If you have a creative job, it can be kind of hard to explain what it is you actually do. That’s especially true if you’re explaining it to a child, who already can barely grasp, say, what day of the week it is. But regardless of what your job entails, it’s worth trying to explain – or, even better, trying to show – your little ones what you do.
That’s the idea behind Take Your Child To Work Day (formerly Take Your Daughter To Work Day, which is on the fourth Thursday of April). And even if you work in the home, it’s a good idea to take them along for the ride, anyway.
How to best foster and support curiosity in children is an ongoing discussion (and sometimes an outright debate), but one thing is certain: Kids learn from watching, imitating, and doing. And as a parent, you have the ability to show them not just how to do their homework, but also what your actual, daily life looks like. Allowing them to shadow you in your work, researchers have found, is a good way to ignite their active minds.
If that includes a creative or artistic pursuit, it’s especially important to loop them in on that, if only to let them know that it can be done. You can make a living – enough to help support or entirely support a family and buy all of your/their stuff – by making things, inventing things, solving problems, and being artistic and creative.
Your home office is also likely a pretty mystical place for your kids. They know that you go in there and work, but do they know what kinds of tools you work with? Who your clients are, and what services you provide? Are they old enough to understand that while some people go into an office, your office is right there in the home?
Kids today are growing up with more diverse job choices than ever, and modeling those can be a great way to encourage creative thinking – and a nontraditional, but pretty exciting, understanding of what can be considered a “job.”
Demonstrating creativity in the workplace is also a good way to instill in your kids a love of learning. Explain to them what it is about your job that’s challenging, and tell them about things you’ve learned by doing it. Children often think that adults have all of the answers, and that school is where learning occurs.
Taking them with you to work (regardless of your job, but especially if it’s a creative one) is a good way to show them that learning is a lifelong pursuit, and that jobs, like school, can be great places to pick up new skills.