From a very young age children observe the world, and adults often ask them; “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. In early childhood this is a fun question which inspires answers ranging from “footballer” to “singer”, from “bin-man” (purely because it looks fun hanging off the back of a truck) to “rich and famous”.
In primary school we don’t expect children to have a realistic idea of what they want to be when they grow up. There’s no need to be pragmatic yet, instead we should let our children fantasise deep and wide. This is the perfect age to start tapping into their wild and vivid imaginations.
The series of books called “That’s a Job?” and the book “What Do Scientists Do All Day?” do a fantastic job of introducing a variety of occupations in a truly informative way. The books are engaging, colourful and balanced.
There are 3 books in the “That’s a Job?” series: I Like Animals (available now), I Like Sports (published June 2020) and I Like Being Outdoors (published October 2020). Each book offers 25 suggested jobs giving a sneak peek into a typical day, what the best and worst bits of the job are, what it takes to get the job, the qualities you need, and the duties and tasks involved. With vivid, easy to read layouts this series of books feeds children’s imaginations and can help broaden their knowledge about the world of work.
In the book “What Do Scientists Do All Day?” (available now) children are introduced to more than 100 scientists. The book explores 14 scenes of scientists in different types of working environments. Instead of concentrating on a job, the book takes a work environment (for example an Arctic Research Station) and introduces a variety of jobs that take place in that particular environment – such as geologist, research diver, communications engineers or marine biologist and more.
What I particularly like about these books, and what I encourage in my own career guidance sessions with parents, is that instead of focusing on one specific job or role, these books put the focus on a child’s passions, interests, hobbies or the work environment. When we introduce the idea of a career to children this is exactly how it should be done – we should focus on what children are interested in, what they love to do, what their favourite things are, what type of environments they thrive in and then instead of narrowing down their interests we should broaden their horizons and raise their aspirations. These books, unlike so many books for children about occupations, takes what a child loves and shows them it can be turned into a rewarding career.
Recommended age: 7-11 years old
Half English, half Dutch; born in Kenya; raised in Africa, the Middle East and North America; and now living in Luxembourg I understand what it means to be both a "3rd Culture Kid" and, as a married mother to two children, an expat parent.
I am a Registered Career Development Professional with the Career Development Institute in the UK and hold qualifications in Career Development and Coaching. I am currently working on my dissertation to obtain a Masters in Career Development at the University of Warwick in the UK.
Before moving to Luxembourg, I worked as an international banking lawyer in the City of London for six years.