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Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, better known as STEM, is not the first choice of career for many kids. Unfortunately, kids are not exposed to STEM as much as they should be, especially in the primary grades. Without exposure, it can be challenging for kids to find value or interest in careers that have critical shortages. As a parent, there are different ways that you can get your kids interested in STEM careers without pushing it down their throats.
Get out and explore
Museums, aquariums, science centres, gardens, and zoos offer lots of opportunities for your child to tap into their creative thinking side. A lot of what kids learn about science is through a textbook or videos in school. Not only are these methods dull, but it also doesn’t give your child the full grasp of the field. Hands-on and practical experience is the best method for your child to learn new skills and develop a richer understanding of the world.
There are many choices
There’s a common misconception that engineering is the only practical career path. While a civil or electrical engineering degree opens doors to many respectable employment possibilities, STEM also includes statisticians, software developers, architects, web designers, and more. Network with professionals in your area and take every opportunity to introduce your child to as many people as possible.
Buy STEM Toys
Think outside of the box, and don’t opt for the cliché toys like dinosaurs or dollhouses. Stem toy ideas include chemistry sets, magnetic gadgets, coding kits, and pattern blocks. These toys encourage higher-order thinking, and they are fun at the same time!
Encourage Math Skills Everywhere
Any child that pursues a STEM career will need to have a love of math. Real-world application of math skills will bring out the inner Einstein in your kid. You can make a game at the grocery store, and challenge your kids to put items in the cart that add up to less than 100 dollars. Math is everywhere, and your kids will love it a lot more by using practical knowledge instead of learning from a textbook.
Reiterate to your children that failure is okay and that you want them to step outside of their comfort zone. Reinforce positive behaviours such as determination and perseverance and how they can lead to success. They do not always have to be right because effort and attitude can outweigh skill a lot of the time.
Don’t Force It
You should let your chid’s interests guide their learning and activities. STEM activities and learning are challenging, so support your child through difficult activities or schoolwork. As a parent, it should be your role to facilitate their natural curiosity instead of choosing what they will do.
Even if your child does not end up in a STEM career, the skills that they learn from engaging in these activities are priceless. They will learn to love problem-solving and discovery while gaining immense confidence and satisfaction by accomplishing difficult tasks.