Friday Free-for-All: Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

This Thursday, April 27, is National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. Most of you are probably familiar with the program, which was founded by the Ms. Foundation for Women to create an opportunity for girls (and eventually boys when the program expanded beyond daughters) to share and communicate their expectations for the future. Thousands of companies, schools, parents and kids participate each year -- with mixed results.

I've heard some kids complain about being bored by their parents' work environments (imagine that) and some employees resent the disruption of having children at work.

Others love the opportunity to show children what work is really all about and the sense of community created by the day.

What's your take? What are the pros and cons of National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day?

More information is available at

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  April 21, 2006; 7:20 AM ET  | Category:  Free-for-All
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I have no problem with it, if the company has something like a planned tour or activities. In general, I wish it was held during the summer. There are far too many interruptions to the school year as it is. It is rare that my daughter has 5 full days of instruction in a given week. Either there is a day off, a half day, or some other 'special event' at school.

Posted by: wls | April 21, 2006 8:26 AM

At my office, they have planned events throughout the day. This means the parents don't get any work done. It also means that the children don't get to see what their parents do for work.

I think it is a good idea gone bad. It was once a chance for the kids to see what the parents do. However, how exiting is it to see a parent analyzing data or reading an academic paper?? Maybe if the parent was an architect (see the cool pictures) or something so the kids would be entertained. I know my kids wouldn't get excited about seeing me sit infront of a computer all day coding my programs.

Posted by: Father of 2 | April 21, 2006 8:31 AM

And how exciting is it for our kids to watch us reading this blog. LOL

Posted by: Father of 2 | April 21, 2006 8:32 AM

The people in my agency who don't like this day usually take it off!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 21, 2006 8:36 AM

My daughter's school still has career day. I think that this is better...the kids can hear about lots of different careers rather than just their parents.

Posted by: wls | April 21, 2006 8:41 AM

I agree - a good idea gone bad. While one may work in an exciting field (aviation), I know my daughter would be bored to tears sitting with me in my cube watching me write papers and breakout statistics. About the most exciting thing I do is make some pie charts on occasion. Our agency has programs and mini-lectures for the kids who come during the day as well, which kind of ruins the idea of letting your kid see what you do. Career day is definately a better idea.

Also, do we really want to start disillusioning kids so early in life to the fact that being a grown-up isn't that great a lot of the time? That we can't all be pop stars or jet pilots or football superstars, that sometimes your chosen career may require vast amounts of mundane work. Look at an archeologist for example: You wouldn't want a kid coming in thinking you're job is like Indiana Jones every day, and you wouldn't want the routine of research and recording data and such to deter the little guy from pursuing a topic he finds interesting at this stage in his young life. So do you make sure you are at a dig next Thursday so junior can feel the excitment of archeology but paint an unrealistic picture of what goes on more frequently day-to-day? It's sort of a catch-22, I think.

Posted by: k | April 21, 2006 9:00 AM

Frankly, I think work is for work, and having kids there for a whole day is distracting. Maybe an hour or two during the day would be better. I aggree with previous posters that career day is better, because the venue is more kid friendly and they don't have to sit in an office all day.

I have a daughter, but I think it would be too much of a distraction to have her in the office with me - I wouldn't get any work done, which is why I'm here, right?

Posted by: v | April 21, 2006 9:13 AM

Is it really worth anyone's time? The original spirit of the Take our Daughter's to Work Day has been corrupted in many ways. When parents complained of boys being left out, boys were included and I don't have a problem with that change. I do have a problem with the way my former Agency would celebrate it: it was no longer career day but babysitting day. Parents brought children who were way too young to understand what a "career" is all about. The activities were ridiculously tailored for 5-9 year olds. My daughter preferred to go to school than be with the "babies" and do activities such as coloring and playing with glitter. I think workplaces (and schools) should restrict the ages of children that visit the workplace to 10 and up. Or reinvigorate "Career Day" as someone mentioned already.

Posted by: Working mom of 2 | April 21, 2006 9:19 AM

Perhaps the secret is to bring older kids to work. A second grader is not going to be interested in spreadsheets, but a junior-high or high schooler might be more interested in how some of their school work (writing, math, science) applies in the real world.

And yes, there are few things more annoying than a senior VP's 10 year old flouncing around the office and announcing she's bored every 5 minutes until her dad takes her to lunch at the Palm.

