Just the job – how to explain work to your children

Illustrated spread from what does mummy do all day

Are your little ones curious about where you go all day, and what you do for work? Do you find yourself explaining that you’re not a professional zookeeper-astronaut-lifeguard on a regular basis? 

A busy job can mean finding a balance between work and home life – and might prompt a few questions from your children. We’ve gathered together some tips for how to teach kids about work, so you can soothe their worries and make the most of your time together. 

Show them what you love about work (not just your lunch break)

Teaching your child the value of work doesn’t have to be all about money. A more helpful lesson might lie in showing kids that enjoying your work makes you happier and healthier. Your job can challenge you (in a good way!), help you connect with others, solve problems and make a difference – whatever your line of work. These are all great values to share with your children, and help explain why you go to work each day.

book illustration of family having dinner

Focus on the positives – and the possibilities

Sometimes the easiest way to explain work to your children is to describe it in terms of what you earn, and your child’s needs. We’ve all heard the story ‘Mummy needs to work so we can eat, and heat the house, and buy mega-realistic roaring T-Rex toys!’ Of course, it’s important to explain the significance of a steady income, but focusing on the positives will help ease little ones’ worries. Try explaining your job so that it makes sense to your children, and emphasising that your work benefits the whole family in so many different ways.

illustration of mum as a zookeeper

Describe your work day in delightful detail

Kids are naturally curious, especially when it comes to you – one of their favourite grown-ups. They’ll get so much from seeing what you do all day, and it can be an opportunity to create some funny family stories together. Even the most ordinary-sounding office job can be transformed into an adventure when you describe the mystery of the missing stapler, or the drama of the last-minute presentation! Whatever your workday looks like, describing what you do will enhance your little one’s understanding of the world around them. 

book illustration

Explain your schedule from breakfast to bedtime

In the last few years, work hours have become more varied, and it’s helpful to explain to little ones why you work the days and times that you do. Even very young children understand when it’s nap time, storytime and time to take a bath (and probably protest if you interrupt playtime!) Start by explaining how you came to have the schedule you do. You might start work earlier so that you can pick your child up from nursery, or work later so you’re there for the school drop-off. Giving little ones these insights helps them build up a clearer idea of your working life – and look forward to the time you’ll spend together when your work is all done. 

mum and son reading what does mummy do all day

Extra tip:

Point out other people at work to your little one. When they see examples of other jobs, they’ll understand lots of people do different things, at different times of the day.

Looking for a fun way to explain your job to kids? 

What Does Your Mummy Do All Day? is a hilarious, heartfelt story that reassures little ones that wherever mummy works, she’ll always come home at the end of the day. 

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