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Mumsnet users share with Little Tikes how they get their child thinking about what they want to be when they grow up

(349 Posts)
EllieMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 19-Sep-18 10:04:38

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Some children are adamant they’re going to be a ballet dancer or an astronaut when they grow up, whereas others are more interested in activities such as building and putting things together. This might one day turn into a career like engineering. With more and more emphasis on the importance of STEM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and getting children involved in them at an early age, Little Tikes would love to know how you get your children thinking about what they want to be when they grow up and in particular get them involved in STEM subjects.

Here’s what Little Tikes have to say: “STEM learning from an early age opens children up to a world full of exciting hands-on play. Preschool-age children are perfect for this type of learning. These mini scientists are impossibly curious and love to experiment and discover! Future engineer, mathematician or chemistry teacher… for now, the fun is the learning.”

Perhaps you purchase toys that involve learning from an early age to help stimulate them? Do you have conversations with your DC about the vast array of things they can do when they grow up? When it comes to STEM subjects, do you take them on days out that have an element of STEM education involved? Maybe you encourage them to keep pursuing whatever it is they’ve shown interest in?

However you get your children thinking about what they want to be when they’re older and STEM education, let us know on thread below and you’ll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £300 voucher of their choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck

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BristolMum96 Wed 19-Sep-18 12:27:11

I don't. I think the idea of what you want to be when you grow up, and career choices, for children - is insane. Let kids be kids. Hardly anyone does what they 'wanted to be' as a kid anyway. I don't buy specific toys or encourage career thinking at this young age

del2929 Wed 19-Sep-18 12:28:44

childrens programmes we watch often bring up the topic of jobs especially things like being a doctor from get well soon on cbeebies- or a vet from my pet and me.

toys and role play are always a good idea and we always tend to have new items every so often- nurses to veterinary station to teachers desk.
weve always tried to encourage our dc to never limit themselves especially our older ones who are in their teens looking at career paths in high school.

sharond101 Wed 19-Sep-18 13:00:10

I just mention in random places about people doing a job and ask their opinoins and also ask them what they would like to be They are young and their likes will lead them in the right direction.

TheSpottedZebra Wed 19-Sep-18 13:03:33

I do try to point out different people doing different jobs -more from an awareness point of view rather than to make dc consider what they want to do/be.

Actually I fear that many jobs will disappear by the time mine are grown, to be replaced by some kind of bot. The world will be a totally different place to the one we have now, so many jobs will be obsolete!

Sierra259 Wed 19-Sep-18 13:06:47

I tend to be led by whatever interests or is relevant to the DC at that time. So talking about vets when we had to take the cat, and bringing them along. Same with going to the hospital or doctors. Museum trips in the holidays with again a focus on the things that interest them.

Toys-wise we have a load of LEGO and also a robot construction set, plus role play medical kit. On a tablet there's loads of science based games - my eldest lived Alchemy recently and we talked about the different materials. I think the most important thing is making sure they have some exposure to a wide variety of possibilities and giving them enough confidence to pursue the paths they're interested in.

Sierra259 Wed 19-Sep-18 13:07:46

loved Alchemy that should be!

bibolda Wed 19-Sep-18 13:20:34

I think you can not make up their minds. I remember when we were kids we we dreaming about what we wanted to be. My brother wanted to be the bin man, because he took his pacifier away....and I wanted to be like cowboys.
My daughter even came up with a better choice, she just wants to be the Queen smile
Try to make her draw and learn numbers and letters, she is 2 and a half so lot to learn, use lego to develop some creative skills and teaching her the currencies and saving money in a pot.
I thought when I will ask this question what she wants to be when she will grow up, she will answer differently, but the Queen is everywhere, so has a big impact on all of our lives.

PhilomenaButterfly Wed 19-Sep-18 13:28:16

School had an "occupation day". DD went as an RSPCA officer, she now wants to be a wildlife photographer, DS2 went as Buzz Lightyear! 😂

voyager50 Wed 19-Sep-18 14:08:25

I agree with Bristol Mum - they don't need to even start thinking about it until they are in their teens and with the way the world is changing many jobs won't exist even in ten years time and many new ones will be created in new fields by the time they are old enough to work.

Asteve15 Wed 19-Sep-18 14:14:22

My DD is still too young to be able to discuss the idea of what she'd like to be when she grows up but I am consciously trying to provide her with a variety of different toys and activities, including role play style play, so that she can develop her own likes/preferences and go from there. At the moment one day she'll love building with her lego but the next it's all about being mummy to her dolly so I'm not sure it's fostering a career path yet but least she's experimenting with different things, which is the main thing.

asuwere Wed 19-Sep-18 14:21:23

I don't think I've ever tried to encourage them to think about it. They do regularly tell me what they're going to be but that changes all the time. I don't think they need to worry about it till they're in their teens and choosing subjects.

