Take Your Child to Work Day 2012 is today. Here's a guide for unemployed parents who still want to teach their kids about the value of work and the dignity of making something of their lives.
Also known as Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, the annual holiday is a great chance to share what you do all day every day with your little ones. From cashiers to truck drivers, every employed parent has lessons to teach their children about the meaning of money, what it takes to make a living and how much work goes into supporting a family.
But Take Your Child to Work Day can be difficult for unemployed parents, and with the economy on the rails, millions of Americans believe they are unable to celebrate the holiday with their kids.
However, being out of work does not preclude you from participating in Take Your Child to Work Day 2012. In fact, there are a whole range of lessons that can be taught by exposing your kids to the daily life of a member of the unemployed class.
For instance, just because you don't have a 9-to-5 office job right now doesn't mean you never spend eight hours a day seeking work. Take your child along to show them how difficult and methodical the job search can be. Show them what it involves to search for job openings, create a resume, write a different version of a cover letter for each position you apply for, and then to wait for nearly every place to either ignore you or say no. This exercise can show kids that they need to make good choices in order to be sought after enough by employer to ensure they never have to spend months applying for jobs.
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Also, being unemployed has its virtues, and your child may not truly understand them without your illustrating them, which is something that you can do very easily on Take Your Child to Work Day 2012. Explain to your young one that just because you are in this position now, that doesn't mean you weren't once a hard worker, and that you won't be again. Go over some of your past accomplishments, and maybe even brainstorm with your kid and see if you can come up with some new career paths or potential employers you never thought of before. Perhaps you'll learn something today, too.
You can even introduce your child to LinkedIn, set up an account for him or her, and get them started networking early. The combining of technology and networking offered by LinkedIn makes it palatable to kids, who may not even realize that you're helping them get a jump on their future careers. This, and many of the other suggestions in this article, is more of a recommendation for teens than for tiny tots.
One more thing you can do on Take Your Child to Work Day as an unemployed parent is take your child to other people's places of employment. This may require some prior planning, as many workplaces would not be very accommodating if you up unannounced, but if you call ahead you may be able to set up a very educational experience for your son or daughter. Or see if one of your employed friends can take them to work.
Ask what they would like to be when they grow up, then contact a local employer in that industry and see if you can figure out a way for your young one to shadow them for a day or otherwise get some insight into that field. It's like an early internship.
So you can see that even though you may be unemployed, Take Your Child to Work Day 2012 is a great opportunity for your children to learn some important lessons about real life.