Posted by: Kid Free in Alexandria | April 21, 2006 9:21 AM

As a former teacher, I can tell you that this day was a major annoyance. Late April is a time when lots of end-of-the-year projects and activities are taking shape, and it is very disruptive to have a day when half the class is gone. Why do parents need to pull their kids out of school to show them what a day at work is like? How about doing that over winter break, or during summer vacation?

Posted by: AP | April 21, 2006 9:31 AM

It was a joke, really. At the law firm where I work, a committee would be created comprising administrative staff and some legal assistants, and we would create a schedule of events for the kids to attend. It was essentially a drop off day for the parents although there were 2 hours in the early afternoon for parent time. I remember one year we actually took the kids to a museum but two of the older girls (older meaning 13 or 14) actually took off, leading us a merry chase. We had to stop doing it altogether. The children of the attorneys were absolute snobs to the children of administrative staff and legal assistants. It was ridiculous. The kids looked at it as a day off from school and the parents looked at it as an educational tool and the non-parent staff and attorneys were resentful of the disruption.

Posted by: Snap2 | April 21, 2006 9:50 AM

I agree with posters who wish this day was during summer break or, perhaps, the school system could schedule one of the professional days to coincide with the day. So few kids are left in school, it is a waste to even have school that day.

Posted by: Di | April 21, 2006 9:52 AM

I have a toddler, so this is years off for me. They have this at my agency, a day of planned events which do not appear to be particularly interesting. I have heard from friends that this is something that children are willing to do only once, then they choose to go to school that day because it is so boring. I do not know what year this started, but I never attended one of these as a child. I recall going to a work "open house" for my mother's office in the evening and seeing some interesting demonstrations, but I cannot imagine anything more boring than spending a day at her office. I spent the occasional hour there growing up and it was not particularly interesting and I do not believe it affected my career choice.

The career day model sounds better to me. Expose children to a broader cross-section of career choices.

Posted by: another dc working mom | April 21, 2006 10:05 AM

I taught in FCPS previously. The majority of the 8th graders I had were convinced that they were going to be rockstars, etc. that didn't need to learn ANYTHING. So, YES, let the kids see you reading, WRITING, doing MATH, Science, etc. It teaches a valuation of these skills. Once you hit high school its very hard to re-track a kid who is determined NEVER to go past Algebra 1, to a college prep track.

The kids who didn't have parents who were originally from this area, had absolutely no idea how to get from here to there.

A program which I would like to recommend is the AVID program. (google will give you a great description) I could tell within 2 days of a student joining this program, grades went up, homework done on time, peer pressure to do well, and people helping to "play the game" to get into college, or other opportunitites.

A terrific thing was that many parents took other children to work with them, so if Timmy was interested in Military work, he could go with Sue's Mom who is a high ranking officer, or somesuch.


Posted by: ljb | April 21, 2006 10:18 AM

Absolutely worthless, annoying and disruptive. Parents get very little work done; it’s a day-long party. Employees who are trying to work have to tolerate kids running around any not being very quiet, after all, this is their day to have “fun”. It is not realistic that 5 – 14 year olds will get anything out of the day at work – except being entertained. Could be beneficial for 15-18 year olds, as long as constructive activities are “work” related

Posted by: jar | April 21, 2006 10:21 AM

I telecommute on Thursday, so I will have kiddo sit behid me and take notes :) She says she doesn't understand what I do - which is not that strange given that most of the important stuff happens in my head or in conversations with people that talk about things she has no idea about. For some career paths it is much harder to build a hero model for the kids to follow.

I have the feeling that this day is perceived as a vacation day by most kids.

Posted by: 20850 | April 21, 2006 10:25 AM

At my agency, not only are the kids subjected to glorified day care, there have been solicitations for volunteers to serve as tour guides, food preparers, etc. Basically, productivity pretty much crashes.

Posted by: jw | April 21, 2006 10:30 AM

My mother worked at the parish next to my parochial school, so I spent many afternoons after school at her office until she was off work--every day was take your daughter to work day! I either did my homework or helped out with office tasks--I am now a master at stuffing envelopes for mass mailings.

As a childless employee, I am not in favor of take your kids to work day. Unless you have a job that's interesting to watch, or that has tasks that the kids can participate in, I don't see what benefit it has for the kids, and if they aren't kept busy, it's really disruptive for the rest of us. The kids are distractions and/or the parents (my coworkers) aren't getting any work done. High school students are a different matter, but those aren't really the target of these events, in my experience. It's usually younger children who require much more entertainment to keep them quiet.

