I've always found the practice and, to some extent even the encouragement of this practice, puzzling. As far as I can tell there is no benefit for any of the parties concerned that is employers, employees, and especially kids in doing this.

Could anyone enlighten me as to the benefits of this practice to the participants?

Most offices are generally ill-equipped to handle the 5-6 year olds.

closed as not constructive by Dipan Mehta, Thomas Owens, Karlson, Aarthi Apr 13 '12 at 18:12

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  • 1
    Bringing your kids to work how often, for how long, under what circumstances? It's unclear from the question whether you mean one day a year or every day. (I deduced it from the existence of your other question, but I think especially when you're asking two closely related question, it's important to differentiate them from each other.) – weronika Apr 13 '12 at 5:23
  • Some work places have a full infrastructure to support a day in a kids' life, even down to running a kindergarten and daycare centre. The parents could visit them during breaks. – tehnyit Apr 13 '12 at 9:05
  • Are you referring to people who bring their children to work on a regular basis or the practice of companies having a "bring your kid to work day"? – Thomas Owens Apr 13 '12 at 12:11
  • @ThomasOwens I was actually referring to the "bring your kid to work day" but the initial response started on a different path. – Karlson Apr 13 '12 at 12:29
up vote 7 down vote accepted

It can be very beneficial.

For the child:

This is the child's first exposure to the workplace. Their parent spends what seems like most of their life there and what they do at work often affects how they are at home. It can give the child some context to relate to when their parents talk about their day. It also gives them a glimpse in to what their parent does and how they interact with other adults in a professional setting. This may be completely different from how they are at home with their friends.

For the Employee:

It is a parents job to help raise a productive adult. Part of that is teaching them about work and responsibility as an adult. Having your child see you actually work is an important part of this. It also allows the parent to get work done instead of having to take a day off and still spend some time with their child.

For the Business:

It gets productivity out of what otherwise may have become a lost work day. It can help keep morale up as one persons lost productivity generally has a negative impact on their coworkers. Many times children grow up to work in the same place as their parent. The time spent learning the business now helps to form the bond that leads to this. If the child is bonded to the parents work the parent is more likely to stay loyal to the company, as parents do not like disappointing their children.

As has been pointed out it is not always possible. Many times workplaces just are not safe for children, or the children would be disruptive to the workplace. But where it is safe and not disruptive, I think it is a good thing for all involved.

  • Not to mention it gives added benefits to parents and children through networking. If you kid gets along with your coworkers kid there's potential for 'play dates' and stronger relationships between you and your coworkers as you see them more. This is turn helps the company because of the stronger team dynamic. – Rhys May 29 '13 at 9:46
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    Many times children grow up to work in the same place as their parent. Me and my sister used to work in the same company as our father did. Going to my father's office was the greatest experience in my life. You may not believe, but sometimes 10 years old kid can do for company not less than any other employee. I was about 10 when COMPANY gave my first salary to motivate me. – F0G May 29 '13 at 10:21

I used to visit my dad's office once in a while on the weekend with him when he had to do some extra work on a deadline. It was the first time I ever touched a computer (IBM OS/2) and I don't think I would ever have been as technically inclined as I am today if he hadn't taken me with him. All I did was play a couple of games/use a calculator on there, but I was totally enamored.

Definitely changed my life, so I would urge you to consider that even though your kids don't seem to get much out of the time they spend at work with you, they might just not know it yet.

  • I think this is different from bringing your kid to work regularly (like after school every day) -- I had similar experiences as a kid, and was usually put to work (data entry, filing, etc.) and "paid" something by my parents for the work. Definitely a good/valuable experience. – voretaq7 Apr 13 '12 at 4:46
  • I do agree with you, but I still think it can be a benefit to your kids to have some time at work with you. It would be harder to keep them occupied on a regular basis and can turn into a nightmare too. I just don't know that you'll ever think that your kids are getting much out of going to work, even if they are. – itsmequinn Apr 13 '12 at 11:42
  • I like your anecdote. Perhaps you could flesh out this answer with why this is good for the business, parent as well. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 13 '12 at 12:56

That's an interesting one. I'm guessing you're not referring to the "Bring your kids to work for a day" practice, but more regular visits from the kids? Maybe a situation where a kid comes to the parent's place of work at the end of the work day because school is out, but they're too young to go home and be by themselves?

