This Special Day Provides A Unique Opportunity For Parent And Child Bonding

Today’s parents must often juggle two full-time jobs – one as mom or dad, and one devoted to their careers.

While being a working mom can be stressful, it is important to find the right balance and teach our children that work can give a great sense of fulfillment and make a difference in the world.

This week presents an opportunity to share with our kids the environment we are in when we are away from them during the week – and there are several great lessons to be learned for both parent and child.

Thursday, April 26th is the annual “Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day,” celebrated each year on the fourth Thursday in April.  To date, more than 37 million kids and parents and over three million workplaces have participated since the day was established over twenty years ago.

As parents, we typically ask our kids how their school day went, what they are working on, and what they are currently interested in.  But we likely don’t take the time to think that our children may wonder the same things about us!

What do Mom and Dad do all week when they are away from home?  Kids are curious, and while they may not understand all the reasons parents need to work, they can greatly benefit from experiencing a typical day in our workplaces.

“Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day” is a great way to bond with our kids.  Younger kids will simply love spending time in a new place with Mom or Dad, and older kids can gain some valuable insight about career choices and the work/home balance.

Do you plan to take your child to work with you on Thursday, April shares some great ideas to make the day a success for everyone:

Plan the day.

Prior to the big day, sit down with your kids and give them a brief explanation of your daily work duties, what they can expect from your workplace, and what the day’s schedule will be like.

Ask them what they may be interested in seeing or doing during the day.  They can make a list of ideas and take a notebook with them to record all the things they will learn.

While grade-school children will get the most out of going to work with you, little ones will enjoy being a part of the day as well.  Make sure to take a few toys, books, and extra supplies like a change of clothes so you will not be left unprepared.

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Once they are a little older, the office can be an adventure if you set the ground rules for everyone. Letting kids write on whiteboards, choose their own snacks from the breakroom, and, of course, entertain themselves with a movie in that conference room you’ve booked is a huge win for most kids. For kids who have homework, each or all of these things can be the perfect carrot to bring assignments to completion. And the office is a perfect opportunity for children to practice their good manners with willing co-workers.

Planning the day is the most important way to guarantee success – avoiding boredom for your kids and stress for you at your place of work is key. continues with some helpful advice to plan for the day:

Seek out advice from other parents and talk to your employer or colleagues about the day.

It is a good idea to talk to your employer and coworkers, especially other parents who have brought their children to work before.  Ask your employer if there are activities planned for the day, how many parents expect to have their kids with them, and what aspects of the workplace are open (or off limits) for the kids during the day.

A few weeks before the event, you and your coworkers (with the permission of your employer) may be able to block off some times during the day for a craft, tour of the workplace, or movie in the conference room.  And having a group lunch with all the parents and kids is a great way for them to take some extended time to learn about your coworkers and make some new friends.

Invite children other than your own.

It’s always a good idea to invite another child to accompany you and your daughter or son on this fun day.  Offer to take a neighbor’s child whose parent may not be able to participate or a niece or nephew who would enjoy the experience – and who would also provide some company for your child while you are taking care of a few necessary work duties.

Lay out the ground rules.

Make sure that your child knows exactly what is expected of them prior to taking them to work.  What are the dos and don’ts of your office or workplace?  Is there sensitive equipment they are not allowed to touch?  Is there a special place they may be able to set up for the day, like an extra desk and computer?

This is also a great time to talk about being quiet and respectful of others who may have a heavier workload that day.  It’s also a great opportunity for older kids to practice things like making proper introductions with eye contact, shaking hands, and polite conversation.

Don’t ignore your children.

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Plan ahead with your work responsibilities for the week so you may take some time during this special day to spend time with your child.  They are interested in what you do during the day, but will easily get bored and frustrated just watching you sit at the computer.  Make sure they have plenty of things to occupy their time and work with your coworkers ahead of time to take turns with the kids doing a fun activity so you can get some work done.

Contact your child’s teacher.

It’s always a good idea to talk to your child’s school ahead of time, letting them know that they are participating in the day and will not be present in class.  After the big day, send a little note or some photos to school so your child can share their experience with the teacher and other students.

What if you are a parent who works from home?  You can still enjoy this day with your child.  If they are in school, let them stay home with you and help with some “busy work,” like organizing files or helping you clean up your office.

Give them a special spot of their own with some fun projects, and take a lunch hour together to talk about your job and what they think they’d like to do when they are older.

Above all, “Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day” is a special day for you and your child to bond and for them to physically be able to see where you go during the day and what kinds of things you do.

With a little planning and discussion, you and your child can have a fun day that will create great memories and leave a positive impression on your children by learning about their favorite person – you!

Do you plan to take your daughter or son to work with you this week?  What have you and your coworkers done to plan for an enjoyable day?  Leave us your thoughts in the comments.