. Find opportunities to talk about the people that work in the field in a positive way and point out all the different things people make for us to be able to use each day.
Work has just begun on a new series as part of the Kindness Kangaroo Project - The Robot Rules series
This series will feature robots and focus on problem-solving and consequences. As I work with kids to get ideas for the book we will talk about the kinds of jobs needed to build things, tools, and programming things. I don't always know where the story will end up since the conversation with the kids is a large part of the inspiration.
If you want to stay posted about this series, and other projects please join our email list here.
Providing an environment of learning is a big part of the explore and discover aspect of a child's education. An environment that has stethoscopes and telescopes should also include tools and plumbing pipes, not only to allow a child to explore all types of occupations but also to inspire conversation about what things are used for, where things come from and more!
Find people in your family or your neighbourhood that practice a trade, maybe they can show your child what is involved, how to do certain things or have a conversation about why they love what they do.
When something breaks, find out if there are ways it can be repaired, and who would be able to do that job. (this is better for the environment too!) Recently, the sole on my son's boot started to pull away - we suggested he check into a cobbler to see if it could be repaired before buying new boots. It is a good lesson in value of things (to help create a less throw-away society), it was a good introduction to seeing a specific trade and how important it can be to our community and it was a chance to talk about how things are made.
I am the kind of person that doesn't sit still for very long. The idea of a 9-5 job sitting at a desk was not appealing to me at all. But, there wasn't many choices offered to me at the time.
Having a job where I could take action, and solve real-world problems all day long sounds exciting. Finding a job where there is always a chance for learning new things and growing skillset fits my personality so well. Working in a trade can be much more appealing to children who like to move, and so introducing the idea to them early on can save a lot of anxiety and disappointment about what kind of job they would enjoy.
Every job is worthy and every child should be able to explore aspects of work enough so when it comes time for them to decide about where their interests lie, they can feel like they have the choice to do what best suits them!
"When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece."
Letting kids play with real tools may seem risky but risky play is important in child development. Check out my Safe Risks blog post to find out how you can incorporate this into your child's education.