Parents want to inspire their children to work hard, find a job they enjoy and contribute to society. Kids want to know the possibilities for their future, and how school is going to help them get there. Take Your Son or Daughter to Work Day is an opportunity to accomplish both.
We typically celebrate this day on the fourth Thursday of every April. This year, the day falls on April 23, but due to the coronavirus, the official date will be rescheduled. Whether you and your workplace recognize the day this month or later this year, you may need to get creative. Here are a few ways to put a remote spin on Take Your Child to Work Day:
#1 Find the Silver Lining.
For parents who are working from home and also juggling childcare or homeschooling because of COVID-19, every day may feel like Take Your Child to Work Day. In some ways, this is a great time to share your career with your child. If you’re working from home, your child may already be getting a closer look at what you do every day. If they lose interest or have a major meltdown, you have more flexibility to take a break or move to another room rather than scrambling to get your child home or back to school.
#2 Prepare in Advance.
Make plans with your boss, preferably for a time when you don’t have important meetings or deadlines. You can expect a few disruptions, but they won’t put a damper in your workweek if you’ve planned for them. Think through the logistics. What activities would be most interesting to your child? How long will your child be involved? Do you have a work space set up in your home?
#3 Set Expectations.
To make the experience successful, both parent and child need to know what to expect. The day before, explain appropriate professional behavior, including how to speak to colleagues and what will happen if your child doesn’t behave appropriately. Also let your child know what they can expect, such as who they’ll meet and what they’ll do and see.
#4 Involve the Teacher.
Tell your child’s teacher you’re planning to participate in Take Your Child to Work Day. Now more than ever, teachers welcome hands-on, alternative paths to learning. Find out if there’s regular schoolwork they need to make up or if your teacher has any ideas for integrating their workday experiences into their distance learning.
#5 Make it Fun.
Kids learn the most when they’re actively engaged. Rather than just watching you work, try to think of activities your child can participate in. Ask how they would solve a problem or have them help you draft an email or brainstorm ideas for a presentation. Even if frustrations arise in your workday, try to keep the experience upbeat and positive so your child sees the rewards of having a job.
#6 Brainstorm Alternatives.
Taking your child to work may not be an option for you this year. Not all workplaces are open to observing the day, and not all parents can manage it right now. You may be an essential worker or one of the 22 million-plus Americans out of work as a result of the pandemic. Or maybe you’re concerned it won’t be a positive experience – for example, if your child is very young (under 8), isn’t interested in your line of work or struggles with appropriate behavior. If you’re in these situations, consider a few alternative ways to honor the day:
- Read about different careers online, based on your child’s interests.
- Do phone interviews or virtually shadow friends, family or coworkers during their workday to learn about their jobs.
- Do online assessments together to learn more about your child’s personality, strengths and interests.
- Practice job readiness skills at home, such as mock interviews, basic etiquette, time management, active listening, networking, presentation skills or problem-solving.
- If you physically go to your workplace during the coronavirus pandemic, see if you can conference your child in for a virtual meeting or give them a tour of your workplace on your phone or laptop.
#7 Reflect on the Day.
The most impactful part of Take Your Child to Work Day is the thoughts and conversations it can spark. Take time to process the day. What was your child’s favorite part? What kind of job can they picture doing? Do they have any questions? For extra learning, consider having them describe their experience in an essay or presentation.
Inspiring the Next Generation of Workplace Superstars
The theme of Take Your Son or Daughter to Work Day in 2020 is “Meet the Workplace Superstars.” Introduce your child virtually to the superstars at your workplace and inspire the next generation to discover the rewards of hard work. Here are a few other reasons to consider participating this year:
- Since it started in 1992 as Take Our Daughters to Work Day (expanding to include boys in 2003), the main goal has been to build children’s self-confidence and a sense of empowerment.
- It helps children explore career paths and discover passions at an age when they’re curious and flexible in terms of gender roles.
- Witnessing a day in your life helps your children understand the importance of the schoolwork they’re doing and shows them mom and dad don’t just play on the phone or computer all day.
- It’s a chance to bond with your child in a different way and get excited about the future.
- Fathers who participate are seen as more well-rounded by being visible to coworkers as both professionals and parents.
- It helps bosses and coworkers get to know each other better. Putting a face to the most important people in your life can make employers more understanding of your family needs.
Although it’ll take some creativity this year, Take Your Child to Work Day is a day worth celebrating. In past years, about 37 million Americans participated in Take Your Son or Daughter to Work Day. If you’re able, join in!