Posted by: Karen | April 21, 2006 10:33 AM

Why would I want to take my kids to work? So they can see what a big loser and a failure their dad is?

Posted by: Fred | April 21, 2006 10:41 AM

I have to agree that a career day at school is better for everyone. Not every parent has a job where children can come. Do you realy want kids running around a factory, at a construction site, on a military base. I'm an environmental scientist and work primarily doing restoration if harazardous waste sites. I could never bring children to work (it's illegal for anyone not certified to be on site) and bringing them to the office to watch me write reports or crunch numbers would bore them to tears. I'm sure other parents are in the same position.

And what about the parents who have labor- type jobs and not careers. No one wants their chilren to learn about scrubbing toilets or collecting trash. Should thier children be excludeed from learning about future careers?

A career day at school makes more sense. All children can participate and learn about a variety of careers. It's also easier to make the day age appropriate this way.

Posted by: cms | April 21, 2006 10:47 AM

I work at a Gov't lab, and they spend an awful lot of time and money setting up activities and tours for the kids, freezing things with liquid nitrogen and such. While that stuff is fine for getting kids interested in science, it tells them NOTHING about the 85% of our activities that are boring as watching paint dry (paperwork, proposals, meetings, etc.). Let's at least try to give them something of a balanced view.

Posted by: Tim | April 21, 2006 10:48 AM

As a teacher, I find this problematic for several reasons. First of all, the day is right during the period when most schools are in the midst of high stakes testing as mandated by NCLB. Students do not perform as well in a makeup testing environment. Secondly, "Take Your Child to Word Day" does not qualify as an excused absence. The school is astually penalized by the state for approximately $30 per day for each day that every one child is absent without a legitimate excuse. If a million children participate throughout the nation, schools throughout the country loose about $30 million on that day. Lastly, the student misses important instruction. Our nation already has one of the shortest school years in the world. Such a day would be better held when schools are not in session. For most schools, that would be during summer; for year-round schools, it would be during off-track times.

Posted by: Tom H | April 21, 2006 11:11 AM

I think it is a wonderful thing, however, why is it done during the school year? We should move Take Your Child To Work Day outside of the school year.

Posted by: L. Olson | April 21, 2006 11:14 AM

I think take your kid to work day is cool. Children can put a faces with names that they hear about on a nightly basis.

"Daddy is he the lazy slob?"

Posted by: Johnny | April 21, 2006 11:14 AM

Please don't take your kids to work. Either on this silly day, when they are sick, when the babysitter is off, what ever. The work place is not appropriate for children. It's very disruptive to the rest of us. Your co-workers will thank you.

Posted by: co-worker | April 21, 2006 11:25 AM

As has been stated, take your kid to work day could be appropriate for older kids (teenagers) and should be a day during summer break. The school year is short enough already. And what's the teacher supposed to do with half the class gone? They can't move on to new material, too many will miss it and it will have to be repeated. Just repeating and reviewing might not be appropriate. As it is now, "Take your kid to work day" is stupid.

Posted by: Frank | April 21, 2006 11:35 AM

I have mixed feelings about this day. I think the intention was good, but it has gone downhill. I have 2 children and I haven't pulled them out of school yet to watch me work through emails, attend meetings or analyze reports. There's nothing particulary sexy or exciting about what I do that would merit missing a school day. Additionally, there is nothing particularly exciting or worthwhile for school-aged children sitting in our office conference room watching a video about our company. I think there's more benefit in having focused career days for children. our kids should be in school.

Posted by: jules | April 21, 2006 11:36 AM

My workplace restricts the age of the children. they must be between 9 and 15. My boss actually gave my daughter work that she could do (highlight items on a spreadsheet that met certain criteria). There were also presentations that provided an overview of the different types of jobs/careers available within the business.

