SURVEY SAYS: How Was Take Your Kids to Work Day?

May 1, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - This week we asked readers about their experience(s) with "Take Your Kids to Work Day."

Granted the program has been around for awhile now – plenty of time for the bloom to be off the rose.   Still, I was surprised that for nearly half (48%) of this week’s respondents the day was a “non-event.”   As one noted, “and that is ok with me.”  Or, there was the other reader who said, “It was called off as the parents weren’t willing to spend time with their kids.   They thought it was free child care.”

Roughly a quarter (24%) said it was “worthwhile,” including the reader who noted, “I discovered that my 11 year old son was more responsible & competent than an employee that I just laid off and the labor rate was also better (free).   My son really enjoyed the day as well as my staff.   Everyone on our staff also enjoyed him being here, which made me feel real proud.   It gave him a perspective of what happens in a business environment.”

Planning, Coordination

Planning and coordination were obviously key to the success.   One reader said, “We stopped it several years ago. It had gotten completely out of hand. The kids ended up having breakfast together, then lunch was provided, then a cake in late afternoon. Did they get to see what mommy or daddy did for a living? No, they saw an all day party.”

The whys behind that are obvious to most of us – as one reader noted, “I’m not sure my daughters would have found reading emails and reviewing actuarial work very interesting….” Or there was the reader who said that when their kids were “about 9 and 11, I had them making copies, collating, putting all the election forms that start with “A” in one pile, etc. My younger son said this is so boring. I told him to make sure he went to college because we paid people to do this stuff.”

Still, nearly 1 in 5 said it was “fun,” such as the reader who said, “At this office, Take Your Kids to Work Day was (a) a worthwhile event (for kids over 5) (c) lots of fun – well, some fun.   There were some moments . . .. (d) Lots of work – but in a good way.” 

Hard Work

But sometimes planning the event alone isn’t enough – and the execution can be a lot of work (about 10% of our survey respondents), as noted by this reader: ” Five years ago, before I had children I set up a program for the day (bingo, plant tours/demonstrations, lunch with the parents, and interactive games with our office personnel).   I thought this would keep the kids off our production floor and out of our main office.   It was an absolute nightmare. I didn’t exclude any children so we had super hyper four-year-olds and bored/moody thirteen-year-olds.   We are a manufacturing company and the “daughters” were less than thrilled.   The sons thought everything was cool. In the end everyone had fun and wanted to come back again next year. However, I still have not recovered and I now have two children of my own.”

One great example of planning came from this reader: ” This year I started the kid’s day with a briefing of the day’s events.   One topic we covered to a great extent was,How can we help all the people at work today who did not bring a child to work with them get their jobs done?’   I think it really helped.   The day was most productive for grade school kids who had assignments to complete.   Those in grade school who did not have assignments were actually given tasks by various departments.   Some helped assemble catalogs, some helped with mailings, some were given computer tasks.   I also put together a booklet of ideas to keep the kids busy, such as ‘write or draw a picture about what the person you came to work with today does for a living.’   The lesson for me this year was that an age limit will be implemented next year.”

Unplanned Events

For some the day wasn’t well planned – one noted, ” In my community, Take Your Kids to Work Day coincided with Kindergarten Registration day . . . so I participated in “Take Your Parents to School Day”!   On a more serious note, another said, “I would have to respond (g) No idea, due to the fact that, once again, Ms Foundation scheduled this event on Passover, on a day when going to work is prohibited.”

There was at least one unplanned consequence: “Bringing my 14-year old daughter to work with me resulted in an unexpected situation.   My boss also brought her 14-year old (boy).   It seems that there is now a budding ‘relationship’ starting.   I’m not sure if being an “in law” with my boss is such a great idea?”

But this week’s Editor’s Choice came from a reader who said, “If it weren’t for NewsDash, I wouldn’t even have known about it.   We’ve got 28 employees, many with school-age children, and no one mentioned it.   Half of our employees are in a manufacturing shop, and we couldn’t take that safety risk.  We’ve got enough grown men who insist on learning about hazards the hard way.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey.  

