Don’t you love reminiscing about old times? Those experiences shared with parents, siblings, neighborhood pals or even simply classmates throughout the years. Many may say they distinctively recall going to work with their parent once or twice throughout their schooling careers…
With the school year quickly approaching, parents everywhere are scrambling to get all the correctly colored back-to-school supplies to launch their children off to a great start. Today, in honor of all the chaos associated with the school year commencing, I’m touching on the topic of “Bring Your Child to Work Day.”
Does it Even Matter to the Kids?
Being the youngest of my siblings, my mom was back to working part-time by the time I was in pre-school. I would go to the AM session at school, and then she’d pick me up and bring me to work with her. She does ultrasounds at an animal hospital nearby. I was probably three or four the first time I went to her workplace, and as I grew older I grew in admiration for how she could easily use all the high-tech equipment. She would tell me how each button on her machine functioned and explained the different procedures she was doing.
She shared a room, at the time, with the x-ray machine, so I would take my after-school naps on the x-ray table (when it wasn’t in use, of course). Pretty cool if you ask me. To this day, some of the veterinarians that are still around bring that up. “Hey Jaime! The x-ray table is open if you want to take a nap!”
My mom doesn’t have a job that you hear of terribly often, and being so up-close and personal with it at such a young age was CRAZY! I remember for our school’s kindergarten “graduation”, they had each student say what they wanted to be when they grew up. I said I wanted to be an ultrasound technologist. No, that’s not the path I plan to follow, but it’s incredible how going to work with my mom had sparked an interest in my five-year-old mind to peruse a job that my classmates didn’t even know existed.
I’m sharing these stories because spending time at work with my mom had a considerable impact on me. I strive to have the grace, intelligence, and coolness my mom exhibits in her work. Seeing her in action at home is one thing (her homemade lasagna made it clear that she was superwoman), but seeing her at work – a place where she spent a significant amount of time – was priceless. I wanted to be just like her.
This is Not an “Everybody Skip School” Day!
Bring Your Child to Work Day (also known as Take Your Son and Daughter to Work Day) started in 1993, originally practiced as bring your daughter to work day, and has since become an international tradition. This special day was founded by Gloria Steinem in New York City. This calendar holiday has just celebrated its 21st anniversary, and had over 37 million participating children in 2016. Bring Your Child to Work Day occurs on the fourth Thursday in April every year. Although healthcare was the most willing to adopt this tradition, children all over the country are experiencing different worlds of work- through their parents. This important day provides parents with the chance to become a professional mentor for their children.
Often, schools will require some sort of post- visit activity or project to really get your children thinking and sharing about what they experienced.
Positive Effects on Children
Bring Your Child to Work Day provides so many new and shiny experiences for children to discover another side of you, other than as a parent. I can remember exactly what I felt walking into high school for the first time- it was huge, it was full of people I didn’t know doing things I hadn’t learned. I wouldn’t say I felt scared. Amazed, rather. It was an entire new world I had never seen in real life before. Better yet, I was becoming part of it!
That’s how I perceive the fourth Thursday every April all across the United States, Canada and Australia. Bringing your child into work with you is walking with them through a new door they’ve never seen before. It teaches kids that dreams really can become realities, and exposes them to the wide range of work experience they might be looking forward to.
“Children are the future!” is something we must hear daily. They are the future of every company, cooperation, idea, success, failure. Parents are given the job to mentor their children to be driven toward newer and better things. The truth is, children are like sponges. They absorb and imitate everything they hear and see. If they see you demonstrating the values of hard work and persistence, they may desire to do the same.
Studies show that Bring Your Child to Work Day improves their communication skills, work ethics, and leadership. If your employers participate in this awesome day, I hope you’ll take them up on it. It builds confidence, helps foster creativity, and shows kids that even mom and dad have bosses.
Children Aren’t the Only Ones Benefiting!
So many great things result from bringing your child along with you for your workday. And guess what? This benefits you as well!
Bringing your child to work teaches the importance of leading by example. You become more aware of your words and actions throughout the day…and maybe your coworkers will too!
Children’s honesty can also act as a reminder to be truthful and transparent as a business leader. If you’d want them to demonstrate a certain characteristic in the work place, you have to show them a clear example.
The biggest advantage is that you can exhibit that you practice what you preach at home. Do you interact with your co-workers with compassion and respect? Do you shake hands firmly? Do you have a tidy workspace? Do you look people in the eye while talking?
The DO’s and DON’Ts of Bring Your Child to Work Day
Depending on your personality, Bring Your Child to Work Day may seem very simple or very stressful. There are a few things to keep in mind for this special day…
- Plan their day ahead of time, have activities and tasks already prepared.
- Introduce them to your working team! Make them feel special and included.
- Never force them to go to work with you. You want this to be a positive experience.
- Some meetings are just for adults… watch out!
- Reflect on your day afterwards with your child. See what he/she liked and learned.
It’s encouraged that your child shares about his/ her experience with their classmates at school, so that they can be informed of career paths they may not otherwise think of. Bring Your Child to Work Day is strategically placed on a Thursday so students can take what they learned in the workplace and apply it to their classroom-life on Friday.
Our kids admire and look up to us – and if they think we’re great, they’ll probably think that what we’ve chosen for a profession is great as well. Show them everything, answer all of their questions and let them know that everything we do, they can do, too.