If you’re like myself, a mid-twenties office manager/executive assistant/go-to gal for literally whatever anyone needs, there’s not much than can throw me for a loop. For instance, I was once asked on the fly to play chess with a client that was waiting to meet with my boss. I’ve also managed to pull together a surprise birthday party, streamers and all, within an hour. I’m a renaissance woman. That is until the “K” word is mentioned from my boss and my throat starts to close up within seconds. Kids. Oh god, where’s my inhaler? Bring Your Kids to Work Day is a confetti-covered circus and it will be hilariously fun if you have the game plan I’m about to drop on you.
Step 1: Go Buy Stuff
I’m not sure if you’ve ever found yourself on the basement level of the Kmart under Madison Square Garden, but it’s an aggressively packed maze of kid’s toys and garden supplies. So, what do kids like most? They’ll treasure anything that has the potential to ruin furniture or can get stuck in an 8-year old’s hair. I bought every sticker in the office supplies section that didn’t say “sign here”. (They really like stickers.) I one-upped this by also grabbing some temporary tattoos. Aside from the immediate gag of watching a tiny girl slap some Sons of Anarchy-level skulls on her wrists, it’s also funny knowing that my boss is taking home some tatted-up children who now understand what permanent body art is. So, before you leave the store, round up an overwhelming arts and crafts pile in your cart and call it a day.
Step 2: Food
What do small people eat? Turns out it’s literally the same things that struggling millennial office managers eat. I grabbed some instant mac and cheese cups, gold fish, juice boxes, and planned a pizza party for lunch. Keep it simple, however. Kids really like the simplicity of bread, sauce, and cheese- so don’t go all Anthony Bourdain on them trying to sneak in adventurous elements like mushrooms or olives. To complete the grocery list, I bought supplies for an ice cream bar. This is a doubly good idea because it also constitutes as an activity- which ultimately gets you through the day.
Step 3: Activities
Ok, so this is the most important part of the day. There’s a lot of time in a work day and, as it turns out, kids need to be entertained. Let’s start with the aforementioned “overwhelming arts and crafts pile”. With the random loot I rounded up, we were able to: draw on the office windows, make mosaics, paint some fake stained glass things, and cut out fuzzy stickers. And, as if we didn’t have enough to do, I raised the bar even higher. We played with bubbles, went on a scavenger hunt, and had a hair-raising quick game of tag on stools with wheels throughout the office.
Well, that’s it, my steps to surviving Bring Your Kids to Work Day. Literally as easy as 1,2,3. The main thing to remember here is that it’s going to be a team effort. Everyone in the office is going to have to answer their phone nine times once the little ones realize the magic of extension numbers. Everyone is going to help clear the floors when the kids find the extra roll-y chairs and start drag racing down the hallway. And, a lucky few of us will get to eat an ice cream surprise that they make super special directly in the palm of your hand. But! It’s truly an extreme delight. I can honestly say that it’s enjoyable for all when a stampede of little feet come running into your office checking out the work you’re doing. Here’s to next year’s Bring Your Kid to Work Day! I won’t even need my inhaler this time. (Maybe.)
Written By: Courtney McCotter, Snippies Office Manager