How to Observe Take Our Children to Work Day When You Work from Home
Working from home comes with its rewards and its challenges. Having more flexibility and control over your life and schedule is a pretty nice perk, but many work-from-home folks find that they miss the camaraderie and socialization of office life – at least, from time to time.
(Photo Credit: BenjaminThompson/Flickr)
Working in an office is woven into the fabric of America culture, and that fact seems to rear its head whether you’re participating in the scene or not. For example, Take Our Children to Work Day is April 24th, and it’s causing some work-from-home parents to wonder how they might go about observing the occasion.
First of all, a little history…
Take Our Daughters to Work Day was started by Gloria Steinem and the Ms. Foundation in 1992. The aim was to empower young girls to see themselves as future professionals, and leaders, to raise self-esteem and motivation, and to expose girls to a variety of fields and experiences that could inspire and excite them about their professional futures.
Just 10 years later, sons were factored in to the mission of the day, and the organization. The idea was that all young people could benefit from the experience. Now, Take Our Children to Work Day is recognized as a successful, unique, educational opportunity for young people. It’s also a great bonding opportunity for kids and parents. And, it’s just super cute.
So, it’s no wonder that many parents who work from home want to find a way for their families to participate in this event. But, what does Take Your Child to Work Day look like when you work from home? Here are some things to keep in mind.
1. Just because you work from home, that doesn’t mean your kids know what you do.
Like most kids, children whose parents work from home likely have little to no idea what their parents actually do, much less how they do it. So, just because your children don’t have to travel far (down a hallway, perhaps) to get to your office, that doesn’t mean this day isn’t for them. They have as much to gain from this as any other kid.
2. Keep in mind, they might work from home someday too!
The opportunity to work from home is becoming an increasingly feasible reality as time marches on. It’s anticipated that by 2020, freelancers will make up nearly 20 percent of the workforce. So, by the time your little ones are ready to take on the world, there will be many options for them to choose from. It’s quite possible that your home office looks an awful lot like your children’s future place of employment. So, show ’em around!
While your kids might not know much about what you actually do for a living, the chances are that if you work from home, they are well aware of your struggle for work-life balance. They see you stressed, they personally experience your long hours, and they watch you try to make it all work on a daily basis.
Perhaps it’s not most important that we achieve work-life balance, but that our kids see us strive for it. Modeling how to process difficulties probably teaches more meaningful and useful skills anyway, as these are the skills your kids will need to practice themselves in their futures.
Just remember, not just on Take You Children to Work Day, but every day, that your kids are paying extra close attention to you when you’re stressed. They watch how you react to pressure, and they learn from that. This is a little extra important for work-from-home parents, as their children are more exposed to their daily work life.
4. Consider planning a fun lunch.
On Take Our Children to Work Day, you’ll do what all parents do. You’ll take your kids to work! You’ll show them what you do, maybe pop in a movie if they get bored after awhile, you’ll answer their questions…. But, since there won’t be the usual “excitement” of an office for them to enjoy, consider breaking the day up with a fun grown-up lunch. Take your kids somewhere fun halfway through the day, a place you’d take a client, it will help break up the day for them a bit.
5. Don’t let your work-from-home status discourage you from participating in this day.
Your children can learn a lot from spending the day with you at work. Don’t let the fact that your working situation is a little different from most discourage you from participating. It’s likely that your kids are more fascinated by your work than you realize, and you’ll enjoy getting to share another side of yourself with them. The day will be fun, educational, and inspirational. Just embrace it with the same bravery and out-of-the-box attitude you employ every day, and you’ll do just great!
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Gina Belli works as a teacher, freelance writer, and educational consultant, and lives in her beloved home state, Connecticut. She likes to write about education, work-life balance, and the economy. Given her arresting capacity to over-analyze anything interpersonal, her writing often tends to focus on some of the more emotional aspects of workplace connections and disconnections, as they relate to partnerships and teams, personality and communication styles, and leadership. In her free time, she likes to putter around her renovated one-room schoolhouse home, take walks in the woods, and eat as much guacamole as she can get her hands on.