Columns > Published on April 26th, 2018

Even Writers Can Participate In Take Your Kid to Work Day

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is celebrating its 24th anniversary on April 26, 2018, and you know you want to participate!

This interesting annual event was the brainchild of members of the Ms. Foundation for Women, including its founder, feminist extraordinaire Gloria Steinem. The year was 1993 and Congress had just created the Glass Ceiling Commission that was explicitly looking at why women were not leading companies and what could be done to change it. Seems like we're still talking about that. Anyway, the inaugural event was called "Take Our Daughters to Work Day," and it was targeted at girls to help them envision themselves in various workplaces and positions of power. Women have reported having transformational experiences ever since. The event officially included boys in 2003, but many companies and organizations had been including them already. Now, there's a foundation that just organizes this event around the world on the fourth Thursday in April every year.

The harder sell is mom or dad in their pajamas sitting in front of their laptop all day. Let's work on that.

So now you want to know what other people are doing. Not surprisingly, big tech is leading with the fun factor. Amazon definitely pulls out the stops for this one, organizing a company day, replete with robots. Texas Instruments, which apparently does more than make graphing calculators, also turns it into a fun, educational day for kids and parents. Any industry that makes toys — for kids or adults — is probably doing something awesome, because they make toys. The harder sell is mom or dad in their pajamas sitting in front of their laptop all day. Let's work on that.

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is intended for kids age 8-18. That's old enough to grasp concepts, endure something like a full work day, and maybe even participate. The intention is not for them to shadow you, but to get a sense of what your work is, and what it feels like to do it. The only way that can happen is if you create some exercises for them that feel like your work. Make it age appropriate and make it fun. Move away from the computer into the physical domain as much as possible. Use props to brainstorm ideas or solve a problem. If you work alone, maybe start at home and then move to a second space you like to frequent and do a different activity there. It's ideal to involve other adults you work with so your kid sees multiple perspectives. Do you ever work in teams? Try creating an age-appropriate activity that engages the expertise of others. If you do research, take them to a library and practice the steps needed to answer a research question or find a piece of information. You're a creative person. Once you start thinking of ways to make ethereal work tangible, the ideas will flow.

Remember snacks. So many snacks. And a special lunch.

And last but not least: create an elevator speech about your job your kid can easily repeat. You do more than just stare at a computer; you do something you love. Your kid should be able to summarize that for others and take pride in the work you do. Because we all want to be proud of our parents, right?

Have fun and share your stores in the comments!

About the author

Stephanie Bonjack is an academic librarian based in Boulder, Colorado. She teaches the relentless pursuit of information, and illuminates the path to discovery. She has presented at national and international library conferences, and is especially interested in how libraries evolve to serve the needs of 21st century patrons. When she’s not sleuthing in the stacks, she enjoys chasing her toddler across wide open spaces.

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