Several years ago, my eldest daughter (who at the time was the minimum age for the event, 9, I think) came to work with me.   Like your son, her view of my day was all about being on the phone and being late for meetings.   Fortunately, at the time I had a secretary who took my daughter under her wing - and she got to make copies, collate documents, sit in a cubicle, and hand out memos.   They both had a great time - and my daughter came home swearing she wanted to be a secretary when she grew up!


b) A non-event.   If it weren't for NewsDash, I wouldn't even have known about it.   We've got 28 employees, many with school-age children, and no one mentioned it.   In fact, no one has suggested bringing their child to work in the six years I've been around. I'm glad no one asks, because I'd have to tell them no.   Half of our employees are in a manufacturing shop, and we couldn't take that safety risk.   We've got enough grown men who insist on learning about hazards the hard way.


At this office, Take Your Kids to Work Day was (a) a worthwhile event (for kids over 5) (c) lots of fun - well, some fun.   There were some moments . . .. (d) Lots of work - but in a good way

This office has always welcomed sons and daughters without an age restriction.   I heard tales of previous observances before I started here of kids running around without supervision and generally being disruptive.   There was even a story about someone's kid riding a Big Wheel in the cafeteria!   So, to combat this, last year I created an accountability form for all parents who wish to bring their kids in, including the acknowledgement that the day is not simply an alternative to day care.   That cut down on the number of kids that were here.   This year I started the kid's day with a briefing of the day's events.   One topic we covered to a great extent was, "How can we help all the people at work today who did not bring a child to work with them get their jobs done?"   I think it really helped.   The day was most productive for grade school kids who had assignments to complete.   Those in grade school who did not have assignments were actually given tasks by various departments.   Some helped assemble catalogs, some helped with mailings, some were given computer tasks.   I also put together a booklet of ideas to keep the kids busy, such as "write or draw a picture about what the person you came to work with today does for a living."   The lesson for me this year was that an age limit will be implemented next year.


It really was a non-event.   I thought about taking my kid to work, but it happened to be the day he got his annual review - and received an 8% pay raise.   Perhaps he got a great review because when he was growing up I always took him to work with me when I went in on weekends and paid him to help me out.   One of my bosses even paid him out of his own pocket because he was so impressed with the good job he did (he was only about nine or ten around that time).   He learned the value of hard work and its rewards at a very early age and it has served him well.  


What about people who have pets instead of kids?  

How about take your pet to work day - wouldn't that be a riot - picture an entire office filled with cats, dogs, birds, pot bellied pigs and iguanas!!!

What a fun day that would be.  

A girl in our office brings her dog to work on occasion - what a fun day it is for everyone - I have a teddy bear in my office and if I throw it - the dog retrieves it - he runs happily around to say hello to each person in their office.  

Maybe we could have a take your pet to work week - each day one person brings in his or her pet to the office.   The goldfish and boa constrictors might be a problem however.


I would have to say (c) a good time was had by all.  


In light of the poor financial condition that most states (at least CA) find themselves in today and the negative repercussions this has on the schools, I feel the so-called "take your kids to work" days should be put off until Summer in future years. In California, the school districts receive a monetary allotment each day for each child attending school.   Not that these days aren't educational for the children (and most likely entertaining as well), but the greater good is served by the school districts receiving their much needed state funds.


Bringing my 14-year old daughter to work with me resulted in an unexpected situation.   My boss also brought her 14-year old (boy).   It seems that there is now a budding "relationship" starting.   I'm not sure if being an "in law" with my boss is such a great idea?

All in all though, the process was a success.   Although my daughter certainly still does not have a real clue as to what I do for a living, she can at least appreciate the effort it takes to make the commute.up at 5:00 a.m., train at 6:30 a.m., one hour to downtown, through station to subway, walk 2 blocks to building, at desk at about 7:45 a.m.   And then reverse the process in the evening to arrive at home 12 hours later.


(d) Lots of work, but worth the trouble.


It was   (a) a worthwhile event.   In fact, I discovered that my 11 year old son was more responsible & competent than an employee that I just laid off and the labor rate was also better (free).   My son really enjoyed the day as well as my staff.   Everyone on our staff also enjoyed him being here, which made me feel real proud.   It gave him a perspective of what happens in a business environment.   My other son could not come to work & actually was feeling left out, so if next year the school allows it, I would like to have both my sons attend.


I guess I could go with any of these answers.   To the best of my knowledge, there were only two members that brought their child to work with them.   I was one of them, bringing my youngest daughter (age 10).   We only stayed for the morning and I took the afternoon off.   I am sure she was bored most of the time, but she did at least get some filing done for me.   The morning wasn't as productive as it would have been, but it was one of those opportunities that I hope she and I can remember many years from now.


