For Parents

How to Help Your Kids With Career Exploration

Help your kids find and explore their passions!


As a parent, you want to do everything you can to help your children be successful. Some parents start before their little ones are born, from baby-proofing nutritional meal planning to educational entertainment. But, chances are you’ve been designing and envisioning what their future might look like from the very beginning.

Now that they’re growing up, it’s time to think about their future more concretely. It’s never too early to explore different career paths with your kids. This will help them understand their options, but it will also give you a chance to bond and spend quality time together. 

You may have noticed that your kid is more interested in a few activities or subjects than others. These interests may be clues to their career path. While keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at the steps on how to help your kids with career exploration. 

How To Explain To Your Kids The Importance of Early-Career Prep

Kids are very impressionable, and they are excellent at mimicking the behavior of those around them. Even introducing the word “job” when they help you or have chores is a great way to begin making a correlation between different jobs and good work ethics. Explain to them that it’s important to have a good job to have a good life and take care of themselves and their family when they’re older.

If you want your kids to understand the importance of early-career prep, show them through your actions. Roleplay is an excellent way to begin the conversation and help kids understand different career options. Let them know that it’s never too early to start planning for their future and that there are many things they can do to prepare.

Explain in the context of their current interests and how those could lead to a fulfilling career. Leave room for exploring; you can also talk about other careers, and they don’t have to choose one right away. Help them see that it’s okay to change their mind and that they can always revisit their options later on.

How to Help Your Kids Explore Careers

Once you have explained the importance of early career preparation to your kids, it is time to help them with their career exploration. Here are some tips on how you can do that.

  • Encourage your kids to take interest in various activities.
  • Make sure to expose them to different career options.
  • Encourage them to talk to people who are working in their field of interest.
  • Help them develop their skills by enrolling them in courses or workshops.

Think about their interest and age; for example, if you are a parent of a child who goes to elementary school, field trips are an excellent way to start career exploration- museums, libraries, or grocery stores. You can call ahead and express your interest in having your child talk to someone who works there.

Experiences similar to this make career preparation easier. They will have a chance to ask questions, and they can see different careers in action. If you are the parent of a middle schooler, then job shadowing may be a better option. This is when your child spends time with someone working in their chosen career field. They can learn about the commute, what they wear to work, and their day-to-day responsibilities.

Use Your Network

You should consider looking at your network to explore different careers and notice that people are in many different professions. You can introduce your child to someone working in their field of interest and have them ask questions. This is an excellent way for your child to learn more about what they should expect from that career. Invite someone in your network over for dinner; sometimes, a familiar place is more comfortable when talking about careers. It is also important for your child to see there are many different paths they can take to achieve their career goals.

Help Your Child Learn About Their Interests

Self-assessment is a key part of choosing the right career path, and it is something that you can help your child with. There are a few different ways to do this. You can have them take an interest inventory, which will help them learn about their work-related values, interests, and skills. Many different assessments are available online or through their guidance counselor as they get older. You can also download our career exploration worksheet for kids to help them learn about their interests.

What Not To Do

As a parent, you want what’s best for your kids. In doing so, you don’t want to push your kids into a career they are not interested in. It’s best to let them organically choose a career path through the experiences you select and with those you trust.

Not Being Open

When your child expresses interest in a specific career that you may disagree with, help them learn more about it instead of pushing your child away. This includes getting them resources, setting up job shadows, and introducing them to people working in that field.

Shadow Their Progress, But Don’t Be a Helicopter Parent

It is important to keep an open mind regarding your child’s future. If they are constantly changing their minds, that’s okay! They are exploring and trying to find the best fit for them. Shadow their progress and be protective. Don’t give complete access to your child; maintain a safe environment as you both learn together.

The most important thing is that they are happy with their career choice. So, let them explore and find their path!

How to Set a Good Example For Your Kids to Follow

You probably wonder how you can set a good example for your kids to follow. It is easier than you think. Start with just being yourself. When you’re genuine, kids can see that and will be more likely to trust you. From there, you can gradually start offering bits of advice, but always let them know that they can come to you with any questions or concerns. You should also think about modeling the behavior you want your children to follow. If you want them to be responsible, then show them that you’re responsible. If you want them to be respectful, make sure you’re respectful to them and others. It may seem like a small gesture, but it will make a significant impact over time.

Last but not least, have open and honest conversations with your kids about your career. Let them know what you do, how you do it, and your day-to-day responsibilities. This will help them see that there is more to a career than just the job itself. It’s also a great opportunity for you to share your own experiences, both good and bad, in a way that is easy to understand for their age.

Books and Resources for Kids’ Career Exploration

To guide your child as a parent, you need to ensure that you are equipped with knowledge. This is where you should go through some relevant books and other resources, where you can teach your kids about career exploration. Here are some of our favorite books that we recommend to start reading. Also, look at the YouTube list we’ve created on career exploration videos for kids.

Expect to Win

Expect to Win is a book written by an author named Carla Harris. This book shares how to gain the wisdom needed for career exploration; it shares valuable tips on being successful at work.

What Color is Your Parachute?

What Color Is Your Parachute?: It’s a timely book to read for those looking for a job or career change. The book is updated every year, so it is always relevant.

Do What You Are

Do What You Are: This book helps you understand your personality type and how it can lead you to a successful career.

Continue Career Exploration with Your Kids

The best way to continue your exploration as a parent is to learn and explore with your kids. This will help them to feel more comfortable and trusting with the process. Remember that it is important to set a good example for them to follow. Don’t be afraid to have open and honest conversations with them about your career. Lastly, use books and other resources to help teach them about career exploration. The more knowledgeable you and your kids are, the better the experience will be.

We hope this article has given you some helpful tips on how to continue career exploration with your kids. Just remember to be patient, be open-minded, and be there for them every step of the way. With your guidance, they are sure to find a career that they love!

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About the Author

Simone Feagen

Simone is a career coach whose clients have included Fortune 500 companies, healthcare industry professionals, and many more. She is a mother and has Six Sigma Lean Black Belt Professional (LBBP) and Six Sigma Champion Certified (SSCC) certifications from the Management and Strategy Institute.

Last updated on: September 13, 2023