RandomUsers Wed 19-Sep-18 14:59:08

My DD's future career is dependent on whatever cartoon / TV programs that are popular at the moment.

Fire fighter, Bus driver, Princess, Doctor, Ice-cream seller, Post man, cake maker, etc.
To be fair, she's only 3

treegone Wed 19-Sep-18 15:54:04

At pre school age the concept of a job is meaningless. They like what they like but to translate that into work is not something they would understand. Their abilities and preferences will be shaped by many things as they grown up. Talking about astronauts and doctors is of no harm but for now it's better to encourage them to enjoy school, their friends and teachers and find the fun in literacy and numeracy to ensure that their education runs as smoothly as possible, which ultimately will be the most help for them deciding what career they want.

Queenofmyownheart Wed 19-Sep-18 19:48:33

I don't tell my kids or try to influence them in any way. I tell them they can be whatever they want, it's up to them to put the work in to achieve it. DD1 (8) wants to be a ballet teacher! DD2 (6) doesn't have a clue but something involving animals! That being said I have encouraged them to stay in education, when they ask what they do after school I have told them university. Purely because that wasn't an experience I had and I would love for them to have that.

Oblomov18 Wed 19-Sep-18 19:52:17

Even at 15, having already chosen GCSE options, if a child doesn't really know, it's difficult.

Devilishpyjamas Wed 19-Sep-18 19:56:50

I don’t. Mine are teens now & I tell them about careers friends have, but their career is their choice. I was a scientist originally & mine are not interested in science particularly. Although middle son is rather good at the sciences, he wants to be an actor. He’s had enough professional acting gigs to know the score in terms of employability & competition for drama school. It looks like a hideous career to me, couldn’t think of anything worse but am happy to support him. He knows I can’t afford to bank roll him but if he wants to give it a go & can support himself while doing so it’s nothing to do with me.

I’m just embarking on a fourth career change - (related to my third) - expect my kids to find their own way/follow their own interests as well.

Ashhead24 Wed 19-Sep-18 20:00:20

DS currently wants to be either Cinderella (for the carriage) or a squirrel (to climb trees). I am just happy to encourage whatever the current interest is. It's a long time til they have to pick something serious.

PhilomenaButterfly Wed 19-Sep-18 20:23:26


Unescorted Wed 19-Sep-18 21:37:31

I am with Bristol Mum too. My dh and my dbro are damaged by their parents expectations. There is a tendency to encourage the thing you were unable to achieve but would like others think you were able to do. It is an intolerable pressure to put your expectation of your failure on the doorstep of your child.

With our kids they are following their path... DD wants to do art & DS an adventurer. Both are successful at their chosen path because they enjoy it. If we had gone down the encourage the thing that we thought they would be good at as toddlers they would be an architect and an engineer. I think they would be bored to years. Childhood is a time to explore not close down horizons.

CMOTDibbler Wed 19-Sep-18 21:51:04

I'm a physicist, and dh's degree is in geo chemistry, so unsurprisingly we've always talked a lot about various science things and go to science museums and centres. But we do try and expose ds to as many different things as possible so it's not just our dreams!
But currently he's torn between being a nanotechnologist, a doctor, or a software developer

ThanksHunkyJesus Wed 19-Sep-18 22:29:50

I try to let them lead and make suggestions based on their interests. My dc are too little to think about this but my 11yo dsc is very artistic and loves video games. Together we've looked at how you become a video game designer and that's what they want to aim for. I just hope all my children get the chance to do what will make them happy.

Headfullofdreams Wed 19-Sep-18 22:49:40

I don't put too much emphasis on this. More on finding out what they enjoy and telling them to follow their dreams and study what they enjoy and are good at.

NeverTwerkNaked Thu 20-Sep-18 00:06:25

Mine both talk about it a lot. One wants to be an dancer, the other a physics professor! But they are young (5 and 7), and I make sure they know that their focus should be on following things they enjoy and staying open minded about the future.

One thing I do though is talk about family members and friends and try and help them see the wide variety of different careers and jobs out there.

Going to see a relative in their very cutting edge scientific workplace has definitely helped them both see science as a very exciting area whether to just enjoy at school or as a career in the future.

NeverTwerkNaked Thu 20-Sep-18 00:08:48

Post 11 I think I will start to have some quite focussed conversations so they don’t make decisions they later regret. I want them to be free to decide but I want to ensure their decisions are informed ones. I am open to them pursuing their dreams if they have a real passion. Their dad earns an incredibly good salary doing something that started off as his hobby.

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