My answer top your "Take Your Child To Work Day" Survey Question is: "A" A worthwhile event.  

My children are grown and working on their own...but one of my colleagues brought his 2 young boys into the office for the morning.

I didn't know about this, but was able to find a great project for them to do: Stuffing Company Brochures!!

These 2 kids were MACHINES!!!!   In the few hours they were here, they stuffed over 200 brochures!!   I am thrilled, as that is one of the more tedious jobs around here!!

Thanks for asking!!


In our organization, governmental DCP, kids day was (b) a non-event.   However, it became so because of our management policy on this event and how it was structured.   We specified children needed to be between the ages of 12-18 to participate.   Some employees were upset with this position, but the ideals of TYKWD are to help youth understand what occurs in the work environment (or at least what should occur).   The few kids who did show up were invited to meetings, put to work on mail sorting/shredding, and were give a tour of the facilities and told of the tasks involved in the business.   This is what TYKWD should do, to prepare youth for the workplace (NOT provide a "romper-room" for children or one big party day for the kids and their parents).


In my community, Take Your Kids to Work Day coincided with Kindergarten Registration day . . . so I participated in "Take Your Parents to School Day"!


Take your kids to work day was (b) a non-event.   Only two employees requested permission to bring one child each.

Five years ago, before I had children I set up a program for the day (bingo, plant tours/demonstrations, lunch with the parents, and interactive games with our office personnel).   I thought this would keep the kids off our production floor and out of our main office.   It was an absolute nightmare. I didn't exclude any children so we had super hyper four-year-olds and bored/moody thirteen-year-olds.   We are a manufacturing company and the "daughters" were less than thrilled.   The sons thought everything was cool. In the end everyone had fun and wanted to come back again next year. However, I still have not recovered and I now have two children of my own.


B - a non event.   My company stopped participating in this event a number of years ago because it cut into productivity.   If you want to bring your child to work, you do it by bringing them while you aren't working-- find the sense in that.

On the other hand, I'm not sure my daughters would have found reading emails and reviewing actuarial work very interesting....

Locally, I've not heard of companies participating.   There was also push-back from the school system, for pulling kids out during the school year.   Someone suggested that it might have been a good idea to schedule this 'day' when it wouldn't mean a day out of school--but that might make it much less interesting to the kids too, hmmm?


Take Your Kids to Work Day? Was   (a) a worthwhile event, (c) lots of fun, for the children (


a and d (not the ointment)

We renamed it Make Your Daughter Work Day. We had my three girls and three other coworkers' daughters. While we've always tried to find some type of "work" for them to do, this year we really enslaved them. The files needed spreading out so they worked almost the whole day moving files and making sure everything was in alphabetical order. It was exhausting for them and me (I supervised in between attending meetings and trying to get some of my work done).

I think they had a good time, but I know next year I'll hear -- "We're going, but no filing!"


Regarding your survey, I would have to respond (g) No idea, due to the fact that, once again, Ms Foundation scheduled this event on Passover, on a day when going to work is prohibited.


b.   And that is ok with me.


I have to say (b) a non-event, but only because any day at our company can be a "take your kid to work day".   Our company promotes a work-life balance and we have on-site daycare, summer camps for older kids and   a work-life department.   It's not unusual to see the daycare teachers taking the toddlers out for a walk.   And if you go to the company cafe on a teacher-workday, there are plenty of kids.   All three of my daughters are frequent visitors to my office and the older two have a good grasp of what I do at work.  


A non-event. It was called off as the parents weren't willing to spend time with their kids.   They thought it was free child care.


(c) Lots of fun and games...until people mistake me for someone's son.   Although it did not happen as much this year.


(A) a worthwhile event.......WHAT BETTER LIFE PREPARATION?   THIS IS WHERE THEY WILL ALL END UP SOMEDAY.   LET'S NOT KEEP IT A SECRET.

