by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
In order for tweens to be ready to start their first job as teens, they need practice. But without actually being able to work, how can they get that practice? As a parent, there are a variety of ways I help to cultivate career skills in my tweens. From household responsibilities, to volunteering, playing games, and more, get proactive in developing your tween's career skills today. They may not be thrilled with some of these ideas at first. But in time they will grow to love them and thank you in the future.
Get tweens involved in activities and clubs.
This is a simple way to teach your tween the teamwork it takes to succeed in their future career. It also can teach organizational and leadership skills. Recreational sports, dance, drama, band, choir, science, and other educational clubs and activities are available in most areas. Check with your child's school or homeschool group first. If the programs don't exist there, private organizations and churches often offer many activities.
Volunteer programs can help encourage and enhance career skills.
From helping the elderly, to feeding the homeless, caring for animals, and more, tweens can get involved in many volunteer programs. Call around to various organizations in your area to see who needs help. Remember to ask about age requirements. Not all organizations or opportunities are available to minors. Some also may require that an adult volunteer along with the tween. This can actually be good, as it gives you and your child some rewarding time together. Teaching kids to volunteer not only gives them valuable career experience, but also helps encourage compassion.
Let them take charge of certain things at home.
Responsibility starts at home. Chores and other household tasks teach your child important career skills that can be used throughout life. I like to treat my kids as team members and let them help in certain household decisions. Although this is not a job, it does help kids prepare for making choices in life, which strongly applies to career-related skills. Deciphering choices that lead to certain outcomes is a much-desired trait in the workforce, as is the ability to be part of a collaborative team. Being a 'mommy's helper' and watching over younger siblings and even pets is one way tweens can take charge. Just be sure they know the rules and also have proper supervision.
Family field trips geared toward interest can help cultivate skills.
No matter what your child is interested in doing as a career, there is always a related destination. Even if your child changes career thoughts often, it's still possible. For instance, if your tween wants to be a firefighter, visit the local firehouse. Some cities even have firefighter museums. If your child wants to work with animals, visit local shelters, zoos, and wildlife reserves. The main idea is to enrich your child's life with various activities and destinations that may enhance her career choice. Even if your tween changes her mind about career directions, the field trips will still add to overall experience.
Educational books and other media are useful.
Surround your child with opportunities to read books related to his career and life interests. If books are easy to access, even kids who do not prefer to read will eventually start picking them up. Also offer a variety of educational computer games, movies, and TV shows to show from. While it's not a good idea for a child to watch TV or play on the computer all day long, in moderation, these things can be good. When a child enjoys doing something, it can be easier for the knowledge to sink in, which is always a good thing.
*I originally publised this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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