The annual Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day saw kids ratting out colleagues to their CEOs, running through offices and more.
Kids do the darndest things on the job.
Thursday was Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day, when more than 37 million Americans brought their children into more than 3.5 million workplaces. And for every cheerful #TakeYourChildToWorkDay social media post with beaming kids in tiny blazers sitting in conference rooms, you know there were also countless other parents working overtime to keep the peace between their kids and their colleagues.
Or to avoid a political scandal. When journalists covering the White House brought their kids to the press briefing room Thursday, one cub reporter asked press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders why President Donald Trump fired former FBI director James Comey. She tactfully responded that, “He did some things that weren’t really very nice, so that’s why the President let him go.”
New Jersey dad Steve Trigili, a financial services firm compliance officer, learned the apple didn’t fall far from the tree when he brought his 9-year-old daughter to work.
“She was walking by our operations unit … and she saw a couple of ladies shoe-shopping online, so she ran to my CEO to tell him that these two women were shopping on their computers instead of working!” he said. “The ladies from operations came over and said, ‘Well, she’s definitely the daughter of a compliance officer.’”
His daughter and the dozen other visiting girls under 14 were also reprimanded by other tenants working in the same building for wandering in and out of their offices. Trigili also tweeted that getting up and out the door with a kid in tow wasn’t a total picnic, either: “#TakeYourChildToWorkDay or, also known as, take your high-maintenance, 2-hrs to get ready, can we go out for lunch, how long are we staying, 3rd grade daughter day.” It was “liked” more than 800 times by commiserating moms and dads.
#TakeYourChildToWorkDay or, also known as, take your high-maintenance, 2-hrs to get ready, can we go out for lunch, how long are we staying, 3rd grade daughter day.
— Steve (@Steve_D_T) April 26, 2018
“It’s certainly not the most productive day by any stretch,” he laughed. “It’s probably one of the least productive days of the year.”
But most of the fun of Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day stems from just how much children shake up stuffy office environments. Denise Albert, cohost of “The Moms Podcast” and TheMoms.com took her sons (9 and 13) to her “Mamarazzi” event with Ralph Macchio the day before the family-friendly work day. “My kids asked how much I was paying them!” she said.
Albert also remembers back when her youngest would jump in and out of her lap while she was trying to interview A-listers like Will Smith and Jennifer Garner. Luckily, “in our atmosphere, sometimes it’s OK,” she said. “They are all parents and react well.”
And when Lyss Stern, CEO of Divamoms.com, brought her 10-year-old son to her “Motherhood Is a B#tch” book release party last year, “He told someone at my big book launch event that his ‘mommy has REALLY BIG BOOBS like Kim Kardashian… however she covers them up because she’s a MOM!’” she told Moneyish. “I just laughed. Kids will be kids, and they speak the truth; just have to roll with it.”
CooperKatz & Company, a public relations firm in Manhattan, had four kids ages four to nine spend half of the day doing brainstorming activities in the boardroom on Thursday — and these littles also had little-to-no filter.
Kathleen Reynolds, the firm’s vice president of client services, said the kids were asked to share what they thought the best and worst parts of going to work are. “The bad parts were that work is ‘boring,’ and ‘mean bosses,’ and then ‘bad clients,’” said Reynolds. “So some parents have been talking … And then the kids that say work ‘takes time away from your family’ pretty much broke my heart.”
But she otherwise had a pretty nice morning with her 4-year-old son, Gene. The two wore matching blue button-down shirts, black slacks and blue shoes. She grabbed an iced coffee, and had got a triple berry smoothie on the way into the office. “We did a little research on what not to do for Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day,” she admitted. For instance, they just had the kids there for half the day, and they factored in bathroom breaks and some one-on-one team for kids with their parents. The only thing that backfired slightly was the walk around the office. “They took off running, and that was that,” she said.
“Kids say and do pretty much whatever is on their mind. It’s what makes them so much fun, but it also makes it almost inevitable that minor snafus may occur when you mix kids and work—just look at BBC Dad!” Audrey Kingo, a senior editor at Working Mother, told Moneyish.
She had her own mishap last year — ironically while filming a Facebook Live video about bringing your kids to work. “My son was about 18 months at the time and still breastfeeding, so right in the middle of filming, he began to pull my shirt down and demanding to be nursed,” she said. “The editor who was filming had to quickly cut away before our audience got quite a show! It was the ultimate example of the perils of putting kids on live video.”
When it comes to mitigating any mishaps, she advises parents to approach bringing their kids to work in the same way you would in bringing kids on a flight. “You’re going to be in a quiet, enclosed space with lots of adults — some of them grumpy — so it’s best to be prepared,” she said. “Bring snacks, drinks, blankets, toys — all the essentials to keep kids comfortable and entertained. I loved when NBC reporter Stephanie Ruhle tweeted about bringing her kids to work when her childcare fell through. She piled blankets on the floor, and they snoozed through her segment.”
You can also find small work projects for them to do — whether that’s tackling homework, or seeing if there’s some menial tasks they can do around your office, such as stapling things together or filing.
And above all, keep a sense of humor — and hope your colleagues do, too. “I think coworkers usually just see these incidents as adding a bit of much-needed levity to the workday,” said Kingo.
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