"And what about the parents who have labor- type jobs and not careers. No one wants their chilren to learn about scrubbing toilets or collecting trash." Actually, I would want my children to learn about those jobs - it might be a motivator to do well in school. Also, it might offset some of the elitism I see amongst some of the professional people we know who judge others by their jobs and not by their characters.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 21, 2006 11:43 AM

Several years ago, I brought the Bring Your Daughter to Work Day issue up at the all hands meeting. My boss is pretty cool and has kids of his own, so he more or less chuckled and mentioned something about the noise that shooting aliens on the computer is actually preferrable than the disturbance that the pile driver was making on the construction site next to our building. I took that as his permission for anybody that had a school-aged child is entitled to 1 blow-off day a year.
So I dressed my 10 year old daughter up real nice and perty - with the hair piece, necklace, heels, the works. I handed her bus and train fair, popped the Duke Nukem game is a brown paper bag, and off we went to the bus stop. I taught her how to look up how much train fare shee needed for the trip and she purchased her own faircard. We took a seat next to each other on the train and I started out, "Let's talk. We never talk." So we had a good conversation that included some of the other passengers. When the train got a little crowded, I offered an elderly lady my seat. I thought it was important to teach her how a gentleman should act when riding public transportation.
When I arrived at the office, late of coarse (Coffee for me and a little treat for the girl at Starbucks) , I proceeded to go around the entire office, knocking on everybody's door to introduce my most adorable little trophy. "Isn't she soooooo cute!" I insisted that if anyone had a arrand to run or needed help with a small office task, that my daughter would be the go-to girl. So I taught her how to push the button on the copy machine.
When I got to my office I loaded up the duke Nukem game on my backup computer, which violates the security policy, but anyway, she had fun playing while I did my usual routine. I browsed the, caught up on my favorite sports teams, read my e-mail, sent a few jokes to my friends, called the wife, you know, the usual thing that all desk jockeys do to start their day. Then my workaholic, ex-marine task manager walked in and I hit the boss key, which for those of you who don't know, is the Windows Key + M simultaneously. This minimizes all applications and brings you back to the desktop. So I stood up, shook his hand, quickly introduced my daughter and immediately got right down to business. "What can I do to help?"
With a small discussion I got the details of my assignment, which was almost exactly like the same project that I had completed about a year ago. As he left, I invited him out to lunch with me and my beautiful, wonderful daughter. He declined, thank goodness. I got right down to work. Actually, it took more time to find the archived project on my computer than it did to change a few pieces of data and dates. 45 minutes. Boom! Done! I took a 2 hour lunch and walked around the city taking in its sceenery and just enjoying the time with my daughter.
When we got bak to the office, my daughter went around to everybody's workstation, engaged herself with small talk and collected all recyclable papers and dumped them in the planet box. She watered a few plants and went to the inhouse consession stand to get the secretary a coke.
When we got bak to my office I sat down in my ergonomic chair and took a nice afternoon nap. Good thing my daughter was there to keep a lookout for the task manager, or I would have got busted sleeping on the job. I rewarded her later with another special treat. Anyway, I assured my manager that the project was 95% complete and after a little polish, it would be on his desktop by the close of business. I typed up a little documentation, sent the project to my manager through e-mail as well as transferred it to a floppy. My daughter and I both went to his desk where I gave him the deliverable - about an hour early. He thanked me and I offered to fill out a leave slip to leave early because my daughter had been there all day and was getting a little tired. He just wave me off - "Get lost. See you tomorrow." "I'll be back"
In conclusion, I hoped to impress on my daughter a few hints if she wants to persue an office setting career:
1. Every now and then, a little hard work and effort is necessary.
2. It is very, very important to learn how to game the system. This can be accomplished best with minimal effort through good communication and positive human interaction.
3. If she wants a job like mine, it would be in her best interest to be successful at school and go to college.
On the other hand, I kinda blew it with the nap. I can no longer walk through the threshhold, plop my rounded caboose on the easy chair and demand a beer by starting out by bellowing "Since I busted my tail all day, provide a roof over head, clothes on back, food on table... blah, blah, blah..., get me a beer, and hurry it up!" It doesn't work like that with my daughter anymore. Now I have to ask nicely.

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 21, 2006 11:46 AM

I vote for parents participating on a career day at school. Having kids at the workplace is a waste of a day they should be in school, and by the way, school is the work of kids, and a waste of adults work time.

I'd rather see parents come and talk about what they do. You also need parents who do different things. I think the entire time I was a child I didn't know that women did anything besides teach school and be nurses.

I have boys so they don't come to work. But they don't need to because both my husband and I often work from home. They'll tell you that work is mostly talking on the phone and using the computer.

