Talking to Kids about Occupations

Have you ever asked your child: “What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?”  If you haven’t, don’t worry: This doesn’t have to be a stressful conversation for your child (in fact, it can be quite fun!) While your kids may be too young for “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” or “Career Day” at school, you can still find fun ways to introduce the concept of occupations to your young children.


Here are a few ideas:

1) Start by playing an easy “job-themed” game using occupations-themed toys or role play costumes. The key is to keep it light and fun, but try to ask some exploratory questions, such as:

  • “What does a librarian do?”
  • “What’s the name of your doctor?”
  • “What does your teacher do at school every day?”
  • “Who puts the mail in our mailbox every day?

2) Talk about the what careers the grown-ups in your child’s life have, explaining it in simple terms. “Daddy works as a nurse and helps people when they are sick. Mommy is an accountant, which means she keeps track of numbers and money.”

3) Break out the crayons and paper, and ask your child what he or she wants to be when all grown-up. Tell him or her what YOU thought you wanted to be at that age. Draw a picture and talk about it together.

 occupations puzzle

This is a fantastic activity to do year after year, as your child’s personality develops! Date the drawings and keep them somewhere safe:  Your child will love to see that at age 3, she wanted to be a librarian, but by age 4, she decided to pursue the fast-paced life of a race car driver.

What does your child want to be when they grow up? Share with us in the comments below, or join the conversation on Facebook.


  1. Every person has a job. It’s a great way to engage your kids in the world around them.

    At the grocery store for instance:
    “What is this?” (an apple or orange) colors
    “Where does it come from?” (fruit or containers have labels with the its’ origin) geography
    “How did it get here?” (train, plane, boat, truck) transportation
    “What do you call the person who drove the train, plane, boat or truck?” (job titles)