Thursday, April 25 is the 20th anniversary of Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day, a day in which over 37 million adults and youth (typically ages 8 to 18) participate. This day helps kids to understand the professional rewards and gratification of education and hard work. It is an excellent way to stress the value of education, to expose children to a variety of careers, and to teach concepts such as professionalism, respect for authority and teamwork.
If you’re considering participating, here are some hints to make the day rewarding for both you and the child.
1. You can participate even if you’re not a parent. The day is called Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day, which means that you can ask your neighbors, family members and friends if their children would be interested in learning about your career or your company. The same applies if you have children, but they’ve already been to work with you several times or just aren’t interested in going.
On the same note, if you have a child who isn’t interested in going to your workplace, see if they would like to go with a trusted friend or family member. Be sure you ask your friends or family before you mention anything to the child.
2. Plan ahead. Like with any activity, a little planning goes a long way. See if your company has planned activities, and consider how your child will participate throughout the work day. What would you like them to do or see you do? Get the child’s input about what they want to learn and see. You should also explain to them what to expect and how to act while at your work.
Try to make the day interesting and interactive. Go beyond job shadowing, but avoid asking them to make big decisions or take important phone calls. If things do go off plan or something goes wrong, stay positive and adapt.
Be sure that you don’t bring your children into an unsafe or inappropriate environment. For extra insight, talk with other people who have brought their children to work and see what worked well for them and what they might have done differently.
3. Introduce your co-workers. Explain that person’s job and their role in the organization to help children better understand the concepts of teamwork and responsibility. Have them show professionalism by shaking hands. Meeting with your co-workers is also a way to demonstrate the value of face-to-face interaction in business.
4. Ask the child to share the experience. One of the goals, in addition to having children learn about a workplace, is to encourage children to educate each other about their experiences. As part of this, tell the child’s teacher what you have planned, so that the child is more likely to share what they learned. At the end of the day, sit down with the kid to discuss what they enjoyed most and what they learned. Have them write a few sentences about the experience so that they can share it with classmates.