After living through COVID, "Take Your Child to Work Day" may seem like a cruel joke. Insert the laughs from parents who’ve been taking care of their children while simultaneously working from home. Even though the world is going through an odd time due to COVID, teaching your children about your career and the meaningful work you do shouldn’t be lost.
Given the social distancing policies in effect, parents and employers must be creative when it comes to "Take Your Kid to Work Day," but it is definitely not impossible. Here are a few ways you can keep the tradition alive.
Make it a big deal.
Make space in your workspace for your little person and set everything up the night before. Your child will feel special and appreciate the extra effort. Grab an extra chair, an extra notepad for them to take notes (or doodle), and consider making a fun sign. Your sign doesn’t need to be fancy – just fun!
You can grab a piece of computer paper and write welcome with markers, or if you are feeling fancy you can change your computer desktop background or screensaver to a festive ‘welcome’ sign.
Schedule a virtual meet-and-greet.
Reach out to your supervisor and co-workers and schedule a short 15-20 meet-and-greet virtual meeting. This is a fun way for your child to see who you interact with on a daily basis at work. Ask everyone to introduce themselves and share a little bit about why they enjoy their job. Have everyone explain how the team works together to get the job done.
Get into action.
Show your child what your work looks like. If you are an Editor, read through a few paragraphs of a manuscript with them. If you are an accountant, reconcile a purchase order or expense report with your child. If you are an engineer, take your child through the process of drawing up a blueprint. While you’re in action, explain what you’re doing and how your work will impact others.
If you use special software, give your child a quick overview of how it works and why it is useful in your profession. It is important to give your child a visual of how you work, so they can better understand your career.
Take a short field trip.
Break for lunch with your kiddo and allow them to ask questions about your job. If your office isn’t far away, consider doing a quick drive-by and show your child where the office is located – this can be a fun way to change scenery and still adhere to social distancing protocols.
Provide your child with a task/project to complete.
Beforehand, think through a fun task or project to give your child that mirrors one you do in your role. Obviously, you’ll want to make it fun and kid-friendly. Provide supplies to help your child really own this project and take it seriously. If you are a graphic designer, ask your child to use software to create a cool sign or mockup. If you are a teacher, ask your child to create a lesson plan to teach a section you’re about to cover in your real class. The possibilities are endless, and your child will appreciate your intentionality.
"Take Your Child to Work Day" is an opportunity for children to see adults in action and provides them with a real-life glimpse of what adulting looks like. It is important for parents to maintain normalcy and continue traditions despite the weird times we are living through. Not only will your child appreciate your efforts, but you’ll create fun memories to cherish for many years.