Moms Meet Virtual WOW Summit Wrap-up

On Friday, March 11, 2021, the Moms Meet WOW Summit wrapped up their first virtual tradeshow event. This 3-day online event held topics on parenting, food choices for children, and tons of sneak peeks at new products from well known brands.

While I would have preferred an in-person trade show, the WOW Summit virtual event was put together in a professional and engaging way. Perhaps this is the new form of trade shows? With the upcoming Natural Products Expo West going virtual, we’ll have to make a comparison.

I learned a lot from the Moms Meet WOW Summit. Not only as a mom, but as a blogger and business entity. One particular webinar really resonated with me and I hope it can help you too!

Dr. Laura Markham author or Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids gave a really important webinar on how to create a happy and peaceful atmosphere for your kids:

Stop. Drop. Breathe. Those are the 3 important words that parents must remember when dealing with a difficult situation with their children. Stop what you’re currently doing or saying. Drop your agenda for the moment: calm yourself first by taking deep breaths. Breathe by taking a deep breath before you start again.

I learned that children who are yelled at on a normal basis becomes angrier and more anxious. That’s something I definitely have to remember! When we’re angry and frustrated, we tend to let our that frustration on our loved ones. And when it comes to your kids, they are almost too easily triggered due to their immaturity levels. Therefore, don’t just gather kindling. Soon you will start a fire that will be difficult to distinguish.

Dr. Markham also indicated that kids need to be with us to calm down. If they run off alone, they wouldn’t know how to resolve their anger and it might fester and grow angrier. We need to continue with the connection so kids can learn “self regulation”.

I hope the steps above can help you when you’re feeling like you’ve just had it. I’m going to try the practices mentioned by Dr. Markham and hope I will remember them when I need it.

I was also gifted a Moms Meet WOW Summit gift bag with some awesome products from many brands:

 

A huge thank you to Moms Meet and the guest speakers and brands! Hopefully we’ll see you at next year’s WOW Summit in person!

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

Get Ready. Set. Plant – 10 Ways to Get Kids to Enjoy Gardening

It seems like I’ve been gardening all my life. And teaching children the skills and love for gardening are what brings me joy in the gardening world. If you can see their huge smiles and excitement as they watch their plants grow, then you know you have instilled a love for nature.

I still remember as a young child, my parents would bring me out to their backyard to help plant pumpkin seeds. I then graduated to planting tree saplings to learning how to transplant, divide plants, and propagate. While not every child desires to learn about plants, most of them do however enjoy being outdoors and digging their fingers in the soil.

There are health benefits to growing your own garden or planting your own food. You get to be outside in fresh air, you decide on what you want to grow, you can see pollinators visit your garden, and you can enjoy the bounty of your fresh fruits and vegetables! And there are many easy to grow plants for children no matter their skill level.

With spring just around the corner, now is the best time to prepare for your spring planting. If you like to start with seeds, get them ready as most seeds take about 7-10 days to sprout and then 2-3 months for the plants to be fully grown. If you can’t wait for the seeds to sprout and transplant, then seedlings or small established plants might be a better choice.

Below are 10 ways of getting your child to grow their own garden. These are fairly easy steps and you can start small with just a few plants.

1 – Start off with easy to grow plants: beans, beets, carrots, peas, radishes, and tomatoes. Beans, carrots, and tomatoes can be easily grown in planters. Be sure to purchase organic whenever possible as these are edible plants.

2 – Decide on whether you want to grow in a planter or directly in ground. Planters are great for beginners or if you have a small space. Make sure planters have good drainage holes.

3 – Do you or your child have a favorite flower? Research whether the flower is in season. Check out planting seasons here: https://www.highcountrygardens.com/plant-finder/easy-to-grow-perennials

4 – Decide if you want to grow from seeds or seedlings. Most seeds take about 7-10 days to sprout. Seedlings are usually about 2-3 inches tall and can be planted directly into the ground or in a planter that can accommodate the size of a fully grown plant. Growing from seeds are particularly fun because your child can track the growth of the seed as it germinates into a seedling!

5 – Take your child to a garden center. Walk around the garden center to see what’s in season and get inspiration. Talk to a horticulturist while there to get some insider tips on growing a bountiful garden! And while you’re there, pick up some plants and start planting!

