Bringing kids to work happens. Don't make it scary for yourself.
For kiddos, summer means one thing: Freedom. More specifically, it means endless vacation and limitless unstructured time. But for parents, summer fun means double responsibilities: As a working parent, you still have to put in full days at the office during the summer, but you may also have to take control of all of that "vacation" time your kids are about to enjoy. This means you may find yourself — like it or not — bringing them to work with you when your childcare plans fall through. When and if this happens to your crew this summer, keep these 10 survival tips in mind.
Plan for bringing kids to work
Even if your babysitter is flawlessly reliable, anything can happen. The possibility of bringing kids to work is very real. So invest in a little advance preparation and planning. Find out if your company has a summer internship program or part-time opportunity that older children can participate in. Even if it's as small as filing documents, doing work can instill pride in your kids and give them something to brag about when the school year begins again.
Investigate on-site care options
For smaller children, see if your company has an onsite care facility. If it doesn't, find out if your company has a contract with a local care provider. Again, look into this ASAP so you can take advantage of this option when it's necessary.
Keep your office space stocked
Throughout the summer, make sure you have some coloring books and crayons stashed away in your work area. A few quiet toys can also be a lifesaver. Even if your kids aren't with you on a given day, you can use these items to help out another working parent in a jam.
Invest in blocks and barriers
A simple baby gate that encloses your cubicle can help when bringing kids to work. When your young children are gated in, you only need to baby proof your space — you don't have to worry about the entire office. Bonus: Use your creative juices to help your kiddo imagine that you're together in a secret clubhouse, or something similar.
Keep an eye on enticing trouble spots
The office can be dangerous, and children can be disruptive. Make an "off limits" list for your kiddos beforehand. Include machinery to stay away from, people they shouldn't bother, doors they should not open, and buttons they should not press. Explain the ins and outs to them when they arrive for the day.
Keep it quiet
It goes without saying, but toys, mobile games, and conversations should all be set at minimal volume. Search for quiet games and diversions in advance. Have headphones? Let your child use them.
Show them around
The first time you find yourself bringing kids to work, take them on a tour. Give them the lay of the land and teach them as much as possible about what you do here. Provide some context and introductions for both your children and the adults they may interact with here. Set round rules.
Send them on errands
Give them jobs to do. Kids often feel excited and motivated by important responsibilities.
Keep a supply of snacks
Low blood sugar and children in the office don't mix. Keep some healthy snacks on hand throughout the summer.
Rely on scavenger hunts and puzzles
Gather a series of difficult clues, games that are almost impossible to solve, or a challenge that can be tackled quietly.
Every working parent has to juggle two jobs at once now and then. Make the most of the situation and come out ahead! In the meantime, visit MyPerfectResume for general career and job search tools.