Why It’s Important to Bring Your Child to Someone Else’s Job

by ChristinaPilkington on November 19, 2011 · 2 comments

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In a few weeks my kids and I will be going to the hospital. Thankfully, it’s not because anyone is sick. My sister is an RN and we’ll be following her around at work for a few hours. My son and daughter will be able to check out the stethoscope and other equipment, watch her work with patients and talk with some doctors. Then we’ll get to feast on some wonderful cafeteria food!

I’ve started taking my kids to visit different people at work this year. We’ve visited my brother who works downtown at a large accounting firm in the IT department. My father-in-law is a pastor, and we’ve had lunch with him in his office. We’ve also visited my husband, who works as a tax manager, several times at his office, too. We have future trips lined up to visit a human resource manager and even…are you ready for this….an elementary school principal!

Why is it important to give children and teens a personal glimpse into other adults’ work lives?

1. It lets them see first-hand the variety of occupations and work there is in the world rather than just reading about it in a book. There’s nothing wrong with reading books about different professions. We do that, too. But there’s nothing like experiencing how other people earn a living in person.

2. It helps spark new ideas and interests. A day spent shadowing a scientist might spark a new interest in chemistry or biology. When I was a teen, my mom let me skip school and go with her friend to a college English class she taught. It was so exciting talking about literature with a room full of adults! That day played an important part in me becoming a teacher and my desire to write my own novel one day.

3. It shows them the practical and real reasons why certain skills and knowledge are important in doing particular jobs. You might try to convince your kids why certain math skills are important, but to see and hear those same things from a role model they admire will mean an entirely different thing.

4. They feel a connection to the wider world. If they can also help out during their visit, kids will feel a personal sense of connection to the world of work outside their home. Even if they don’t help out but just observe, they’re surrounded by a variety of different people who are doing things that make a difference in other people’s lives. (Let me just say I do think teachers and principals want to help others too, but if that’s the only thing kids see day in and day out it can be very limiting).

5. Group tours are fine but personal experiences are better. Some places of business will only accept groups unless you personally know the owner or someone higher up, so if that’s your only option, it’s better than not being able to visit. But I’m talking today about going with just your family. Your kids will have more personal attention, ask more questions and do more things if there are just a few children.

Here are some tips in setting up these experiences for your children.

1. Go to family members and close friends first. You should be able to find several different places for your children to visit pretty easily this way. And close family and friends will be more willing to let your children participate in their work.

2. After friends and family, try asking acquaintances.  There might be a small store you frequent where you are friendly with the owner, or there might be other people in your community you know who might be willing for your kids to follow them around for the day.

3. Ask friends and family to introduce you to others who might be willing to have you visit them at work.

4. If your child is older, you might have them write a note or e-mail to someone who works in an industry they’re interested in and ask if they could visit for the day. (Plus, I think it’s harder to turn away kids than it is adults J

5. If you’re active in social media, use that to your advantage, too. Announce it on Facebook or Twitter. You never know who might be willing to help.

6.  Put up a notice in your library, town hall, park district, or any other place that lets you put up notices.

7. Use the white pages in the phone book to find interesting places of business and just ask. It’s always helpful to have a relationship with someone first, but I think you’ll find quite a few people who would be willing to help you out.

 Photo Credit: USDAgov


Have you ever taken your children to someone else’s job? What was it like? Do you have any tips you can share?


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  • Stephanie Kush

    Awesome post with great ideas! Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Anonymous


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