6 – Purchase basic garden tools: thick gloves, garden spade, garden hand trowel, small rake, garden shears, and watering can. Get either child size tools or smaller adult size so they’ll grow with your child.

7 – Go on a nature walk at a local park or arboretum. This will inspire both you and your child to appreciate and discover various plants. Many arboretums also sell native plants so it’s a great time for your kiddos to pick out some on their own.

8 – A plant journal. Depending on the age of your child, you can have them start a plant journal where they can draw or cut out pictures of what they’re planting. Then record the start date of planting and the growth period. This also helps develop good recording skills for future planting and gardening techniques.

9 – Grow specific plants for pollinators. Great plants to grow for butterflies and bees are native flowers or all-inclusive plants such as herbs, sunflowers, and daisies. Pollinators help increase the growth of your own plants as well as help them pollinate other plants. I love growing Milkweed for Monarch butterflies. These unique and beautiful pollinators are particularly attracted to this specific plant.

10 – Plant a hummingbird habitat garden. Once in awhile I will grow plants that hummingbirds love right in front of my front door. It’s so delightful to hear their little wings flap as they drink the nectar from my plants. Hummingbird plants include Butterfly Bush, Trumpet Vine, and Honeysuckles. Just think of anything in a tubular flower shape where their long beaks can reach into the flowers.

See below to print out a Spring Planting Calendar so you’ll know the best times to plant and harvest.

KidsGardening Interactive Spring Planting Calender

Click to access interactive-planting-calendar.pdf

Instill the love of gardening and being in nature when your child is young. Teach them basic gardening skills and they’ll soon want to grow a garden for you!

Happy gardening!

*photos courtesy of High Country Gardens and KidsGardening

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

Little Life Lessons – The Purpose of Life

When you’re a young child, life seems to be a constant bliss of playtime, food, and sleep. Before the age of five, the meaning of life wasn’t even a notion on your plate. As you grow older, so does your brain and your life experiences, and you start to pick up nuances and virtues along the way. But as we get into adulthood, sometimes the virtues we learned as a child get lost or displaced. We sometimes lose track of what it means to be a human being and more so, a decent human being.

What makes a person truly virtuous? You might see heroic or selfless acts from people all over the world. Is it an innate obligation to do right and to help others? We’ve seen people risk their lives to save another. We’ve seen someone pay for another person’s groceries. And we’ve seen people stand up to bullies. Perhaps they learned at a young age to just “do the right thing”, or they learned through hard lessons in life. But I ask this – what exactly is the right thing to do? And when is the right time to talk to our kids about virtue, honesty, and purpose?

When you’re school-aged, the importance of learning fundamental math and language arts is already part of the school curriculum. But how do you learn about your life purpose? And who do you learn it from? Our teachers can only teach what is offered in school. But sometimes you get lucky and you meet a teacher who teaches you how to succeed in life. I was fortunate to have met a few teachers who taught about humanity and compassion, and their teachings were amplified through their own kind actions.

As I nurture and teach my own child as he grows up, I hope and pray that he’ll have the necessary tools to navigate through adulthood. I wish he will grow up to be a person with values and virtues. With kindness and compassion. But I can only provide him with what I learned while living at home and through my own personal experiences.

At every opportunity possible, I try to talk to my son about his “life purpose”. And then I wonder if I start sounding like I’m forcing him to be someone he’s not, or doesn’t want to grow up to be. Oftentimes as parents, we reflect what we wish we were onto our children. Us parents might not have done all the things we wish we had done as children. Wished we had talked a certain way. Acted a certain way. Or became a different person. But I know that while he’s going through his own growing pains, I do see specks of kindness and purpose in him. He realizes what is important right now and that’s okay for me.

So when is a good time to teach children about “life’s purposes”? Experts might tell you that children don’t really grasp the meaning of life until they’re teenagers. But as soon as your child is old enough to start learning the difference between right and wrong, would be the best time to start. 

Below I’ve listed some talking points for your children depending on age. Of course everyone is different, and a child’s age doesn’t necessarily correlate with maturity and mentality. Please note that some of these questions are what I’ve come across throughout my years working with children.

Primary school age (grades 1-3):

  • Do you like school? Why/Why not?

  • Do you like your friends? Why/Why not?

  • What do you like best about school?

