Tips For Bring Your Child to Work Day
In 1992, Gloria Steinem and the MS Foundation for Women created the very first “Take Your Daughter to Work Day.” That’s right, the fourth Thursday in April was originally intended for our young girls only to shadow their parents in the working world in an effort to address girls’ self-esteem issues. Quickly thereafter, the program gained popularity, but they weren’t so sure about the female-only exclusivity. The addition of boys was embraced in 2003, and it is now known as “Take Your Child to Work Day.” It’s important to consider this holiday an opportunity to promote education in the workplace while helping parents and children bond.
If you’re planning to participate in this holiday next week on Thursday, April 27th, you might be a bit nervous about how you’ll be able to get your work accomplished while working with your child/children. We’ve got a few tips to help this day run smoothly for you, whether you’re at an office or working from home. This year’s theme is “Working Better Together.” In addition to our tips, check out a comprehensive list of resources developed by the U.S. Dept of Interior.
Create a Plan
This might seem obvious, but many parents simply bring their children along to their workplace, sit them down and get busy doing their daily tasks. This isn’t fun, nor is it a learning experience if your child is just coloring or on a tablet. Creating a plan will help your day move along and keep your child active and engaged. Inevitably, unexpected calls or meetings might arise, and that’s ok. It’s important to be flexible but have something ready to go if or when that happens. For example, now might be the perfect time to have them sit and color or draw quietly. Tie it in with your workplace by having them color in the company logo. If this is an office-wide initiative, a planning committee is a great idea so that all children can be included in activities like an office-wide lunch, Q&A session, and group photo.
Take a Tour
Get up and move around mid-morning by taking your child on a tour of your office. Stop at each department and have a representative briefly talk about what it is their department does. For example, Human Resources might explain that they’re in charge of making sure the right people are hired for jobs and that they are paid and treated fairly. The IT department might show your children how they fix any computer problems that arise in the office. Children are sponges, and they may not have ever heard of “marketing” or “HR.” They should walk away with the understanding that it takes a lot of different people to help one company succeed.
Give Them Tasks (and make it fun!)
It’s no secret that kids need to stay busy. Create an office scavenger hunt, or have them practice writing their own resume. Make this age-appropriate, and don’t be afraid to challenge older children. Teens can take a look at the company’s mission statement and goals. Have them create a mission statement and goals for themselves. If you’re planning a scavenger hunt, be sure that co-workers are up for participating.
Have Them Advertise
Encourage creativity by having your children create an advertisement. You might have an idea or project to promote, like a product your company sells or a hypothetical item like a toy or candy. You can give the kids space in an empty room with supplies like paper and markers so that they can create the ad. If you want, then provide the participants with parameters about who they are targeting. Or, just let them loose. Ultimately, you will see their creativity and ideas in their ad. To take this activity up a notch, ask the kids to create a commercial. You can either provide them with a camera or ask them to use their cell phone cameras. Then, the kids can come up with a script and act out the scenes.
Embrace Social Media
Your kiddos are probably much better at social media than you are. To tap into this fact, ask teenagers to create some social media posts for the company page. These posts can be about the company and its mission or can focus on Take Your Child to Work Day. At the beginning of the day, give the older ones some guidelines on what they can post. Then, let them gather content and photos throughout the day. At the end of the event, ask the youth to present their post to a supervisor. Be sure the post gives credit to who created it and talks about Take Your Child to Work Day. Asking participants to be in charge of a social media post will encourage creative thinking and get older teens more involved. Bonus: These takeovers show your social media followers that your company is family-friendly and cares about its employees.
Whether they’re five or fifteen, kids eat. A lot. And often. Think ahead by having snacks and kid-friendly beverages on hand. Consider child-friendly lunch options. Sure, some kids may love sushi, but many might appreciate something more along the lines of chicken fingers or pizza. You can also involve them in the decision. Have them select a local restaurant, choose their meals and take orders from others in the office. That’s an errand that may take up a little bit of time and will make them feel like they’re contributing.
Participating in Take Your Child to Work Day is a fantastic way to give employees a better work-life balance. Activities on this day can be simple, like providing coloring pages, or more complex, like creating a commercial. The most important thing is to create an environment where kids feel welcome and learn.