Toddlers : Introducing them to your workplace

Your pre-schooler still has lots to work out about the world and the people in it.

It's a good idea to let your child actually see what goes on when you're working or volunteering. It widens their world by exposing them to everyday situations and structures outside family life. If you can arrange it, it's worth taking your curious kid on a visit to the office or a shop.

Open up his world

Here are eight suggestions that will help make that visit good for your child and manageable for you and your colleagues.

  • Talk to the boss first There already may be a child's day at work within the company. If there isn't, you might want to start one – it's great PR for the company as well as a big internal morale builder. If you do bring your child, let your co-workers know in advance so there's no surprise.

  • Choose a good time Young children are at their best in the morning, while kids in school do better with an afternoon visit. Consider when interesting things tend to happen and when your child's presence is least likely to be disruptive.

  • Keep it short Plan on a visit of an hour or two. More is generally too much for a young child, and things are more likely to fall apart. Be sure to include a snack or lunch break.

  • Make sure that your child is dressed appropriately Let him try out what you do, if it's possible: sign on to the computer system, make a copy of a schedule, ask a customer if she needs help, offer a serving of potatoes – whatever doesn't compromise you, your child or the work.

  • Introduce your child to your colleagues Explain to her what each of them does.

  • Take photos This can illustrate a story she dictates to you about the visit. She will certainly want to add her own illustrations of the day spent “working” with mom or dad.

By giving your child the opportunity to see where you work, she will have a greater sense of security to be able to visualise where you are when you're not at home. It can also make you feel happier that you have shared this with her.

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