  • What do you like least about school?

  • What do you want to learn from your teachers?

  • What do you want your teachers to teach you?

  • Do you like animals? If so, what kind of animal?

  • What do you want to be when you grow up? Why do you want to be that?

Primary school age (grades 4-5):

  • Do you like school? Why/Why not?

  • What would you do if you meet a bully?

  • What would you do if you meet a stranger?

  • What do you want to learn from your teachers?

  • What do you want your teachers to teach you?

  • Why do you think homework is important?

  • Why do you think you should manage your hygiene?

  • What do you want to be when you grow up? Why do you want to be that?

Secondary school age (grades 6-8):

  • Do you like school? Why/Why not?

  • What would you do if you meet a bully?

  • What would you do if you find a $20 bill on the ground?

  • What would you do if you find a $5 bill on the ground?

  • Do you think you should say thank you even when you don’t need to?

  • Do you think you should help pay for your classmate’s lunch? 

  • Do you like animals? Why/Why not?

  • Do you care about your planet/environment? Why/Why not?

  • How do you think you can improve situations around you?

  • What would you do if someone fell on the floor?

  • What would you do if someone asks to copy your homework?

High school age (grades 9-12):

  • Do you like school? Why/Why not?

  • What’s most important in your life right now?

  • Why do you care about things?

  • What are your goals in high school?

  • Why are these goals important to you?

  • What would you do if your friend stops being your friend?

  • What do you think it means to be a good person?

  • What can you do to make a positive impact on the world?

  • What do you do if someone asks you to do something that isn’t right?

  • What do you hope to accomplish in 5 years? In 10 years? In 20 years?

  • How will you accomplish these goals?

As we’re approaching the holiday season, staying home and staying safe, this would be a great time to talk to your kids about these important topics. If you start asking these questions at a young age and then continue through high school, you might notice a dramatic change or very little change. But the wonderful thing about that is to see just exactly how your children changes as they get older. Oftentimes we’re afraid to ask our children the big questions. Heck, sometimes we’re even afraid to ask ourselves those same questions. But the sooner you get your children to open up about their own views of the world, the easier it is to talk to them about life’s little lessons and their own purpose in life.

For an in-depth talk with your teens, check out The Greater Good initiative: https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/talk_with_teens_about_purpose

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

 

 

We can accept your child now

Has there ever been a time where you were judged, critized, and basically blamed for every tiny infraction as a mother? Is it not enough we judge ourselves and live in perpetual self-doubt? But what happens when other people – whether they know you or not – shake their heads when they feel you are not doing something right in their heads? It’s not easy being a parent, but being a mother carries far more weight than a father would.

Most people might agree that motherhood begins when the baby in your womb starts growing. The connection is almost instant for most women and after you feel that little kick in your stomach, your entire world aligns with the stars. Which is why when others start judging and critizing how moms should raise their own children, you realize that you live in a world of blame first; accept after.

I come from a family that is pretty accepting of me. While my own parents might have pushed me to go beyond my limits as they had with my siblings – the after effects of being Asian and living the stereotype – they were still able to let me be who I wanted to be, albeit some fighting and tears throughout the years. When I got pregnant with my son, after a miscarriage and more self-doubt, I heard practically every advice thrown at me. Most of them from other moms, but mostly enough where I really doubted whether being a mother was really worth it. Now, after many years of growing pains for both my son and I, I shudder to think how I could have ever doubted myself in the beginning. It hasn’t always been an easy and smooth road, but being a mother and parent will never be a dull job.

As I watch my son grow from a toddler to a preschooler to a pre-teen, I often reflect on why I listened so intently to other people’s advice. That old adage of not judging others lest you be judged yourself can come in handy whenever someone else criticizes how you should parent your own child. Goodness forbid they criticize your child in front of you! And as I parent my child through the joys and turmoils of our lives, I’ve come to appreciate my own mom even more. They say eventually you’ll become your own parent. While that may be a blessing for those who had GREAT parents, others might not see it as a benefit.

So what should we do when others deem it their personal responsibility to judge you for your motherhood? Etiquette leaders might tell you to just smile politely and accept their criticism. The more involuntary reaction might be to instantly oppose that judgment – and you have every right to since you are the parent – not the other person. But if these criticisms are done in front of your own children then you might need to take a step back and think how your answer will affect your child. They will see and hear your reaction and quite possibly learn from it and imitate the behavior later on.

