Asking your child what he or she wants to be when all grown up can be a lot of fun for parents as well as for the child. The imaginations of young children can be astounding. One week your child may want to be a firefighter, and the next week a great chef, and the next week a professional athlete. By giving children the tools to realize their ambitions, we can show them that, with some work and planning, their dreams are attainable.
Here are some ways to help nurture your child’s dreams:
Encourage inborn talents and skills.
Go beyond asking what your child wants to be when he or she grows up by discussing the things that matter most to your child. Is there an alignment between the things that matter most, and your child’s inborn talents, and what he or she dreams of doing?
Childhood is a time of exploration. Presenting your child with options to explore can get his or her creative juices flowing even more.
Connect with someone who is living your child’s dream.
A great way to inspire your child is by finding someone who is living your child’s dream and then getting them together. That person can speak with your child about what it took to get there, and also to where he or she is today. Did the person go to college? What did he or she study? Which childhood activities turned out to be the most helpful for later in life?
Motivate your child to be goal-oriented.
Show your child how to work toward what he or she wants. Encourage your child to dream and to reach high. Help your child to create an action plan, listing what specifically needs to happen in order to reach his or her goals.
Setting goals can also give your child organizational and critical-thinking skills. Dreaming can also enable an action plan to take shape while asleep, emerging upon awakening.
Listen, and be flexible.
Children, especially when young, repeatedly change their minds about what they want to be when they grow up, which is normal. If your child wants to change course, that’s fine, but make sure that your child is doing so because he or she simply wants to try something new – and not because things are starting to get hard and your child wants to quit.
Listen really carefully to your child, and understand where he or she is coming from.