How to Organize a Bring Your Kids to Work Day

Organizing a Bring Your Kids to Work Day is a fantastic way to introduce kids to the workplace and boost morale in the company. Here are some tips for planning a successful event for a smooth and fun day for all.

How to Organize a Bring Your Child to Work Day

“I want to go back here again,” my 5 year old raved. “Can we live here? This was the best day of my life!”

We had just hosted a Bring Your Kids to Work Day event at work, and everyone—including the kids—thought the day went well. Parents enjoyed having their kids around, and even coworkers without kids participated as well. Company morale was high, and we got to see a different side of one another that we normally wouldn’t.

As the chair of the committee, I learned a lot from planning the event, from what went well and what didn’t. If you’re interested in planning Bring Your Kids to Work Day at your own office or workplace, take a look at these top tips:

Get your planning committee together

The first place to start is to gather volunteers to help you put the event together. Start recruiting coworkers about two months before the event—you’ll want plenty of time to plan since you still have your regular work duties to do as well.

Choose one person (maybe that’s you!) to head the committee. That individual would delegate one person to manage each activity or task. That way, the committee head isn’t overwhelmed with tiny details. Instead, she can communicate with her “department heads” to make sure all is flowing smoothly. Each activity head can then delegate specific duties to other volunteers.

While most parents will sign their kids up for the day, not all will volunteer to plan the event. Recruit parents to participate, even if they don’t join the planning committee. They’ll probably sign up with some encouragement. Divide the activities and duties down by the hour so people don’t feel like they’re committed for the entire day.

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Register and group participants

Send an email to all employees asking them to register their kids if they want to participate. Make sure they include the age of their kids so that they can be grouped with other kids around the same age.

Give a deadline so you have an accurate headcount 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 will sign up last minute.

Once you have a list of the participating children, divide them by age groups. We had three groups with about 18 children each. That way, we were able to rotate the three groups through different activities.

I also suggest color-coordinating the groups. You can then print name tags for each child, using the color of the group they belong to. Adults can then better identify which group each child belongs to. Then, as you move groups from one place to another, have someone hold a sheet of paper with these corresponding colors so that the kids will know to follow the person holding the “blue” paper, for instance.

Plan the logistics

Each company will differ in the activities you do, but several tasks will likely apply no matter your workplace.

For instance, designate a sign-in and registration table and assign volunteers to check children in. Some can sign the children in and distribute their name tags while others can pass out t-shirts.

Speaking of which, see if you can order shirts for all the children and volunteers. This can make for a fun memento and group photo down the line.

Don’t forget to order a kid-friendly lunch for participants! Stick to finger foods or popular and easy-to-manage meals for kids, and stay away from food that adults need to cut and dice. Favorites include pizza, hot dogs, and pasta.

Finally, pass out goodie bags at the end of the day. Your company might have branded items like pens and notepads, but don’t forget goodies that kids will like, too.

Plan your activities

Take a look at a few ideas the kids can do during the day:

  • Play games all about team building. Many coworkers will go on retreats and place games and activities to showcase the importance of teamwork. Play the same activities with the kids!
  • Coloring time for the kids. This quiet activity is perfect to do after they’ve just returned from playing games. Tie it in with your workplace, such as coloring your company logo or making posters or cards for their parents.
  • Q&A with the children. Sit your groups in circles and ask them a list of questions, such as: How do you want to contribute to the world when you’re grown up? What do you think your mom or dad does here at work? Record the answers and share them with the company!
  • 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. This makes for a fun memento!
  • Take the kids on a tour of your workplace. 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 an audience of kids!
  • Put on a career workshop. For the 14- to 18-year-old kids, present a career workshop to prepare them for the working world. Our HR staff talked about job interviewing and how to write their own resume. You can also include entrepreneurial topics, like starting your own business.
  • Take a group photo. Ask one person 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 ones, and have older kids stand in the back.

Evaluate the good and the bad

A day after the event, gather your volunteers for a thank you pizza party and to get their input on how the day went. Talk about the highlights of the day as well as what you can improve.

Go around the table and invite anyone to share their opinions and suggestions freely. Have someone record the suggestions so that the next year, you know what to do and what to avoid.

The bottom line

Bring Your Kids to Work Day can boost company morale and introduce kids to their parents’ work life. By far, planning that event was one of my best memories of work and a positive experience for both me and my son. Nothing beats having him sit alongside me, both of us wishing we could do this every day.

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