If you ask 4-year-old Axel Nelson, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" his first response might not be "a university librarian," but who knows where his career path will lead, thanks to a few going-to-work outings with his grandpa Bryce Nelson, university librarian at Seattle Pacific Univer-sity.
"When we walk through the main door hand in hand, my pint-size visitor is excited when he is greeted with smiles from staff and students," says Nelson. "While the long rows and tall stacks are still a bit intimidating for him, he likes to head directly for my office, where we check out my baseball memorabilia and have a 'meeting' together over cups of tea. Now, whenever we see each other, his first question for me is: 'Grandpa, how were your meetings?' "
Do your kids really know what you do when you head off to work?
To clear up the mystery, set a date and make plans to take them along. Introduce them to co-workers, show them around and have a snack or lunch together. They'll feel special and important wearing an ID or visitor's badge. And if you have an office or specific space, kids will be excited to see their photographs or their original paintings displayed on your desk or wall.
If children are not allowed in your workplace during regular business hours, make arrangements for an after-hours tour.
Note: If your workplace participates in Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day this year, invite a school-age child to come along with you on Thursday,
Here are more ways you can share the idea of work with your kids:
Familiarize your children with the work skills of your ancestors. Compile a list of relatives, and interview them or gather information from your family tree. Was great-grand father a farmer? You may enjoy visiting a living-farm museum this summer to see what that job used to be like.
For preschoolers, make a simple booklet together filled with pictures and brochures illustrating what you do during your workday. If you're an at-home parent, the book will show that caring for home and family is also important work.
Talk with your school-age kids about their present interests and skills and how they might eventually apply to a future vocation.
Donna Erickson's award-winning series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna's Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."