During these uncertain times with the global pandemic, the intense climate fluctuations, police brutality brought to light, and ongoing injustices, being a parent is even harder than before. And now, with most states doing online distance learning, most parents have no other choice than to stay at home and monitor their children while learning through Zoom. And even moreso when you have children in similar age ranges, the chaotic lessons and keeping track of all their teachers can leave all of us wishing school wasn’t so hard. Essentially, we are attending school with our kids, making sure they are paying attention and doing their homework. But, it is a huge learning curve and the best we can do is adjust and grow.

Throughout the years I’ve learned as a mom, an educator, and a friend with kids close to my child’s age, that you’re going to undoubtedly get judged for who you are. Not everyone will accept you or your child. Not everyone will like what your children wears, how they talk, how they act, how they play, how they breathe. But I say to those who judge critically to please leave my child be. He might be odd at times, he might be angry, or he might be shy. But he is quintessentially my child and he will surely grow through all the awkardness and the self judgement as he gets older.

So, I’ll leave you with some tips I’ve learned throughout the years to combat “mom guilt”. We all feel guilty at times, but don’t let that guilt stem from someone else who judged you for packing only chips and cookies into your child’s lunch bag. We all falter here and there, and as long as we are doing the best for our children, who are others to judge? The most important thing is to show our children that as a mom, we can overcome the injustices that will surely rise in their own years.

  • Trust your heart. Look inside yourself and see how you are raising your child. If they are inevitably joyful and peaceful, then you’re doing great.

  • Trust your own instincts. I’ve learned to be in-tuned with my mind and soul at a very young age. And later on, when I needed it the most, my instincts have brought me out of a lot of scrapes and bruises.

  • Trust professionals. If you ever have doubts or just not sure of parenting tips, find professionals who have had years of training and clinical experience. Or search online for parenting advice sites. Finding unbiased advice can help you through your difficult decisions.

  • Listen to your children. You are their parent. You don’t have to listen to your family, relatives, friends, or even strangers on the street for advice. So often we forget to listen to what our own children need and want.

  • Tune out. Yes, you probably tell your own children to never tune you out. But that’s quite different from someone who is judging you or your child for something that they dislike for themselves.

  • Use words to prevent mom guilt. Remind yourself that you held that baby inside your stomach for 9 months. And you have been raising your child for all these years using your own talents and skills.

  • And most importantly – everyone is different. The sooner we all realize that, the sooner we can all be more accepting. *If anyone ever criticizes your child or you, say this very line to them.

*Photo credits to Parents magazine and RedTricycle.com

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

 

Is it okay for my child to be a vegetarian?

When I was around nine years old, I was playing in the front yard of my home when I noticed a big, fluffy dog jogging around the neighborhood. Having seen the dog for several days, I wondered if he belonged to one of the neighbors.

I remembered playing with him and giggled at his jolly demeanor and excited slobbering. I already had a loving family dog but this lone dog was a complete joy. As a young child, you don’t think much about who the dog belongs to or if they are dangerous. But I remember looking into his big brown eyes and instantly knew he wasn’t dangerous at all. In fact, his overexuberance of friendliness might have been his own downfall.

After several days, the inevitable finally came. I was once again playing outside and the adorable dog ran towards me, all excitement and carefree. However, just as he was about to reach me, a white truck pulled up beside him, parked, and the driver got out. Looking at the name on the side of the truck, I knew eventually someone from the animal shelter would come out. I had high hopes that the dog actually belonged to someone, but who could ever leave their darling dog to roam free every day?

The injustice to the both of us came when the driver came up to me while I was holding onto the dog. He asked if the dog belonged to anyone. I was faced with a difficult decision but fear at what would happen to the dog took over and I immediately nodded and said, “Yes, the dog belonged to a neighbor up the hill.” The driver looked at me for a moment and then asked if I could return him to its owner as someone had reported a stray dog matching his description. I quickly nodded again, afraid that he would think I was lying. But, perhaps he believed a young child, or perhaps not. Whatever the reasons, he got back into his car and drove off. I brought the dog back to my house, gave him some water and food, and went inside the house to tell my mom what happened.

