Take Your Child to Work Day (With Do's and Don'ts)
Updated February 3, 2023
In today's work environment, children may hear about their parents' jobs without knowing what they really do. The annual Take Your Child to Work Day occurs on the fourth Thursday in April and gives your child an opportunity to see what you do during a workday. Participating in this tradition can be rewarding for children and adults alike and give your child exposure to your work environment, preparing them for their future.
In this article, we discuss what Take Your Child to Work Day involves and offer tips on how to make it a successful learning experience.
What is Take Your Child to Work Day?
Take Your Child to Work Day, officially called "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day," is an internationally recognized day for children to go to work with their parents. Originally called Take Your Daughter to Work Day, its initial goal was to guide more girls and women into the workforce. Take Your Child to Work Day occurs on the fourth Thursday in April. Although it originated in the United States, it's now popular across the globe. Adults can also bring nieces, nephews or underprivileged children who aren't related to you so they can observe a variety of jobs.
Take Your Child to Work Day benefits both kids and working parents. Bringing your child to work can help humanize you to your colleagues. If your child gets sick in the future, for example, your boss or coworkers may be more understanding if they've met your kid. It also allows your colleagues to see another aspect of your personality and life. The same applies to children. They might see you in a different role than they do at home, and hopefully, gain some understanding about what you do all day at work.
Do's for Take Your Child to Work Day
To make Take Your Child to Work Day the best possible experience for both you and your child, follow this list:
Research the programming
Know what to expect from the day so both you and your child can prepare yourselves. Understanding what activities may be available could help you determine what to pack, how to arrange your daily responsibilities and how to ready your child for the day ahead.
Know the age recommendations
Learn if there are any official restrictions on Take Your Child to Work Day in your workplace, such as age limits, and reflect on what's appropriate for your child. If you work in a location with heavy machinery or other potentially dangerous equipment, consider saving your kid's visit until they're in middle or high school.
Ask about amenities
Consider important details that may affect your child's visit, including whether your workplace might provide kid-friendly snacks or if there's a place for younger children to nap if needed. Bring any additional items to meet your child's needs, like special food items or outdoor clothing for playtime.
Assess your schedule
Try to keep important or lengthy meetings off of your calendar on Take Your Child to Work Day. You may finish less work than normal because of the high amount of activity. This requires preparing ahead of time to meet any goals.
It's important that your child knows how to behave at your workplace. Set clear expectations, and explain any important workplace rules. Also, outline the consequences if they misbehave.
Have a backup plan
It could be a challenge for younger children to make it through the whole day. Have a caregiver ready to pick up your child if needed. This ensures you have a contingency plan for unforeseen circumstances.
Check with your boss
If your workplace is going without an office-wide Take Your Child to Work Day program, be sure to check in with your boss and immediate colleagues before bringing your child in for the day. Learn if other working parents plan to bring in their kids. This ensures that your kid has somebody to keep them company while you work.
Call your child's school first. Let them know your student is with you for the day rather than in the classroom. Arrange make-up work ahead of time if needed.
Talk to other parents
Make a schedule with other parents in your workplace. You can rotate kids from colleague to colleague so the children can learn about various jobs and departments. This ensures that kids with different interests find something they enjoy.
Introduce your child
Present your child to your coworkers when you arrive. Try to share their name and age. Model for your child how to meet someone new in a professional setting by exhibiting proper manners.
Reflect on the day
On the drive home or at dinner that evening, debrief about the day with your child. Ask them what they thought of your workplace, your position and the program. This allows them to articulate their thoughts and shows them that you care.
Related: 9 Tips for Being Positive at Work
Don'ts for Take Your Child to Work Day
There are some behaviors you might limit if you want to have the most successful Take Your Child to Work Day possible. Here are some things to avoid, along with recommendations for what to do instead:
Force your child
If your child is hesitant about the idea of going to work with you, allow them to opt out of the event. These events are typically the most beneficial for kids who want to learn about the workplace. Remember that these activities can be overwhelming to some children, and they may be more eager to participate when they're older.
Take Your Child to Work Day can be hectic, so it's important to know your child's limits. Different kids have different responses to various activities, so allow them to sit out of anything that may be too much for them. If they're tired or having difficulty focusing, give them a chance to decompress.
Bore your child
Kids typically have shorter attention spans than adults. While you might focus on a spreadsheet for several hours, your child may become irritable or bored while watching you work. Bring something for them to do while you work if needed, like homework, a book or a game.
Leave your child unattended
While there may be more adults around than children, it's still important that each child has supervision. Make sure you're with your child at all times or know where they are and who's watching them. Trading shifts with other parents at work could help give each person time to focus on work while also ensuring kids receive enough care and attention during Take Your Child to Work Day.
Allow your emotions to take over
It's normal to have parts of your job that frustrate you, but try to put negative emotions aside for your child. Keep a positive attitude at work with your child present. This can help you serve as a role model, encouraging your child to approach challenging situations with dignity, optimism and respect.
Misrepresent your job
Kids find many different jobs fascinating. Even if you think your job might be dull to your child, try to give them an accurate view of what you do. They might take an interest in an unexpected task, program or topic, which can expand their mind.
Bring your child several years in a row
Find an aunt, uncle or friend willing to take your child to work with them after your kid has been to your workplace once or twice. Bring their children in with you in exchange. This helps ensure each child experiences a wide range of industries and professions to help them learn what options are available when they enter the workforce as adults.
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