You guys, April 26th is Bring Your Child To Work Day, and I'm so excited for children everywhere. As a kid, I was always pumped to go to work with my dad, mostly because whiteboard markers are super fun to play with, and because there were always tons of free snacks in the break room. (Also, cubicles. Kids love cubicles.) But more than just a fun vacay from school, this program is really valuable for the window it gives kids into their future. With that in mind, here are a few awesome take our daughters and sons to work day ideas that will help you keep a fun day educational and inspiring, too.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Take Our Daughters & Sons To Work Day program, hosted by the Daughters & Sons Foundation. The goal is to help kids "envision" their futures, according to the website, and help them understand what work really looks like. So whatever you do, if you let your kids see you at it while digging through a bucket of office supplies, you'll be just fine. (Bonus: they'll be really proud of you.)
As for ideas, lots of companies out there are setting up mock-work programming, from make-believe planning committees to pretend design projects, to give kids a taste of what collaborative work looks like. Even the White House is getting in on the action with a mock press briefing, according to David Gura on Twitter. So if you're an engineer, have them draw up a blueprint for an imaginary project. If you're in public relations, let them make up some kid-friendly pitches. We Work recommended letting elementary school students take a crack at re-designing your company logo, or tell a story in a storytelling circle about how they imagine the future of your industry, whether it's fashion or computing. Heck, you could even let them plan and schedule a special kid's-only meeting.
Other activities recommended by the Daughters & Sons Network include letting them create a show-and-tell book all about what they want to be when they grow up, or hosting a Conversation Cafe at lunch time revolving around questions like, "What Do You Want To Change In The World?" The foundation also recommended letting your kids play reporter, and interview (friendly-seeming) people around the office about what they do all day. When in doubt, a tour of your office facilities is always a great place to start.
Of course, older kids can do a whole lot more on Take Our Daughters & Sons To Work Day, and in my humble opinion, they don't need the same degree of programming as the younger set. Kids can shadow you as you go about your day, and ask you the sorts of questions they might not have felt comfortable asking before. (Like, what is cloud computing, anyway?) They can have lunch with you and your co-workers, and chat about the day with other kids that came to the office. If they have downtime, ask them to help you organzie your files, or fill the water-cooler, or clean the whiteboard. You can even throw out an esoteric term from your field — "Hey Toby, what's allowable stress design?" — and set them on researching it.
Take Our Daughters & Sons To Work Day has been a major national event for years, and if you work at a large company, chances are good that they'll have programming available, too. When in doubt, remember the purpose of the program: to help kids focus on their fast-approaching futures by giving them a window into what you do. It's sure to be inspirational for them, and fun and fulfilling for you, too.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.