It was moments after the incident, while my mom gave me a snack, that I suddenly realized I could no longer eat meat. Something just snapped inside me when the driver of the truck took out a stick with a loop at the end and the dog looked innocently between me and the stranger. Somewhere deep inside my heart, I couldn’t bear the thought of eating meat and thinking of the dog being captured and who knew what would happen to him. The connection was almost immediate and from that day forward, I told my mom I was going to stop eating meat. My mom related that seeing the dog almost being captured must have sparked some compassion inside me.

I was around nine when I had single-mindedly decided to just stop eating meat and become a full-time vegetarian. As loving as my parents were, they weren’t exactly sure how to handle a nine-year-old vegetarian. Was that even possible for a young child? My parents were accepting of course, though they were afraid not eating meat protein would hinder a growing child. I went back to eating chicken on the behest of my parents but after I went off to college, I reverted back to being a vegetarian.

I know many vegetarians and vegans will agree to this single reason: that they became vegetarians out of compassion for animals. It is truly a humane thing to do but it doesn’t work for everyone. I did my fair share of research and even spoke to pediatricians and doctors. Some were skeptical about any health benefits and some were encouraging. But in all honesty, you should do what is best for your own body and lifestyle.

So should children become vegetarians? Well, my nephew became a vegetarian at the age of seven. He just decided to stop eating meat out of compassion. His parents were supportive and later became full-time vegetarians too. My nephew is now fifteen years old and five-feet-nine. I think he’s doing pretty well in the growing aspect as a vegetarian.

Here are some tips if your child decides to go vegetarian. Keep in mind that vegetarians eat only plant-based food. Not seafood, and not “sometimes” a vegetarian. 

  • Determine why your child wants to be a vegetarian. Is it for humane reasons, a picky eater, or their friends are doing it?

  • Decide on the right age. A pediatrician told me that children younger than five years old should not become full-time vegetarians unless there are health reasons. Up until the age of five, most children’s bodies are fast developing and they need the full spectrum of vitamins as long as they eat a balanced diet. 

  • Vegetarians usually eat healthier. Don’t be a “junk food” vegetarian. That is, a vegetarian by name only and eats junk food instead of a healthy plant-based diet. Check out this delicious, nutritious, and easy to make pasta salad: https://wildmadesnacks.com/blogs/the-go-life/easy-pasta-salad

  • Start off slowly. The transition to full-time vegetarian is not easy. Your body will most likely go into shock at the sudden change of diet. Gradually decrease the consumption of animal meat each day up until two weeks for your body to adjust.

  • Take your child grocery shopping with you so they can see the various fruits, vegetables, and nuts available to them. The more informed they are of their food choices, the better it is for them to decide.

  • Don’t be too harsh or judgemental. Deciding not to eat animal meat when other family members do can be confusing for everyone in the household. Listen to their reasons and support them as much as possible. Remember that there is a great assortment of plant-based food available.

Regardless of the choice, it’s never too late to make an important food change out of health and compassion.

*Photo credit and original article through Red Tricycle Spoke Contributor Network.

*Photo credit through Martha Stewart Blog.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

Who Do You Want to Be?

 

When I was younger, maybe around five or six years old I wanted to be one of those beautiful and graceful ballerina’s that I saw on TV. I took ballet lessons and proudly earned my Pointe shoes. Then at around ten years old I wanted to be a singer and I took music and voice lessons. I sang every chance I could and even wrote my own songs. When I reached my earlier teen years, I loved drawing and writing. I scribbled on the side of my classroom notebooks and used up every last inch of white space on any type of paper I could get my hands on. Then when I took a creative writing class my love for drawing and writing elevated to creating comic book characters and stories. Then in my later teen years I thought it would be exciting and dangerous if I could be a CIA agent or a spy. It wasn’t until later in college I realized that I needed to find a balance and to stop jumping around so much in my career choices.

Why I remember these changes in career choices helped shaped me to who I am today. And although it might have seemed like I was jumping around in my decisions, I realize now, many years later, that taking all the voice, dance, and art lessons made me see that there is so much out there in the world than what I could ever find studying in a textbook. Life can take you on many different paths and you can have many different experiences, but it is how you use those experiences that can help you grow and succeed.

