Bring Your Child to Work Day Is Too Valuable to Limit to Once a Year

With Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day fast approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I started bringing my two sons to work when they were very young. At first, the habit was born from necessity. Juggling entrepreneurial and maternal duties was a tall task! But bringing them to the office quickly evolved into a fun activity that everyone looked forward to.

And I’ve found that nurturing my sons’ entrepreneurial spirits and watching their passions grow has been a joy. In turn, exposing them to my life as a businesswoman has helped me grow as a leader.

Related: 15 Tips for Instilling Leadership Skills in Children

Taking your child to work is mutually beneficial.

You hear it all the time: Our children are the future. Every parent dreams about having successful children, and I’ve found that bringing them to work is a great way to get them off on the right foot.

Children, after all, are like sponges. They absorb and mimic what they see. When my sons see how passionate I am about my career, they learn the value of hard work and persistence. If you expose children to a positive and vibrant workspace, they’ll soak it up and learn from it.

As a result, I’ve watched their confidence, communication skills, creativity, work ethics and leadership skills bloom. Something as simple as stressing the importance of a firm handshake can do wonders. Assigning small, challenging tasks to them throughout the day gets their creative juices flowing. Allowing them to sit in on business meetings exposes them to a new way of communicating.

By listening to their thoughts and tapping into their youthful creativity and immense imaginations, my sons know that ideas can indeed become realities. The perks of watching Mom and Dad at work are numerous, but your children aren’t the only ones who benefit.

As any parent can attest, our children teach us about the world and ourselves every day. I’m blessed and amazed by how much I learn from my boys and how they motivate me to be a better person.

Bringing them to work has taught me the importance of leading by example. I want them to see me as an effective leader in how I work with and manage my staff. Their sponge-like brains are always learning new behaviors, so I’m much more aware of my words and actions when my sons are around. I strive to set a good example for them, and perhaps their presence also influences the behavior of my co-workers.

Children can also be honest to a fault, which, while hilarious, is a great reminder to me that it’s important to be truthful and transparent, especially as a business leader.

Related: 4 Ways Fatherhood Has Made Me a Better Entrepreneur

The dos and don’ts of bringing your child to work.

Bringing your children to work and encouraging their entrepreneurial spirit is great for their development, but it’s also important to involve them in the right activities at the right time. First and foremost, make sure you sit down with them the night before to plan the following workday. In this meeting, schedule activities that reflect their interests and lay the ground rules for office behavior. While they’re at the office, make safety a priority, and don’t forget to introduce them to your team.

Never force your children to come to work with you or turn it into a negative experience,. Be wary of overworking them. Give them fun tasks with plenty of breaks. Keep in mind that some meetings are just for adults and not all co-workers feel comfortable around children.

Only you will know when your kids are ready to come to work with you. I knew I could bring my eldest son to work once he began expressing interest in what I do and asked to come with me on business trips. He now regularly travels with me whenever he has time off from school.

As parents and entrepreneurs, we have a golden opportunity to inspire that same entrepreneurial spirit in our children. It will bring you great joy to watch them grow, and they will inspire you to do the same.

Related: Pass It On: Encourage Your Kids to Become Entrepreneurs With These 5 Lessons