The fourth Thursday in April marks a day when employees are encouraged to bring their children to work with them, giving a view into a parent’s workplace. As a child, this concept seemed so glamorous to me. Now as an adult, I actually work at my son’s school and every day is literally Take My Child to Work Day! While I’m grateful in many ways for this chance to be close to my son each and every day, I can’t help but laugh thinking about how different my reality is from the way other parents recognize this annual event. I happened to come across an article online about the “do’s and don’t’s” of Take Your Children to Work Day. I couldn’t help making a few comparisons (all in good fun, of course!). I selected a few of my favorites to highlight.
Plan The Day
If you are a parent who does not often take your child to work with you, maybe you will sit down the night before and talk about what he or she is most looking forward to at your workplace. This is a sweet sentiment. Our evening “plan” time looks more like this:
8 PM- Discover my son has unfinished homework.
9 PM- Speed to the store upon realization that my son is supposed to bring snacks for 24 children tomorrow.
10 PM- Fish the least-dirty jeans from the top of my son’s hamper so he will have something to wear tomorrow.
11 PM- Jump out of bed and remember it’s that dang 100th day of school celebration tomorrow. Quickly try to hot-glue on 100 legos to one of my son’s t-shirts so everyone at work will think I’m a super creative mom; give up after gluing on 38 Legos and call it good.
Make Your Child Feel Comfortable
Don’t assume your children are comfortable in your office, the article advises me. However, if the child is comfortable enough to walk to the restroom and loudly sing all the verses to “Don’t Stop Believin'” while using said restroom and all of the employees in the staff meeting are able to hear your child’s restroom anthem, the child is possibly too comfortable.
Don’t Ignore Your Children
It’s recommended that you give your full attention to your child when he is visiting the workplace, even if you’re especially busy. I’m guessing giving your full attention doesn’t mean handing over your iPhone to the child and then later letting him sniff all the scented pencils, so you can devote a few more minutes to that Exel spreadsheet. Guilty!
Joking aside, I consider myself lucky to be able to work near my child every day. I don’t see him often throughout the day while he is in his classroom, but I love the hallway high-fives, the chance to drop by his class parties and the opportunity to talk about his day on our drive home. I also appreciate my son seeing me in a workplace environment. There are great benefits to a child seeing a parent problem-solving, communicating with co-workers, finding a healthy work-life balance, placing value on education and learning to understand that adults have many roles. A parent meeting deadlines means a child is seeing a goal successfully completed. A busy or stressful work day means the child is seeing perseverance and determination. I hope that my son seeing me at work will be a positive experience for him as begins considering his own path to adulthood.
If you’re interested in learning more about children visiting the workplace, the Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Foundation has more information on participating.
Have you ever taken your child to visit your job? What was the experience like?