This generation of children have the world at their tiny feet and their biggest worry is how they are going to achieve all the things they want to when it comes to jobs and careers.
From actresses to astronauts, zoologist to zip wire performer (is that a thing?) they really could do anything they want to if they (and you) put their minds to it.
Most of us have been brought up quite traditionally and generally aspired to university, teaching, banking etc. We were not really encouraged to dream big and to be honest I’m not sure we really knew what amazing jobs are out there. So, for many of us when our little ones announce that they really, really want to be world renowned scientist or the next Steve Jobs or even a ballroom dancing teacher (as my 4 year old tells everyone!) we sometimes worry about being too encouraging and don’t want to set our children up to fail. But if this year has taught us anything, it is that we have to live our dreams, whatever, they may be and maybe it’s our job as parents to help our children to dream big and see where their big ideas might just take them!
One of the joys of childhood is the innocence they have about grown up life and the limitations that being an adult can put on you. So maybe instead of suppressing their enthusiasm to be a famous pianist or the next Gary Lineker (no idea about footballers!!) we should let them follow their dreams however ridiculous they may seem. With support, encouragement, and the right approach they might just surprise you.
So often, we stop our children taking up yet another activity because they have done so many for just a short space of time before they announced that it was boring, and they could not be bothered anymore. Surely our job as a parent is to help them try as many new things as possible, maybe they are not cut out to be a ballerina in your mind, but they could be, and they won't know until they try!
When they are faced with food or schoolwork they do not want to eat or do, we encourage them to try because this is what parenting is all about: encouragement and teaching new skills and ideas. Set limits if they take on a new activity that they have chosen. This can ensure that they get the most out of learning a new skill and that they are not just doing it because it is this week’s fad at school. Tell them that whatever they try has to be done for one term, 3 months, 6 months, whatever you feel is long enough to know if they are good at something and whether they really love it or hate it. Taking them to activities similar to their dream job, like football matches, concerts, science museums or Zoos can show them what they could achieve in an area they are interested in and not make practising a musical instrument because they want to be the next big pop star or on X factor seem such a chore. Giving your child a vision and show them what they could aspire to with hard work and dedication, could just get them the very career they have always dreamed of and if it doesn’t, chances are the skills they have learnt are bound to be useful for some other dream job that they chose as they grow older and see other opportunities.
Teach and encourage your children to believe in themselves, tell them to say, ‘I can do this; I can be what I want to be.’ And you never know, they might just surprise you!