Did you know that “Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day” is actually a program that is part of a legitimate foundation? Who knew? I always assumed it was a great excuse to save on a day of childcare and cause a little chaos in the office. However, according to the organization’s website, the intention is to show kids the value of their education and to help them discover the possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life. Not a bad sentiment. So, in case you are planning to bring your child to work in participation of the event this Thursday, April 27th, I thought I might help out. Below are some tips for a successful execution of the day and a few important lessons your child can learn while in the workplace with you. My seven-month-old son, Walter, obligingly came in for a “practice day” to the Nite Ize offices. Here is what we learned:
1.SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS
Kids and meetings don’t mix. If the actual day falls when you have a lot of important meetings scheduled, maybe pick a different day, or see if you can reschedule the meetings. On our practice day, Walter immediately hijacked my meeting and was, frankly, a bit of a dictator in the board room.
2. COMMUTE THE FUN WAY
Even if you wouldn’t normally walk or ride your bike to work, wouldn’t it be great if we could teach the next generation to do it better? If you live close enough, plant the seed early and make it a fun, active commute that day.
3. IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO TEACH THE IMPORTANCE OF COFFEE
Moms and dads who keep it together with herbal teas and green smoothies, more power to you, but this tip is for the rest of us. The kids are going to learn sooner or later what keeps mommy, and the world running, so you might as well use this opportunity to teach them how to brew a good pot of coffee for you and their future coworkers.
4. EVERYONE STARTS IN THE MAIL ROOM
It’s just a fact of life, and an important one at that. Whether your mailroom is theoretical or actual, take your kid through all the processes where you work and talk to them about the important relationship of hard work, accomplishment and reward.
5. THE ART OF CONVERSATION IS ALIVE AND WELL
It’s a digital era and sometimes terrifying to see “zombie” kids with their eyes constantly glued to screens. Regardless of whether you work in a traditional business setting or not, very few jobs are devoid of interaction, and none that I can think of where you wouldn’t at least have to successfully communicate in an interview. Be a good example and include your child in the conversations you are having at work, introduce them to your coworkers with handshakes and eye contact. If you have a phone call, put it on speaker so they can experience the full interaction and better understand the types of healthy communication expected in a workplace.
6. BECOME AN EXPERT – READ UP
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received in the work place was from a boss who told me to become a voracious reader. Whatever your profession, reading up on what is happening in your industry, what competitors are doing, and what are the best practices can only help you do your job better. Alright, maybe seven months was a little early to be trying to impart this lesson, but I do hope to pass this practice on to Walter at some point!
7. TAKE ACTIVE BREAKS
At Nite Ize, we are fortunate enough to have a gym on site where we can go to break a sweat, and we have some nice walking trails around with views of Boulder’s Flatirons. Where ever you work, chances are you’ve got somewhere you can walk, or a park nearby where you could go to for a quick break with your child. Remember they are used to having recess, and it’s not a bad thing for adults to take a little recess too. According to a Harvard Business Review article, regular exercise leads to improved concentration, sharper memory, faster learning, enhanced creativity, lower stress and other benefits to a productive, happy life in and out of the workplace.
8. LET CURIOSITY DRIVE THE DAY
What you think is interesting about your workplace might be different than what your child finds interesting. Make sure to give them plenty of opportunities to ask questions, explore, and tell you what they find interesting. I never would have guessed that this display of our key accessories would be Walter’s favorite part of the day, but he could have played with these DoohicKeys all day.
9. MAKE IT FUN!
This is the most important tip for you both. Okay, maybe butt-Xeroxing is going to warrant a call from HR, but you get the gist – make it fun for them and make sure they see you enjoying your day too.
Well, maybe seven months is a LITTLE young for Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day, but hopefully you were able to glean some useful information from my and Walter's day together at the office. If you have helpful tips of your own for taking a child to work and would like to share with our readers, please leave them in the comments section below.
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