Posted by: RoseG | April 21, 2006 11:52 AM

Father of 4 -- You just made my day. A little humor goes a long way. Also, I guess you probably have upset a lot of people with important jobs who work every single minute of the day.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 21, 2006 11:52 AM

Nice post Fo4. You captured the essence of this day. However, you forgot to mention blogging on the Washington Post as one of you daily tasks.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 21, 2006 11:55 AM

My father used to take me with him when he went back to work in the evenings in his civil engineering office for some one-on-one time. It was real exciting watching him figure payroll using an old-fashioned hand-cranked mechanical calculator. Other than that, the main thing I learned was that I never wanted to be a civil engineer! So I guess our particular "Take Your Son To Work Nights" had some value after all.

Posted by: Scott | April 21, 2006 12:02 PM

Father of 4 -- you deserve the best post award. Your posts infuriate me sometimes but this one was great. With a job like yours a working mother could squeeze in a little pumping, a little grocery shopping, playdate planning...and your boss sounds great too for putting family first.

Posted by: bethesdamom | April 21, 2006 12:04 PM

Bethesda Mom [squeeze in a little pumping]

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 21, 2006 12:12 PM

As one member of a dual stay-at-home family, I wrote an article about this last year in the CSM that merited a chuckle:

My main take on this day is that it has become quite corrupted and PC-ized. The original point of taking *daughters* to work was to let them see positive career role-models, instead of assuming their job is to stay home and have babies. Boys don't have that problem (they have different problems, but a trip to Dad's or Mom's workplace doesn't address them).

Workplaces that mount show-and-tells seem to go against the point, too: it's to see what *work* looks like, not get entertained.

But, that's just cause I am a crank.

Posted by: Brad Rourke | April 21, 2006 12:19 PM

Well, I'm getting a bit lost reading all these obnoxious posts (Father of 4, thanks for nothing).

Once when I worked for state government my daughter, then 13, came to TYDTWD. My department had planned a wonderful day for the kids, especially having them conduct a mock Senate session at the real State House across the street. It was a good session for her. If it can't be something as high quality as that, leave the kids at home. Or bring them some evening, weekend, or school vacation day when you are only going to be in the office an hour or two. Kids 9 and up can handle that.

Posted by: Montgomery County, MD | April 21, 2006 12:44 PM

The kids can be a real pain in the workplace. I'd rather have a Take Your Pet to Work Day.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 21, 2006 1:07 PM

I use the day to arrange "shadowing" experiences for my teens. My work is very interesting however, like many not easy to observe, so I find someone who works in their areas of interest. I find most adults are more than happy to host a student. I also think it is important to learn about the nonglamorous aspects of all work. We've been able to arrange shadowing in several fields relating to the "wanna be a rock star" idea - which is useful to show all of the related careers such sound engineer in a recording studio, agent for professional athletes, video game developer, chef amongst others.

I would prefer it coincide with a "professional" day for teachers or be held during nonschool time, but we'll take advantage as long as the school system promotes this - which for HCPS is to count it as a field trip.

Posted by: AL | April 21, 2006 1:16 PM

I think the idea is great. I would have loved to go to my father's office for a day when I was young. He just disappeared in the mornings, came back in the evenings and we had no idea what he did.

The company should structure the day to make it valuable. One company I worked for had different sessions all day for the kids about different types of jobs. They spent an hour and a half with a person at their jobsite as part of the day. The adults were all volunteers so no one was forced into it. The workplace wasn't disrupted this way.

I was able to take in some kids who I did volunteer work with. They were all from disadvantaged (poor) homes with parents who did not work or who had very low paying, blue collar jobs. This gave them the opportunity to see the "professional" world. (I'm not putting down blue collar jobs but it's good for these kids to see other possibilities.) They really enjoyed the day and got a lot out of it.

Posted by: kephart | April 21, 2006 1:20 PM

I have never participated in this event. I always felt my son's time was better spent in school. That is HIS job!

Posted by: LaurelMom | April 21, 2006 1:22 PM

The reason they resist doing this in the summer is because kids wouldn't go to work with their parents. Most high school kids take the day off and sleep. Kids need to be in school- not wasting time at their parents place of employment. Just another liberal experiment that doesn't make any sense.

