Should you bring your kids to work?
April 25 is Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. More than 37 million kids and parents participate each year, but is it a good idea?
More than 37 million kids and adults participate in Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day at more than 3.5 million workplaces each year. Does it mean you should?
According to Babiesatwork.org, a website run by the Parenting in the Workplace Institute, babies-at-work programs succeed because they are set up “just like any other workplace policy, with clear rules and expectations to guide people’s behavior and to prevent potential problems.”
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It’s pretty cool to give kids a behind-the-scenes of where mommy and daddy are from 9 to 5, but even if you have the most well-behaved kid on the planet, it can still be a major distraction to your co-workers.
Others say that Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is an opportunity to acclimatize the kiddies to this kind of activity. Walter E. Block, Ph.D., a writer for Psychology Today, disagrees.
“For one thing, it is way too premature, especially for the very young,” Block writes. “For another, there is always the danger that the lesson learned will be that the kids should follow in their parent's footsteps, not with regard to work in general, but rather that specific type of employment.”
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And not all schools are thrilled with students losing a day, which can interfere with standardized testing.
In 2010, a Phoenix superintendent sent out a letter telling students that missing time from school, even one day, means "his or her learning achievement suffers."
Julie Drizin, the director of the University of Maryland’s Journalism Center on Children and Families, says that Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day is “largely a feel-good exercise for the privileged.”
As she writes on the center’s website:
Sure, this annual kids-to-work pilgrimage gives children a window into — and hopefully, an appreciation for — what their folks do all day to sustain the family. But parents who work in factories aren’t bringing their kids to the assembly line. Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, isn’t participating. Women who clean homes during the day or offices at night aren’t invited to bring their kids along with them, although some children of immigrants have recounted how they curled up and slept on leather law-firm sofas while their mothers dusted, vacuumed and emptied trash cans in fancy office buildings after dark.
Instead, Drizin offers a “trading places” approach in which more privileged children could benefit from a day of hands-on experience in service industries. She suggests it would offer a reality check about the nature of work and reward and struggle.
Tell us: Did you take your children to work today? If so, what do you hope they learn from the experience?
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