Guidance from Children’s Education Funds Inc. (CEFI): How Parents Can Help Children Realize Career Goals

Helping children reach their career goals is never easy. Of course, you want them to have meaningful work that they enjoy, but at the same time, you can’t push them into a career they might ultimately dislike. So it’s a matter of encouraging your kids to pursue their goals, while providing useful guidance as to what they can expect from their chosen vocation. Speak to your school’s guidance counsellor — they may have useful information as to what career your child might be best suited for.

One tangible way you as a parent can help is to provide financial support for post-secondary education, if that’s the educational direction they choose. In Canada, Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) are recognized as an effective way to set money aside for your children’s education.

Since 1991, Children’s Education Funds Inc. (CEFI), one of Canada’s leading RESP providers, has helped Canadian families save for post-secondary education for their children. Headquartered in Ontario, CEFI offers three distinct RESP plans: the CET Group Option Plan, the CET Achievers Plan and the CET Self-Initiated Option Plan. These plans are designed to help meet the different needs of various families.

Here are a few guidance tips from CEFI to help children reach their education goals:

Work on improving your time management skills.

It’s true that we all live busy lives, with many families needing two incomes just to support their growing families. Time management becomes critical, with each family member given a list of chores they have to complete each week. But it doesn’t all have to be work-related. The time management calendar can include movie and pizza nights, for instance. Kids need fun for a well-balanced life.

Reduce screen time for kids.

This is a big deal for children, many of whom spend their lives glued to the cell phone, texting friends, watching movies online, playing video games and scrolling through their various social media accounts. It’s not an easy habit to break, but if your entire family is spending all their time on the phone or watching television, isn’t it time to make a change? So, once you’re at home, try your best to stay away from all screens until you go to bed. Read a book or a magazine or strike up a conversation over dinner. This should be a rule for the entire household, not just the children.

Make Time for Family Commitments

Juggling a household with various schedules can make things tough, but with the right amount of planning, anything is possible if you’re willing to make it work. One simple solution is to carve out at least one hour each night to dedicate to your family. It can be anything from sitting down to a nice, quiet dinner, going out for ice cream, sitting down for a movie, or lounging around and talking about your day. No matter what you decide to do, it’s a great habit to get into (and one that will bring your family closer together).

Plan Your Chores and Errands in Advance

Remember, a house doesn’t clean itself and bills don’t get automatically paid. Chores and errands often swallow up much of the extra time many people have outside of work, school, kids, and other activities. There are times it can feel like you’re spinning your wheels and going nowhere fast. Here’s how to fix it: Create a plan of attack to make your chores and errands more efficient. For example, you can map out your household chores and split them between each person in the household. Get a calendar or whiteboard and assign a day for each chore to be completed. To make errands more efficient, try automating any bills that are recurring by setting up online payments or plan shopping trips by visiting stores that are close together, rather than having to make separate trips or run all over town.

Get up early to face the day

Time management is all about planning. Just a few minutes a day first thing in the morning dedicated to effective planning can make the day go by much more easily. Sure, people have different schedules, but if you have a teenager who sleeps in late, he might be motivated to wake up with an advance plan of his or her day. So grab a coffee and spend 20 minutes planning the day for the whole family. You will not only feel refreshed and energized, you’ll be ready to tackle the tasks at hand, saving you more time that you can ultimately spend with your family.

While the ideas above are simple and nothing new, they can be incredibly effective when put into action. Remember, kids need to develop face-to-face social skills as well as the communications skills that come with e-mails or texts. So make sure you set aside time each day for conversation. You might be surprised to hear that your kids are doing just fine, despite outward appearances to the contrary. Or you might find out through family discussions,that one of your children is struggling in school. Either way, by putting away the screens for a few hours, you have opened up a window for honest communication with your child. And that’s definitely worth the effort.