(I BROUGHT MY DAUGHTER TO WORK, NOW AND AGAIN, HER WHOLE CHILDHOOD.   I REALLY APPRECIATED HAVING EMPLOYERS THAT GAVE ME THE SPACE TO DO IT.   IN RETURN MY EMPLOYER GOT SOME FREE CLERKING.   BY AGE 7 SHE COULD COPY AND COLLATE.   BY AGE 9 SHE WAS FAXING.   HER FIRST JOB WAS HERE.   BY 20 SHE HAD ENOUGH BASIC SKILLS TO SUPPORT HERSELF.   THE ABSOLUTLY BEST RESULT, WAS THAT WHEN I SAID I HAD A "HORRENDOUS DAY" SHE KNEW EXACTLY WHAT THAT MEANT.)


Best classified as a non-event at our company. In fact, our HR Department wasn't even aware that it was "take-your-child-to-work day".   A couple of employees took it upon themselves to recognize the event by bringing their children anyway.......over the course of a couple of days.    I guess the concept is still good, but it now comes under the category of "more trouble than it's worth" for a company that has shrunk to the size of ours.


Choice B, our company did not recognize the event.   We have in the past.   But, in current financial environment this event and others are quickly pushed aside as drags on productivity.


Personally I think it is a neat idea.   I wish it was around when my children were young.   Interestingly, I did not see a single child in our building (large executive center)that day, and we have several hundred employees covering approximately 60 different businesses.


I skipped last week's activities at our office since I am still an advocate for TYDAUGHTERSTWD.   However, I do have a niggling voice in my head that says that we're all missing something -- most of the kids (daughters and sons, etc.) that get taken to work are those who have their school work looked at, their parents or guardians at sports, musical events, scouting, etc. It's the kids who DON'T have adult involvement in these activities who most need TYKTWD.   What we really should be doing is reaching out to schools where kids don't have a chance for these things and those are the kids who should be taken to work -- to show them that there is a world out there they might strive towards.   Or, is that patronizing and naive?


I'm a little curious as to what is a "TPA" as well as "PHI", and why is PHI so bad to children?


Thanks for sharing that.   I had my kids in on a weekend when they were about 9 and 11 and had them making copies, collating, putting all the election forms that start with "A" in one pile etc. My younger son said this is so boring. I   told him to make sure he went to college because we paid people to do this stuff. So he spent the rest of the day   drawing pictures on poster paper (mostly about the deplorable condition of my desk) and hanging them in various people's offices.


On the "kids to work day", somebody got all the kids into the CEO's office and had pictures taken so they liked that.

We stopped it several years ago. It had gotten completely out of hand. The kids ended up having breakfast together, then lunch was provided, then a cake in late afternoon. Did they get to see what mommy or daddy did for a living? No, they saw an all day party.


The acronym is HIPAA - Health Information Portability and Accountability Act. - The implementation of HIPAA had nothing to do with our facility not taking part in Take Your Kids to Work day.   I work at a long term health care facility and we agreed not to participate in the "Take Your Kids to Work" event as many of the schools in the area have sent home letters to parents requesting that our kids not miss that day of school.   During this time of year most of the schools in the area are conducting standards test (state and national) and the school administration feels this day missed is disruptive to the children and their testing momentum.   Many of us in agreed with the schools and decided to cancel the annual event.

It did not come up here as no one asked to bring in their child.   However, my husband's employer set the time for children to be allowed in for 7:45 to 11:00 am. Unfortunately, work starts at 7 and lunch is not until 11:30, so the employee's can't bring their children in unless someone else picks up and drops off.


We had a very formal (and fairly well planned program - the TYCTW website was VERY helpful).  The children were kept in a conference room most of the day -even lunch - and it went well (about 25 participants).  We had no concern regarding the HIPAA issue - we keep all employee info (including medical) very controlled.


We actually have a formal program for the kids in a large conference room.   The parents go to work and the kids do projects that help them learn about what our organization does.   The kids are taken on a tour of the offices and then there is a pizza lunch for kids & parents.   The program is over a 1 and the parents can take the afternoon off (using leave), they can have someone pick the child up or, if the supervisor is OK with it, the child can go to the employees workspace.   While we don't have PHI, we do have a lot of confidential info around since we are a provider of retirement plans, but that has never been a problem.

Today we had about 40 kids between the ages of 8 and 12 participate.


I have always thought this "event" was stupid.   I was HR Director for a manufacturing firm when this day started to get popular.   But, we could never have a bunch of kids running around a mfg. plant so were able to avoid the whole thing.   We did have an annual family open house - employees liked that a lot because they could bring spouses, parents, plus the kids to see the workplace.   Of course, the plant was not in operation and we arranged tours and displays.   I never minded putting that event on - even though it was usually on a Sunday afternoon.   I do think it's important for kids to know where Mom and Dad are and what they do all day.   But, the Take Your Kids to Work Day really doesn't serve that purpose in my opinion.