Posted by: E. Marshall | April 21, 2006 1:39 PM

This is funny. At my job we take our kids to work when it's teacher in-service day or such. On such days, I have seen our vet's daughter hold kitties for her mom to give them their rabies shots, our chief seceraty's boy deliver packages of toner to the IT guys office upstairs, etc. My daughter came along to
scientific conferences since age 3 (everybody is impressed by her nice and quiet ways and social skills and her confidence :) ), and when I had to give evening finals and midterms. On no-school days students sometimes bring kids to class
(I teach at one of the Big 12 land grant universities in the Heartland), and if needed be to finals and midterms (my daughter is better behaved :)!!). I usually try to keep them busy (chalk and blackboard are useful) so the mothers can make the best of their test.
Back home (I'm Southamerican) I saw my carpenter's preteen son working like an accomplished carpenter on no-school days, and our car mechanics lad was good a his father's job way before finising high school. I saw near home a train worker overseeing his kid turning a locomotive on one of those turn tables... as a kid, sometimes my dad took me to his job (first
in a real estate office, later in an insurance office). So did my mother (a school teacher), but then I satyed in the secretary's office.
Around here, sometimes kids also tag along when they are running a fever... that way a parents' eye is on them in case the sickness doesn't evolve accoding to expectations...
My daughter, and one of our office manager's twin daughters have been seen to sleep out a fever curled up in a corner on mom's thck jacket...
I find this very all right - it's good for kids to know about working life and pick up skills before their first day on their first job. It's good for society to raise a
resourceful next generation of workers.
In the old times people went after their works (that they did to provide for their food and roof, just like we do) with their kids along...

Posted by: Marianne | April 21, 2006 1:48 PM

This should be "Take SOMEBODY ELSE'S Kid to work day."

Kids can get to know their friends' parents and so on, and it's easier for parents to actually shop around for a workplace that might actually interest the child.

I've seen my parents workplaces-- around 30 minutes to a hour is enough for a child, really, to assimilate a lot of stuff about workplaces. Beyond it, it's simply being babysat at work.

Also, seconded on making it a day in Summer rather than during the school year.

Posted by: Fairfax | April 21, 2006 1:51 PM

When I was in the paid workforce not so long ago, I LOVED take-your-child-to-work day. I was single and had a high stress managerial position at a very well-known consumer products giant. For one day a year, our workplace was more fun than stress. It was so fun to see what everyone's children looked like; most of the children looked and dressed like mini replicas of their parents. Our company planned all kinds of hands-on activities and workshops so the kids could sample our work responsibilities in an age-appropriate manner. In the afternoon, the kids built their own sundaes in the cafeteria and took off early (2-3 pm) with bulging goody bags full of nice stuff. It was an energy-filled, great day.

While career day has its value, I think it's interesting for a child to see where Daddy or Mommy actually works everyday. When I was a child in the 80's, the company my father worked for had a family open house one Saturday. Before that Open House, I could only imagine what my father (white-collar) did all day since his field/work was so abstract. At the open house, I discovered that highspeed computers looked like washer/dryer sets, not anything like the whirring/buzzing masses of flashing lights always depicted in movies. I found out that buildings filled with multi-million dollar computers are kept very chilly. I learned a lot of interesting things. And eating in the cafeteria with my Dad was great fun.

I think that take-your-child-to-work day is a good idea. It sounds like some companies don't do a very good job of planning or implementing it, though.

Posted by: MBA Mom | April 21, 2006 2:21 PM

I was lucky because my dad had his own business and sometimes took me with him, so I saw what he did and got to do fun little things like staple inventory sheets to the outside of a railroad car. Then I got to buy a Coke from an old machine that had holes that you pulled glass bottles out of. My mother saved Dad's rolltop desk for me when the business closed.

I also got to see my mom at "work". She was a SAHM and did loads of volunteer work for our school, church, and community. I never needed a "Take Our Daughters to Work" day to see a capable woman in action. But I did see the need when this day was inaugurated. Now, however, most moms work so it's not that big a deal for girls to see women working, even as doctors, lawyers, and scientists. The day isn't necessary and many companies only do it because HR says they must.

Posted by: Anne | April 21, 2006 2:55 PM

It does disrupt work, and it can be boring for the kids. I've found it to be worthwhile, though. It provides younger children with a taste of what adults do all day at work, and allows them to connect with a part of a parent's life that they wouldn't ordinarily see. From the employer standpoint, it does mean a loss of productivity. It also allows for employees to develop a bit more of a personal connection with each other (and, given the importance of the next generation to society, I think it's well worth the investment).

