How Taking Children to Work Impacts Their Development
April 29th, 2016
Thursday was National take your kids to work Day. More than 37 million Americans across the nation invited kids to join them in the workplace. The day is often the first time a child is exposed to a work environment.
Officially known as “Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day”, the fourth Thursday in April has become a momentous day for millions of young Americans.
Originally called “Take our Daughters to Work Day”, the event was created in 1993 to address research which showed many young girls lacked confidence and dropped out of school by 8th grade. The program was expanded to include boys in 2003.
Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Days usually fall on a school day so that teachers can promote the program and encourage career exploration in children.
Earlier this month, in a letter about Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, President Obama said, “Our Nation’s progress has always been defined by the opportunities our youngest minds have to harness their creativity, indulge their curiosity, and make discoveries about the world around them. In showing these young people a multitude of career paths and the importance of public service, we offer them the chance to ignite their passions and broaden their horizons.”
“There’s another advantage as well, in that [children] get to see what an actual working environment is like and it gets them a better understanding of what the world that they’ll eventually grow into is going to be like as well,” Jonathan Santo said. He’s a developmental psychologist at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
In addition to learning about new careers, when parents take their kids to work, the kids get to see another side of their parent they don’t see at home.
Santo said, “Kids see their parents at home, see what they’re like on a day-to-day setting, but they don’t get to see their parents in a variety of different contexts. The work context is one in which the kids have an advantage in seeing their parents interacting with other adults and seeing what they’re like.”
Santo said when kids see parents acting differently, it helps them develop their own identity.
“[It] gives them a chance to see that people are different in different circumstances and that requirements of certain contexts are different,” Santo said. “So, to be a fully functioning human, you have to engage in some ways more professionally than with other people and that’s part of development and part of learning.”
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