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Do We Still Need Take Your Child to Work Day?


photo credit: wageslaves

Full disclosure - I'm a mother of two kids. They're 18 and 20, and both veterans of Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day programs. In fact, my daughter and I co-hosted the first Take Your Daughters to Work day program at Lotus Development in 1993 when she was 5 years old. The original goal, as established by the Ms. Foundation for Women, was to expose young girls to career opportunities beyond traditional women's roles.

The current program has the following mission:

"Exposing girls and boys to what a parent or mentor in their lives do during the work day is important, but showing them the value of their education, helping them discover the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life, providing them an opportunity to share how they envision the future and begin steps toward their end goals in a hands-on and interactive environment is key to their achieving success.

Kids like to visit their parents' workplace, no doubt about it. Whether these visits inspire them to future career decisions is questionable, but allowing parents a day to share their workplace with their kids is one means of engaging the employer loyalty of working parents. While no substitute for fair pay, flexible work options, good health benefits, and other perks that help parents balance their fiscal and family obligations, these programs do acknowledge the balancing act that working parents have to manage.

On the flip side, Newsday columnist Helaine Olen wrote today about the need for a day for parents to stay home with their kids and do absolutely nothing. Her take is that we're a nation of workaholics who are taking BlackBerries to ball games and thereby teaching our kids that the cost of flexibility is that the work switch is always set to on. I wonder, how many of the adults who brought their kids to work today for art projects, age appropriate speakers and pizza and ice cream lunches will pay for it with extra night or weekend catch up time in the next few days?

It's not only the parents of participating children who are impacted by these programs. Take the survey on the right and let us know how this plays out in your workplace.

Share your insights!

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