When we’re young we are shaded by reality, by what the “real” world means. We don’t really see what mom and dad sees and we are protected in our home where dinner is always on the table, the carpets are always immaculate, and the clothes magically wash and fold themselves. But as we mature and go through stages in life, reality starts to sink in a bit more. Perhaps it’s seeing our parents’ tired faces after a long day at work or finding out that the family car broke down and we can’t go anywhere until it’s fixed. All the little instances in reality starts to seep into our mind and experiences until one day, hopefully, we can make wiser and smarter choices in our adulthood.

So while we are all on summer break, let’s take a moment and ask our children who they want to be when they grow up. They might answer you intellectually, “who could I be but myself?” Indeed. Because if we could all be ourselves then this world could be a lot different. But the “who” isn’t attached to a person in this instance. Rather it’s an identity of your adult self. Ask them how they see themselves when they’re grown up and what roles they want to play when they’re on their own. For some kids, they might already have a heartfelt understanding of their calling. For most others, they don’t realize what their true interests are until much later on. It could be a very confusing question to most children, and heck, even adults ask themselves this question every so often. So let’s raise the bar a little and delve more into this important life question.

In a recent conversation with a friend, we were talking about how to ask kids what they want to be when they grow up. There was an online article that my friend read, about why we shouldn’t be asking our kids what they want to be when they grow up. Rather, we should be asking kids what they hope to change in the world or hope to accomplish when they’re grown. While those are all noble and sensible questions, it could also lead to more confusion. Depending on the age, children can answer those questions based on their own life experiences. At five years old, a child might answer that they hope to change the world by making Lego a mandatory class in school. Or an eight year old could answer that they hope to accomplish building the highest tower with Lego bricks. Either way, young children and even pre-teens can only hope to accomplish within their means. I have yet to meet a child who would answer that question with an, “I hope to end world hunger”. Of course there are really no right or wrong answers (unless it’s an illegal career choice) so listening to their opinions and choices might open up a lot of opportunities for them.

In a recent article on thebalancecareers.com, a website that helps with careers, the article talks about how to help children choose a career for their future. Some useful tips include reading about different careers so your child can understand what the career entails. Or helping your children learn about themselves so that they can discover their interests, values, personalities, and aptitudes. Even as young as three years old you can see what your child’s interests are in how they play. Perhaps they like Lego over puzzles. Or can’t stop playing video games. Or even play endless games of “doctor”. Some personalities can give you a better idea of what your child likes to do so that you can slowly guide them into a right career path for them. But what age is the best to start talking about a career choice? That depends on your child and your home situation.

When my sister was five years old, she realized that she wanted to be a doctor. How she felt that calling at such a young age is beyond amazing. But she never faltered in that choice and to this day she has never regretted making that very determined decision. In an article in Money magazine, the author states that children and parents should start thinking about their career choices before entering high school. You have to consider that with college tuition getting higher and higher and jobs nowadays require more than a Bachelor’s Degree, you’d have to start saving up for college the minute your kids are born. Personally, I think guiding your child to a particular career choice as soon as possible can only help and not hinder. Of course, they might change their minds a hundred times throughout their school years and that’s okay. As long as there is some interest and inkling of what they’d like to do in the future then pushing them a bit could help them make up their mind.

US.News recently published their top 100 career choices. Here are the top ten that are most sought-after and popular throughout the United States:

1- Software Developer

2- Dentist

3- Physician Assistant

4- Nurse Practitioner

5- Orthodontist

6- Statistician

7- Pediatrician

8- Obstetrician and Gynecologist

9- Oral Surgeon

10 – Physician

As you can see, these are all pretty high goals to reach and certainly not probable for everyone. Not everyone can afford to go to college or even get a high-demand job. But if your child shows interest in something that garners a college degree then getting them to talk about it or learning more about the career at a young age is certainly recommendable.

When my son was much younger, he was determined to be a police officer. There was something magical and cool in police cars and their sirens. But he was also a Lego fanatic and wanted to work for the Lego company. Now that he’s older, his interests have changed in tune to what his life experiences have taught him. He still thinks that being a police is cool and on occasion the Lego inspiration springs up. As his mom, I’ve had several conversations with him about what he wants to do “when he’s grown up.” And I find that when he asks his dad questions about his job and shows interest in his cousins’ careers there is definitely a gleam in his eyes. And the occasional eye roll of course…