As for the boredom, we have two kids. One thing that has worked well is for me to brink one into work with me in the morning, then the two of us would meet my wife and the other child for lunch. We would trade kids, and I would take the second one to work for the afternoon.

Posted by: Older Dad | April 21, 2006 2:58 PM

Ah, only now I read father of 4's todays' production. I had a blast! Today is teacher-in-service day here, and my now nearly 13 year old daugher dutifuly biked to the local organic store to buy some things missed during the last shopping trip. She called from her cell before leaving each place, and after arriving. This is the first time she shopped by herself! She is lso biking herself to soccer practice these days, and walking to violin lessons (every bike expedition subject to the calling before leaving and after arriving ritual).
Time ago I coorganized a panel for the Association for Women in Mathematics about "Supporting the diverse lives of mathematicians"... here's a link to the webpage that a coorganizer prepared for it
I wrote about kids at work, single parenthood, and loss, but there's lots more...

Posted by: Marianne | April 21, 2006 3:04 PM

Well, I am at the office with a bunch of kids and I haven't heard a peep. They must either be really interested in what is going on or they are asleep under their parents desks.

Posted by: Scarry | April 21, 2006 3:57 PM

I remember my dad taking me to the base where he worked for this and it was such an awesome experience. I'm glad they've opened it up to boys as well. I'm sorry that a lot of parents and their coworkers don't seem to favor the program. Now that I've got my college degree and a full time job of my own, I can understand better where they're coming from. However, I still remember what a great time it was to spend with my dad and learn more about what he did everyday. It used to be when someone asked me what my dad did for a job I would reply, "He's in the military," but that was it. I couldn't have told them what he actually DID if my life depended on it. It not only brought me closer to my dad, but also taught me more about how the world works and to appreciate a good work ethic. Granted it may not be held at the most convenient time of year and maybe that could be changed. I know it also lessens the amount of work people get to do that day, but maybe employers should think of it this way: that's the future workforce. Why not show them, even at a younger age, the best side of the company? You never know, perhaps they'll remember that and end up applying to work there when they're older.

Posted by: KR | April 21, 2006 4:04 PM

Our workplace has meaningless babysitting activites for 5-12 year olds.
The older kids are too embarassed to be seen with their parents.
I told my 2 daughters that this was a day for attending school, that they should get a good education, and find a career that made them happy.
They alredy see me working overtime, weekends, etc.

Posted by: Phila Dad | April 21, 2006 4:09 PM

I see a lot of comments that say bringing children to work is a distraction and causes your or other's production down. So, let me ask you... How productive were you while you were reading/ posting at this blog?

Posted by: a co-worker too | April 21, 2006 4:12 PM

My best friend's boss LOVES take-his-two-preteen-daughters-to-work-day. My best friend LOATHES it.


Guess who gets to entertain/babysit the girls all day while still trying to get her work done?

Boy, there's an inspiration for these two future career women: if anybody under 18 is in the building, someone wearing a skirt will be removed from her duties in order to look after them!

Posted by: wenholdra | April 21, 2006 4:15 PM

Around here it's rather that parents are
accomodating with other parents kids - we know it's tricky to juggle so solidarity kicks in. And we are especially careful to
not burden the secretaries with our kids -
parent solidarity is a different thing than office rank.
Yes, here we bring our kids when we must (no-school days), not because the school district arranged it that way (they don't need to, this takes care of itself :)).
Father of 4 likely must be a much better worker than he lets on - bosses are nice to workers that do a good job. If you are a pain you don't get tolerance (and you may not keep your job). We parents around here make huge efforts to be appreciated workers - investing in good karma :) for later needs...

Posted by: Marianne | April 21, 2006 5:45 PM

I work for a government agency and children are not allowed in except on take-your-child-to-work-day, so not everyone brings their kids in at some other time. It can be disruptive, but it is only once a year, whereas other places seem like they could have children around on any given day.

I would prefer a once-a-year Open House for families of employees. Sometimes I wish that my husband could see my cubicle,
how much work I have piled up, and exactly what it is I do. He is in a different line of work and would understand my work conversations a little better if he could actually see my physical workspace.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 21, 2006 10:18 PM

I work at home now, so my kids know what I do (read the computer and talk on the phone)

But it's funny how they get a distorted vision.

