If, as a kid, you ever got to skip school to spend the day with one of your parents at their office, you know how much fun Take Your Child To Work Day can be. Nowadays, between remote offices, hybrid models, and supporting your family from inside the home, work looks a lot different than it did for our parents — but that doesn’t make the holiday any less fun for kids.
This year, Take Your Child To Work Day falls on Thursday, April 28, and if your kids’ school schedule allows, it’s worth letting them spend a little time watching what you do all day. If you work outside the home, you’ll probably get a real kick out of how fascinated your little one is by the space, regardless of if you work in a corner office or a cubical. Even if you work from home and your child sees your office every day, there’s still something to be said for letting them watch you in action.
What Is Take Your Child To Work Day?
Take Your Child To Work Day started in 1993 as Take Your Daughter To Work Day. Initially, the idea was that young girls would have the opportunity to see what the workplace was all about. By this point, women’s participation in the workforce had already been steadily climbing. Still, women who were born in the 1970s were the first group to plan and look forward to long-term careers outside the home — so it’s no wonder why about 20 years later, they wanted to encourage a new generation of young girls to feel empowered do the same.
In 2003, the name was changed to Take Your Child(ren) To Work Day to include boys. The concept of the day didn’t change entirely, but it did evolve to promote the exploration of professions rather than just seeing a typical workday. Now, almost 20 years later, the only thing that’s changed is how different the workplace can look compared to back in 2003 (and even more so back in 1993).
Why Is It Important?
Yes, Take Your Child To Work Day can be fun for both kids and parents, but there is more. This day gives kids the opportunity to see what different industries look like in real life. While an elementary school-aged child may not get much out of this, a kid in middle or high school whose interests are more refined and or who may consider their options after graduation can gain a lot from this experience.
For parents, this is an opportunity to introduce a part of yourself to your child that they may have never seen before, but Take Your Child To Work Day also teaches them about the importance of work. It opens up conversations about how your time at the office results in supporting your family. Further, you can talk about how your income goes beyond just your family because when you purchase things, it goes right back into your community (especially when you’re shopping local).
Parents can also use this day to talk to their kids about the importance of going after what they want and the hard work. While your identity is not wrapped up in your job, if what you’re doing means a lot to you personally and contributes to a larger goal that you’re proud of, that’s something worth sharing and letting your child know firsthand.
How to Celebrate
Before you show up to work with your child by your side on April 28, make sure you get the okay from your boss (Note: while many organizations celebrate the day, not the company does – remember to check with Human Resources first to confirm). Once you’re clear, how you observe depends on how much of the day your child will be spending with you. For instance, younger kids are less likely to sit still and take in what you’re demonstrating to them for an entire day. Perhaps, you can celebrate by having them join you for an hour or two and letting them participate in the fun parts of your job and or meet the people you interact with regularly.
Let them take part in your day for older kids who will likely gain more from experience. Have them wake up when you do and go through your routine together (this could also be a low-key opportunity to teach them how to iron their shirt). Once you start your day at work, talk to them about what you’re doing, and explain how your process fits your team and company’s larger goal or mission. You can also introduce them to people you work with and make a point of having them meet people across departments.
Throughout the day, chat with them about what they see themselves doing. Let them ask questions, and see if you can teach them some new tricks along the way. Treat them to a special lunch (if they’re spending a half-day with you) or dinner (if they’re spending the whole day with you), and let them ask you questions if they’d like.
Get Closer To Your Child
Even if your kid is not overly interested in what you do for work, Take Your Child To Work Day is an excuse to open up communication with them and learn a little more about what they see themselves doing in the future. It’s a sneaky way to get a little closer to them and help them succeed in whatever they want to do. So, take the opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with them because it won’t be long before they have their job.
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