We are a manufacturer and have found that due to OSHA constraints it is not possible to have children with their parents for a full day.   We work with the local school district and allow tours and on "Job Shadow Day" can allow children to shadow some areas.

We also sponsor a "Community Day" every other year.   It is put together by employees with very little management help/interference.   Committees are put together and budgets approved for food (hot dogs, cotton candy, popcorn), give-a-ways, face painting, etc.   We invite anyone and everyone including churches that have bake sales, crafters with their items for sale, etc.   Employees and their children work together during the day and are given t-shirts or sweatshirts with the company logo.   It is a lot of fun and gives the children a chance to work with their parents.


I volunteer for Junior Achievement, teaching economics, and touch many children on subjects of business. I find this much more helpful than bringing just one child to your office for one day. Join JA and you can make a difference for many children.


Because of issues contained within our business, we have taken the approach of a Seminar atmosphere and have limited to children 8 years and older.   There is a breakfast followed by a 2 different seminars on careers and working within the workforce with a break in between, a luncheon in our outdoor garden, and then a final seminar, ice cream at 3p.m. and off to home.

We encourage our employee to attend if they wish or they can leave the child to interact in the session and join them at the breaks and lunch and ice cream.   This is the first year we have done it in this way, but it truly makes it feel more educational rather than sometimes having children just pop around every corner.


We are a manufacturing firm and we really don't encourage this because of the potential liability due to the children's exposure to high speed machinery, overhead cranes, tow motors, etc.


I work from a home office for a large plan provider.   My kids see me "at work" when they get up every morning, when they return from school and on weekends.   They are fortunate to have witnessed the reality of juggling priorities, the after-hours job dedication, seeing me in a different mode during conference calls, helping proofread, etc.   It is helping to create more positive independence within them since, even though I'm here, I'm not always available.   It is also setting the stage for good work habits when they are adults.   I am thankful that I have this opportunity.


Very interesting, indeed...while this firm is swarming with attorneys, we are still holding this event!


We have canceled it for those who work in the "secured" environment. This wasn't a major problem as most of the people who work in that area don't have kids in the correct age range anyway and the kids haven't been all that impressed with what goes on. (my son said years ago. , all Mom does is talk on the phone, go to boring meetings, and act as a food tester "(due to the amount of food we have)


We don't participate in Take your Daughter (Kid) to work day.   We are a very large Venture Capital firm.   Most of the employees here handle highly confidential information regarding our investments so we decided a long time ago not to participate.  


Bah, humbug.

TYKTWD is a totally ridiculous, feel-good, bit of nonsense.   I imagine it was dreamed up in the first place by some ultra-liberal do-gooder who couldn't get a babysitter one day. Sorry, folks, IMNSHO, that's what it's all about.

Take your kids to a ball game, or go fishing or to church with them. Influence them in good manners, honesty, faithfulness and honor by the way you live your life.   Spend time with them...AT HOME...and go to work and be productive.

I can't imagine having my daughter in my office for a day.   Not only would it disrupt the office and its flow, but given the kinds of things I deal with on a minute to minute basis, it would be incredibly boring for her.

God bless mom's and dad's.   But let's leave the home at home...not in the office environment.   I congratulate you for NOT participating in this nonsensical and unproductive event.


Thanks, that helps!  We put all of the kids in one room and we move speakers in and out of that room.  They do get a tour but it is over lunch.  This way they are not exposed to sensitive client info but are able to be here at work.  So far so good. It is only 10:47 though.


Yes considering the nature of the business we are in, of course it did.   I did decide that my daughter would come to work today, but with the condition that if anyone needed to discuss PHI, my daughter was to leave our offices for a short period of time.   What pre-teen doesn't want to go to the ladies room and check her hair anyways?


I'd love to take my son to work with me (during the day - he's already here nights and weekends), but I have to fill out more paperwork to extricate him from his school for the day than we ever have to complete to distribute plan accounts.


From someone who has chosen not to have children, I found Take Your Children to Work Day refreshing for the first hour and then quite annoying for the rest of it.   What happened to attention spans?


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