It that time of year again: Take Your Child to Work Day. Every year on the fourth Thursday in April, more than 3.5 million workplaces and 35 million workers participate in this time-honored tradition.
The idea behind Take Your Child to Work Day is to expose children to the many career options available to them when the time comes. Originally called “Take Your Daughter to Work Day,” it was created by Gloria Steinem in 1992 to help stop gender stereotypes in the workplace. But as more and more boys wanted to get involved, the name was changed in 2003 to include sons as well.
Thinking about participating this year? Here are a few things to consider:
Ask your boss!
Some workplaces may not be on board with the idea of children running around the office, either because it’s distracting or unsafe. Also, make sure there are no important meetings or deadlines that day that would cause you to leave your child unattended.
Plan the day with activities
The whole point of the day is to show your child what you do during the work day, but depending on the type of work you do and the age of your child, it might be smart to build in a few activities to keep them entertained. Older children and teenagers who are starting to think about what they want to do may be fine with your regular routine, but save the filing for another time—be sure to plan things that highlight the best parts of your position.
In fact, check with HR to see if there is a special program for Take Your Child to Work Day. Lots of companies have designated areas and employees to help keep the children entertained, so you can still keep any unavoidable meetings.
Schedule with the school
If your child is of school age, follow up with the school to let them know that your child will not be in that day. That way, their teachers can prepare any homework your child will miss during the day. It will also give them something to work on if you have to do something less-than-entertaining for a while.
Make sure it’s what your child wants
The most important thing is to ask your child if this is something they would be interested in doing. If you force it on them, they won’t enjoy themselves, and it could leave them with the impression that work is something to be dreaded or endured.
If they are interested, ask them what they want to see or learn how to do. This will help you plan activities that they’ll enjoy, and help make the day a success for everyone.