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Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

What benefits are reaped from "Take Your Child to Work" Day?

Asked by Pied_Pfeffer (22535 points ) September 6th, 2012

The company I worked for used to encourage a parent to bring their school-aged child to work on this day. While I don’t have one, I still participated in a program our dept. developed for the children that were signed up.

As a co-worker, I enjoyed giving these children an insight on what their parent did and how their role was important to the success of the company. What I never found out was how beneficial it was to these children.

If you attended one, or your child did, was it a waste of time? If you, or the child, found it beneficial, can you describe how?

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17 Answers

marinelife's avatar

It opens the child’s mind to new possibilities for employment. It shows children the reality of the workaday world.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@marinelife I would love to think that is the case in all scenarios. What I’ve seen done in other depts. is that the child sits at a desk and does very little other than listen or file or make copies.

I’m hoping to hear some specific examples of what worked or what didn’t, particularly if it comes from someone who knows what the child’s take-away was.

wundayatta's avatar

Originally it was take your daughter to work. The idea was to show girls the workplace and to give them the idea they belonged there.

Now, with take your child to work, I’m not sure what the point is, other than to show them where you work and what work is like. Part of the education process.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@wundayatta Yeah, I’m aware of the origins. I’m curious about how the program is used now, and more importantly, if anyone who participated actually benefited from it.

jca's avatar

I think it can be interesting for the child to see where the parent works. For the parents, it helps with morale, as they get to see other coworkers’ children and maybe makes a feeling of cohesiveness? Kind of like a party atmosphere?

As a child, my mom worked in labs and I went with her often to work, for their parties. As a teen, she worked for the federal government in downtown NYC and I would take the train down to the city, stop by her job, go shopping then go back to her job end of day and we’d take the train home together. It was a good way to learn how to take the train without being totally alone about it, and also to see her job but not be sitting there all day. I enjoyed meeting her coworkers and I imagine they enjoyed meeting me.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@jca The point about it being interesting to see where their parent works and potentially building a bond makes sense. The comment about learning the train system, even if it is just to grasp what the parent has to go through every day, is also important. Thank you for sharing.

gailcalled's avatar

I can still remember, decades later, when my father took me to his work every Sat. morning. He was working for his father, my grandfather, and did a half day every Sat.

It was a factory that manufactured umbrella frames and therefore a noisy, scary and serious place, where sparks flew from the belts and the metal being shaped.

My dad had an office in an upper corner and it looked out over ‘those dark Satanic mills.”

It gave me a sense of what he was really doing…which was not working at the lathes and belts and heavy machinery but talking to my grandfather.

On the drive along the Hutchinson River Parkway, he pointed out the pheasants who crossed the road and the interesting marsh land vegetation.

When my sister arrived ten years later, the Saturday work schedule had been eliminated, because my grandfather was not able to keep the union out. She has added this to the list of why I was a mean older sister; she never got to see this stuff or share this time with our father.

My kids went to the school where I was working so they got to see me at work every day; it made it easy for them to get money and rides to and from everywhere, along with all their friends. They said that it was fun.

JLeslie's avatar

I think for many kids what their parents do at work all day is a mystery. I think it is a great idea to take your child to work one day. Especially good when other coworkers spend the time to interact with your child. It exposes them to new adults, new conversations about workplace. I don’t think teachers (oh I know I am going to get slammed for this) really have a good grasp of what other careers are like, so since most children spend most of their day with their teachers any information about real world experiences in other careers can only be had by actually talking to and experiencing those other jobs. It’s not just teachers, each of us have only a limited ability to imagine what other careers are like I think.

More important than going to a parents workplace is for children, especially high school age, to go to various workplaces to see what it is like. To explore their interests. Going to a parents workplace let’s us understand better what our parent does, which I think is good, but even more important is a child’s discovery of what they might want to do themselves when they are out in the workforce.

captainsmooth's avatar

My girls were very upset when they missed bring your kid to work day a couple of years ago. Last year we had a special bring your kid to work day because we had student testing on the day it was scheduled.

They love coming to my school. They interact in their own ways with the different people, kids and adults. The older one helps out, reads stories, holds hands with kids. The younger one tends to go into a class to hang out with a teacher.

What do they get out of it? Knowing the people their dad works with, seeing the environment I work in, spending a day in a different world.

JLeslie's avatar

@captainsmooth Why did they have to “miss” the day, It isn’t like you need an official holiday to take them to work do you? Can’t you bring them with you on a different day besides the hallmark day?

Gabby101's avatar

I agree with @wundayatta, I don’t really see the point anymore. At my last company, it was just mostly little kids and there was fun stuff for them to do. It was fun for us to meet everyone’s kids, but that’s about it. Since my parents were blue collar workers, it would have been nice if someone with a professional career could have taken me to work when I was a teenager, but that’s not how it works.

captainsmooth's avatar

My principal wasn’t going to let her staff bring their children to work during standardized testing going on that day. She doesn’t let people bring their kids in on other days.

So my kids and I were pretty happy she rescheduled it.

JLeslie's avatar

@captainsmooth Oh, it was rescheduled. I misunderstood. I thought they didn’t have a chance to see you a work that year. I understand why they weren’t allowed during the testing.

YARNLADY's avatar

My husbands workplace only invites children in during Halloween, but we have seen that our preschoolers imitate “grandpa at work” when they get home. I think it’s beneficial.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@gailcalled Like you, I suspect, going into the office with Dad wasn’t due to any program. I was too young to appreciate the time in the office, but the rest of it was invaluable one-on-one time.

@JLeslie I agree with what you said. I wouldn’t expect a teacher to be knowledgeable about all other careers. That’s why a well-organized “TYCTWD” could be advantageous on at least one level.

@captainsmooth Thank you for sharing. Are the benefits coming from your perspective, or from your children’s? If the former, would you mind asking them and reporting back?

@Gabby101 What you describe is the challenge of the program. What’s the point if it is just a party day at a parent’s workplace? Carrying out menial tasks is just as bad for the older ones. If the program is to be carried out effectively, then it needs to be structured, and preferably tailored around goals. I would love for there to be a filmed debrief at the end of the children’s day. How fun would that be to watch?

captainsmooth's avatar

I think that my kids benefit from seeing a different type of school. I work in an urban environment, and they go to school in the suburbs. They get to meet kids that are their age from different economic and cultural backgrounds.

I also work with kids that have all kinds of disabilities, so my kids benefit on that level as well.

I also make house calls after school in the same city. My oldest came with me a couple of times and got to see different neighborhoods and homes. It gave her a different perspective about where she lives.

downtide's avatar

When I was a kid, my father worked in a printing factory, and I was allowed to visit a few times. I never actually did anything, just watched, but I found it fascinating.

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