Planning Your First Take Your Child to Work Day

Make the day great for you, your child, and your co-workers.

Toddler wearing a tie and sitting at a desk, representing bring your son or daughter to work day

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Take Your Daughters and Sons To Work Day lands on the fourth Thursday in April. This day is celebrated by over 3.5 million workplaces and 35 million workers. It's such a big deal that a foundation was built to support and encourage parents and companies to participate in this awesome event.

If you're a new working mom, here's what you need to know about this special day and how you can partake in the festivities.

First, Know Your History

Over 20 years ago, the first "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day" was born. The people we have to thank worked at the Ms. Foundation for Women, a non-profit organization. The founders of this day were its president Marie C. Wilson, its founder Gloria Steinem, and its treasurer Daren Ball. They hoped that by bringing daughters into the workplace it would build up their self-esteem and help them envision their future career. 

In 2003, the observance was expanded to include boys and renamed "Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day" because the experience is beneficial for all children. This day doesn't have to be just for your children. You could bring your nieces, nephews or neighbors. This experience could be very beneficial especially if they are interested in your line of work!

Another non-profit organization, Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Foundation, popped up due to the day's popularity. Their mission is to provide guidance and support for businesses and families to keep this tradition going for years to come.

Benefits for You, Your Child, and Your Co-Workers

Do you talk about your children often at work? I bet your co-workers feel like they know your children pretty well. Likewise, when you are at home do you talk about your co-workers and boss often? Wouldn't it be great if everyone could meet each other? 

On this day you'll have the chance to combine your two worlds, your work life, and your family life. You will make introductions and form new friendships. Even if there are some mishaps, because with kids there always are, it'll be an enriching experience.

Also, you'll have the opportunity to bond with your child on a new level. It helps give them a better understanding of what you do all day long while they are at school. They may ask questions about your work life that would never have been discussed unless they saw you at work. If they are older, this day may open their eyes to a whole different world outside of school, sports, and other after-school activities. 

One of the reasons why you are a working mom is because you want to be a good role model for your children. Here's your chance to really shine! You'll show them what being a working mom is all about because they'll see your day from beginning to end. Then, later on, you can enjoy watching your children pretend to be like you.

How You Can Participate and Plan For This Big Day

Before the big day, plan your workload for the day. Plan on being interrupted more often and try to avoid taking on challenging tasks. If you must, see if another working parent could help you out for an hour.

Then plan your child's workload. Ask your child if there's anything they'd like to do at our workplace to get them involved. You can surprise your little ones by preparing programs and activities to fill up their "workday".

Does your company offer support or a program to follow on Take Your Daughter and Son to Work Day? If not, here's your chance to take the initiative! Share your plans with your HR department. Then let them know about the Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Foundation and their company guidelines and suggestions. 

With a plan in hand, your employer may feel encouraged to get other parents to participate in this day. You can share what you've done with your kids and how others could manage their workload. Also, you can help each other out when work gets piled on and you really need to focus. Because, just like children, work can be unpredictable, too.

Some Tips for First-Timers

If this is your first time bringing your children to work ask other working parents for advice. Was there a good room the kids enjoyed seeing? How did the working parent keep their children quiet and entertained for the day? Perhaps some employees have toys stashed away for special occasions like this.

Ask other working parents if they'd like to join you and your child(ren) for lunch. This is a great way to check-in with other parents to see how their special day is going. Does anyone need help that afternoon? Could all the kids work on a project that afternoon? Plus, bringing all the children together will help them get some wiggles out. Everyone needs a little recess time, right?

Most importantly, be sure to lay down some ground rules before stepping foot into the office. Tell them how you expect them to behave. Prep them by sharing your plan for the day and that they will have movement breaks around the office. Also, it won't hurt to offer a reward for good behavior!

Edited by Elizabeth McGrory.