The search for what your child will do after high school graduation starts before high school.  As your child grows, make observations as to what their strengths are.  For example, if you have a child who has ‘good hands’ and enjoys working with their hands, pick up on that making mental notes.  A child with good fine motor skills may enjoy working with their hands.  A career as a dentist, one works/owns a dental lab, a dental hygienists, surgeon, phlebotomist, gemologist or any profession that involves detailed work, may be something to consider.  A child who enjoys designing lego projects without paying attention to instructions, maybe a child who would like going into engineering, architecture urban planning or builder.  A child who likes playing school, reading and helping out with small children, maybe down the road would be a good teacher of early childhood education or pediatric nursing.  For those of you who have older children, you probably can look back and say, “I know what you are talking about, I remember seeing the standout qualities in my child.”  For me, it was actually grandparents who picked on this on our children first.  Parents sometimes are busy being the parents and if you asked them what their kids like doing they’ll tell you, “oh yeah, my son loves legos and Lincoln Logs and designing lego villages, or Lincoln log structures.”  Sometimes it’s the teacher or grandparent who makes the connection, so pay attention to the patterns and clues your child exhibits.  Looking back with our kids they all showed early on the skills that would lead to what they are doing today.

      As your kids get into middle school, find activities that allow them to utilize these skills and start assessing if they enjoy these activities.  Exposing children to a variety of activities allows for them to explore and gives you a  chance to see what they are good at and what they like to do.  Sometimes kids don’t enjoy what they are good at.  Around the dinner table, while in the car have discussions about occupations that would make the most of the skill set your child has.  Have your child do some research on their own to see where the jobs are and what do the jobs pay.  Ask your child as they get older, “Does this job fit into the way they hope to live?”

    When your child has a serious interest, find mentors for them to take a list of questions to and maybe get some time shadowing someone in the focused areas.  Make sure they are on time and be respectful of the adult’s time.

    At every point along the journey, explain to your child that a good work ethic and strong academics lead to many open doors.  The more doors that are open to them, the more choices they will have making for more great days 🍎

Part 2 next week.