If I have to go to the client's office for a meeting, they always ask if they are going to be giving out candy... the last time they were at my office it was halloween.

And when I fly for my monthly trips to the main office in CA, they always ask about my 'cation and if I swam in the pool at the hotel, how many times I went to the beach, etc. After all, that's what we do when they fly to CA.

When I say that I worked the entire trip and I'm super tired, they always wonder why I have to go "the california' to sit in front of the 'puter and talk on the phone.


Posted by: jello5929 | April 22, 2006 1:32 AM

Our school district strong discourages participation in this event. They want the kids at school and the date pretty much always coincides with testing. In our state the schools lose money when kids don't attend.

My son once went into work with my husband and spent the entire day playing computer games. There was definitely nothing to keep a kid interested for an entire day where I worked.

I can understand the motivation behind the beginnings of this "day" but the reality is that it is a waste of everyone's time and money. The kids are better off in school.

Posted by: pta mom | April 22, 2006 6:39 PM

I wonder if anyone who said that the kids belong in school has ever taken the kids out to travel for holidays or vacation. I do take my daughters to work on this one day, but plan all vacations during school vacations.

Posted by: bj | April 22, 2006 10:19 PM

I said "the kids are better off in school". That was as opposed to going to work with a parent.

I've for the most part stopped taking kids out for travel. It hurts the schools and is hard on the kids to make up the time, especially as they get older. Our district now schedules four holiday breaks to accomodate the traveling families. We now call the President's holiday, "Ski Week". Because they lose revenue when kids miss school, they gained a full million in revenue when they implemented "ski week".

Posted by: pta mom | April 23, 2006 10:44 AM

last year on take your kids to work day, the child of someone in another department poured (not spilled) a can of coke in my keyboard, another child emptied the recycle bin on the floor and another randomly picked up phones that rang and yelled into them. One child put his hands on every computer screen so he could "see his fingerprints." It was quite delightful to see how much they enjoyed being in an office and I am sure they all learned a lot.

Posted by: Rita | April 25, 2006 12:06 PM

I think that this has become unnecessary. I am a working mom and my 2 daughters have come with me to work very often - because of necessity, not because of Take Your Daughter to Work day. I bring them to work when the babysitter is off, when they have a cold and can't go to school but I must go to work, on snow days when school is off and on all those teacher workdays. My kids have certainly been exposed to the work environment and know what I do. I think the "Take your Kid to Work Day" is obsolete. Also, I don't believe that kids should be taken out of school to spend a day in an office. If we must continue this tradition, let's do it during the summer instead.

Posted by: Clarisse | April 25, 2006 12:21 PM

Keep your brats AT HOME.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2006 8:09 AM

Just got the "agenda" for my job's take our kids to work day:
9:15-9:45 Senior Exec welcome
9:45-11:15 Computer session or tour of building (groups will split up)
11:15-12:00 Health and fitness activity
12-1 Lunch with parent
1-2 Job shadowing with parents
2-3 Poster drawing/hip hop session
3-3:30 closing remarks

Hmmm, I think I'll take my kids to school.

Posted by: saffronia | April 27, 2006 8:29 AM

I am father of 4's daugter. I am at his work right now and having loads of fun. I just cant wait to go to breakfeast!{and lunch}.The bus ride and train ride was a mess but we maneged to get through.Im so glad that i missed school today because sol review (standerds of learning.a BIG test)is so boring. This is more fun staying at his work then going to school. Although i might get in trouble becuase i am a patrol and i have had many sick days alredy *cough, cough* my dad is right next to me hearing what i am saying aloud and laughing although i wouldnt call him a slacker because with all of his laughs he probally burned a few callories.well got to go to to you later! Bye!

Posted by: 11 year old daughter | April 27, 2006 8:33 AM

I vetoed my 9 year old son's attempt to join me at work this week, once I asked him what he imagined he'd be doing..."Playing my Gameboy," he said.

Children raised by responsible people who prioritize (most of the time) and take the time to communicate clearly with the people in their lives (as best they can) usually turn into good folks. They don't need a dumb "day" to learn what their parents do.

Father of 4, keep it up. Your refusal to take yourself (and us) seriously is a wonderful thing.

Posted by: Tracey | April 28, 2006 11:29 AM

Hi! Very interesting! pussrwqtw

Posted by: John S | September 1, 2006 12:28 AM

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