Introduce your children to your working life! Check out these Bring Your Child to Work Day activities for a successful event.
At my old workplace, our company hosted Bring Your Child to Work Day. I thought the event went well, but the most important opinion, of course, rested on the kids. And according to my then-five-year-old, it sure was a special day. After the whole day ended, he raved:
“I want to go back here again.”
“Can we live here?”
“This was the best day of my life!”
Everyone else thought so, too—even coworkers who didn’t have kids attend the event. Company morale was high, and we got to see a different side of one another that we normally see at work.
Bring Your Child to Work Day activities and planning
Since that was the first time my eldest was finally old enough to come with me to work, I decided to join the planning committee.
And I learned a lot. No event is ever perfect, but by careful planning and learning for next time, you can host a fun day for your own work.
Of course, “work” looks different now since the pandemic. Many parents found themselves working remotely (and may still continue to do so). Even if you don’t go into the office any longer, you can still share how you work from home with your child.
But if you’re looking for Bring Your Child to Work Day Activities in the office, take a look at how my coworkers and I pulled it off:
1. Get your planning committee together
- 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 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.
- 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 will sign up last minute.
- Divide the participating children by various age groups. We had three groups with about 18 children each. Color-coordinate the groups, too. For instance, the younger children 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 participants and ask them to help. 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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2. Plan the logistics
Now that you know how to plan the event, below are tasks to do for the day to make the event run smoothly:
- Design an event t-shirt. Order shirts for all the children and volunteers.
- Sign in and registration. Assign people to man the table. Some can sign the children in and distribute their name tags, and others can pass out t-shirts.
- 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.
- Pass out goodie bags. Your work might have company-branded items like pens and notepads, but include goodies kids will like, too.
3. Plan your activities
Take a look at a few ideas the kids can do during the day:
- Outdoor activities about teamwork. If you have a large group, split the three groups so that each group is playing their own game. Aim for 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 with crayons and markers. Tie it in with your work place, 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 and older kids who will stand in the back.
4. 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. Have someone record the suggestions so that the next year, you know 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.
Start by gathering your planning committee well in advance, delegating tasks to “department heads.” Plan the logistics, like ordering t-shirts and lunches. Schedule fun activities each group can do throughout the entire workday. And lastly, evaluate how the day went so you can put on an even better event next year.
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.
Get more tips:
- How to Spend Time with the Baby when You Work Long Hours
- The “How Do You Do It” Working Moms Guide
- How to Explain to Your Kids Why You Work
- Flexible Work Arrangements for Working Moms
- How to Work from Home with a Baby (And Actually Get Things Done)
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