A few months ago, my work hosted Bring Your Kids to Work Day. And the event was a success according to the most important people involved: the kids!
“I want to go back here again.”
“Can we live here?”
“This was the best day of my life!”
This was the first year my eldest was finally old enough to come—enough reason for me to join the planning committee.
And I learned a lot. From activities to best practices, here’s everything you need to host Bring Your Kids to Work Day:
Get your planning committee together now.
- Plan on at least two months to get the event together. You’ll want as much time since you and your coworkers still have your regular work duties as well.
- Choose one person (maybe that’s you!) to head the committee. That person would then delegate one person to manage each activity or task. That way, the committee head isn’t overwhelmed with tiny details. Instead she communicates with her “department heads” to make sure all is flowing smoothly. Each activity head will then delegate duties to other volunteers.
- Send a reminder to register. Send an email to all employees asking them to register their kids. Give a deadline so you have an accurate head count and all the kids’ names. Send an email reminder a day before the deadline, too. I’ll bet half the people will have forgotten and sign up last minute.
- Divide the participating children by age group. We had three groups with about 18 children each. Color-coordinate the groups, too. For instance, the youngest kids are orange, the middle ones are blue, and the oldest ones are green.
- Print name tags for each child. Print their names using the color of the group they belong to. Adults can then identify which group (young, middle or older kids) each child belongs to. Also, print out colored papers with A, B, and C printed on them, according to the colors you just assigned. The little kids will know to follow the person holding the ‘blue’ paper, for instance.
- Recruit parents to participate. While most parents will sign their kids up for the day, not all will volunteer to plan the event. Recruit and ask them to participate. They’ll likely sign up and just need some encouragement to do so. Divide the activities and duties down by the hour. That way, people don’t feel like they’re committed for the entire day.
Now that you know how to plan the event, below are activities and tasks to do for the day.
Bring Your Kids to Work Day Activities:
- Design an event t-shirt. Order shirts for all the children and volunteers.
- Sign in and registration. Assign people to man the table. They can sign the children in and distribute their name tags, and two to pass out t-shirts.
- Take a group photo. Ask one employee to take a group photo of all the children. Start by marching the youngest group first, since they’ll be in the front. Follow with the middle and older kids who will stand in the back.
- Play outdoor activities about teamwork. If you have a large group, split the three groups so that each group is playing their own game. At least two adults per group of 18 kids.
- Coloring time for the kids. Find quiet activities to do after they’ve just returned from outdoor play. We had the kids color sheets. Tie it in with your work place, such as coloring your logo or making posters or cards for their parents.
- Q&A with the children. Sit your groups in circles and ask them questions, such as: What do you want to be when you grow up? What do you think your mom or dad does here at work?
- Order a kid-friendly lunch. Stick to finger foods or popular and easy to manage meals for kids. Stay away from food that adults need to cut. Favorites include pizza, hot dogs and pasta.
- Hire a photo booth. During the lunch, we hired a photo booth photographer to take pictures of the kids and their parents. The booth came complete with funny props, and the photos were printed immediately. Super popular feature!
- Take the kids on a tour of your work place. Have each group visit about four departments in your office. The presenter can talk about what their department does. Better yet, they can prepare a hands-on workshop for kids to do that applies to that department. Make sure you prepare your presenters. Not all adults know how to speak to kids!
- Put on a career workshop. For the 14- to 18-year-old kids, present a career workshop to prep them for the working world. Our HR staff talked about job interviewing and writing an impressive resume. They reminded them to pick a professional email when submitting job interviews. They also asked common interview questions and guided the kids on their responses.
- Pass out goodie bags. Your work might have giveaways like pens and yo-yos, but include goodies kids will like, too.
Evaluate the good and the bad.
A day after the event, gather your volunteers for a thank you pizza party and to get their thoughts on how the day went. Talk about the highlights of the day as well as what you can improve. Have someone record the suggestions so that the next year, you can remember what to do and what to avoid.
Bring Your Kids to Work Day can boost company morale and introduce kids to their parents’ work life. By far, planning that event is one of my best memories of work. Nothing beats having my son sitting right alongside me at my desk, both of us wishing we could do this every day.
Get more tips for working moms:
- The “How Do You Do It” Working Moms Guide
- Being a Working Mom Isn’t Always a Second Choice
- How to Explain to Your Kids Why You Work
- Mommy Track: On Women, Careers and “Giving It Up” for Motherhood
- First Day Back after Maternity Leave — Does It Get Better?
Your turn: Does your work participate in Bring Your Kids to Work Day? Did you go to your parents’ work place as part of Bring Your Kids to Work Day?
Get time management strategies, FREE!
Do you feel overwhelmed balancing the needs of your family and your role as a mom? Struggling to find the time to get everything done? Get organized with a FREE copy of my ebook, Time Management Strategies for the Overwhelmed Mom!