The only case I can think of where this would be beneficial is if it's a family business, and the kids coming to work weren't just hanging out, but were actually learning the business, and were doing something useful rather than simply being a distraction to the parents.

Of course, at ages 5 and 6, I think it's really hard to justify it, even then. I think early teenager age (12-16 maybe) would be more normal for that sort of thing.

In the "I don't want my kid to be a latchkey kid," case it may be a situation where the parents can't provide day care, or other appropriate care for young kids due to economic or other pressures, and they've made special arrangements with the employer. Of course, that's a bit of a different situation, and probably beyond the scope of your question.

  • I actually meant the latter but lets take it separately and someone can merge the questions if they so choose. – Karlson Apr 13 '12 at 0:52

I think it does help the kid. They learn quite a bit about the workplace, even though they don't realize it.

To a kid, a workplace is an alien land that eats up one or more parents from 9 to 5. It really helps if they go there and like the place--it can remove a bit of their anxiety (personal experience). If they don't like the place--well you didn't try hard enough.

Regarding the facilities:

  • Make sure you bring whatever's required. Juice, food(lots of it), etc. Oh, and show them the bathroom first.
  • Letting a kid play games is OK, but make sure you show them around the place and introduce them to (friendly) people first.
  • Eat with them
  • Give them something small to do--tearing confidential documents(the ones that you want to dispose of) is an idea. My dad let me do this at home many times--it was fun and appealed to my destructive tendencies.
  • Don't just leave them in front of a computer, periodically check on them. Even better, keep them with you whenever possible.

As I got older, I would sometimes help out at my dad's office--filing stuff and all. And get paid :D. For teenagers, it's a really nice thing to do since they can learn a lot about interacting with people.

  • Just make sure they don't think they can tear everything, otherwise you'll soon find your 15 page report due tomorrow conveniently missing. – Rhys May 29 '13 at 10:22

It really depends on the environment:

I work in IT. My jobs either require quiet, uninterrupted concentration/discussion/brain-work, or spending extended periods of time in datacenters with sensitive/expensive equipment, exposed cabling, open floor tiles, dangerous noise levels, and fire suppression systems which can be deadly to small kids (and none-to-healthy for large kids / adults!).

I have no kids, but if I did I would not bring them to either of those environments: It's probably no fun for the kid in either situation, and being in the datacenter would be downright dangerous!


Someone else might work in a more kid-friendly environment (curator at a petting zoo, tour guide at a children's museum, etc.), and maybe that wouldn't be a problem.

When I was a kid, I remember going to the dealership where my Dad worked. He's a mechanic. I mainly remember sitting inside the car and pretending like I was driving it. I had to be maybe 4 or 5. I was one of those kids that would just go find something quiet to do. Not all children are like that though, as every situation is unique.

Of course, there are countless dangers in a situation such as this to consider. I don't remember this, but I burnt my hands grabbing a hot tailpipe. Come to think of it, I think all of my siblings have learned that very hard lesson too :)

These circumstances weren't the norm. They were generally weekends or times when it wasn't normal business hours, and the lot was a laid back small business, not a corporate giant.

For situations where kids come to work everyday in an office environment, you'd definitely need a nursery or dedicated staff on hand to watch over the children, as the benefits gained by the parents being near the children would be completely lost if one had to stop what they're doing to go deal with whatever trouble they're getting themselves into.

In an office environment, as long as there is dedicated space for the children and they aren't allowed to disrupt the normal workflow, this could be a great practice. Parents can:

  • Check in on their kids during breaks
  • Eat lunch with them
  • Play with them
  • Work and focus on getting the job done, while still being close to their kids.

Child and parent will be more connected in this situation than children who are left in a remote daycare facility.

If the children are allowed to run free, make noise, and be disruptive, then that would be incredibly bad for productivity of both the parents as well as other staff.

My company of about 25 has an unwritten policy that you can bring your kids if there is no where else for them to go, as happens sometimes, especially with single parents.

In general they will hang out in our break room where there is a flat screen TV with Xbox and Wii's connected.

It's good for the company (Mom or Dad can come to work) and the employee (doesn't miss work). I don't know how much good it does the kids, but it doesn't seem to hurt them.

So far all our kids have been respectful of the adults working here. If we ever had a kid who was disruptive in some way I can imagine this being a problem.

Certainly this solution doesn't scale well if the company were to grown its head count significantly.

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