kids at work doesn’t always end well

I’m not sure there’s any work topic I write about that’s more divisive than people bringing their kids to work with them. (Well, maybe dogs at work, but it’s close.)

It’s a rare parent who wants to bring their kid to work, but some try to make it work when daycare falls through, a child is sick, or school lets out early. And sometimes it works just fine! But in other cases … not so much.

At Slate today, I wrote about why kids at work are tricky, and why some parents may bring them anyway. You can read it here.

{ 307 comments… read them below }

  1. pleaset*

    Glad the story mentioned when it does.

    We do something like the good approaches mentioned – have a conference room where a well-behaved child or two can read/draw/watch videos when events lead to child care emergencies.

    1. annakarina1*

      I agree, that’s a better idea. I was never brought to my dad’s work because he worked in construction, and my mom worked in schools as a therapist, and if I was ever brought to her work, I was just put in a playroom to stay busy while my mom worked with other kids. But in an office setting, I agree that an unused conference room with toys or books or whatever can be good to keep them occupied and out of the way.

    2. Ann O'Nemity*

      Yeah, same.

      Our employees rarely bring kids to work, and usually it’s because their second or third level of childcare backup fell through. Conference room + iPad + headphones = no disruption whatsoever. I’ve never seen kids roaming around unsupervised or being disruptive in any way.

      1. Lily Rowan*

        I used to work somewhere where the HR person (!!!!) would bring her kids in and then kick them out of her office when she had work to do. Not set them up in a conference room or anything, just sent them out to roam the halls.

        1. Lance*

          Did people complain? Because there’s zero chance that kids who weren’t even allowed in their mother’s office (seriously? if you’re going to bring them there at all, you need to be prepared to watch over them) weren’t disruptive to other people around, as I figure it.

          1. Lily Rowan*

            I figured it wasn’t worth complaining, because she was HR, but I definitely let the kids themselves know that they weren’t allowed to play hide and seek under my assistant’s desk!

      2. MsClaw*

        Yeah, I have a coworker whose ex just…. didn’t show up to collect their kid for ‘his week’ twice this summer, and she didn’t have anything arranged since it was ….. his week. So the kid has been playing video games and reading in the lobby. The kid is old enough to not need constant monitoring, but not old enough to be at home alone. The kid is quiet and not bothering anyone. If this happened every day, that would be one thing, but what can you do when the other parent decides not to? I’m glad our company rolls with it. It’s not optimal for the kid, but it could be worse.

        1. Ali G*

          This makes me so sad/angry. I’m glad your company is helping your coworker out by letting her bring the kid. She must be so stressed about the situation.

          1. valentine*

            what can you do when the other parent decides not to?
            Whatever she’d do if the school closed or there were another issue during her week. Create a three-deep backup, then ask the court for childcare funds for when Dad bails.

            1. Jasnah*

              Three-deep backup seems a little extreme and the childcare funds don’t help when you need childcare THAT DAY. I don’t know how easy it is to find and secure “just in case” childcare–day cares have quotas too.

            2. Don't Be Silly*

              Usually what you’d do in that instance is (1) dad (2) babysitter (3) bring em to work. 1 is clearly not an option. 2 is not usually a last minute option and so, here we are, 3 deep into backup plans w the kid at work with you

        2. iglwif*

          OMG, that poor kid!! I mean, not because he’s sitting playing video games and reading all day, which maybe he enjoys, but because knowing your other parent can’t be bothered to come collect you for a visit is a terrible feeling :(

          I’m glad your work is willing to cut the mum a break!

    3. Zombeyonce*

      I remember going into my mom’s office when I was sick as a kid (not contagious) or if school was closed. I remember entire days sitting/lying on the floor at the back of the big cubicle where all the copiers lived with a stack of books and snacks. I thought I was so helpful making copies for people that came into the cubicle; they were really nice to humor a little kid who wanted to push buttons on a machine but knew she wasn’t allowed to unless someone asked.

      1. Polaris*

        I usually stayed with my grandmother in those cases, but every so often I would have to go to mom’s work instead. Happily for everyone concerned, once I had learned how to read it was simple enough to park me in a corner with a book or two and I would be content for the rest of the day.

    4. smoke tree*

      A past job sometimes used to do that, with the fun twist that any young women working nearby (regardless of job title) would be deputized as babysitters for the day. That part was not so great.

      1. Smiling*

        I used to have to do this in my earlier years. At times I even had to pick up people’s kids from school and bring them back to the office.
        Nothing like chauffeuring the boss’s bratty kids and feeling like you couldn’t verbally discipline them because they were the boss’s offspring.

      2. Dame Judi Brunch*

        Not cool at all that they did that to the women. I would have been fuming!
        It was bad enough when my cousin made me the babysitter at her wedding reception without my knowledge or consent. But at work, that’s a hard no.

        1. valentine*

          my cousin made me the babysitter at her wedding reception without my knowledge or consent.
          Today, a “lol, no” would suffice?

      3. NotAnotherManager!*

        This happened to me once as an intern; however, it was an actual work emergency, and they passed over a couple of other people who had zero babysitting experience before they got to me (who spent my early teenage years running my own one-woman Babysitters Club). It was one of my supervisor’s four kids, and he did apologize and acknowledge that this was generally not what they had in mind with “other duties as assigned” portion of the job description. I also got paid a couple hours of OT for it as well.

    5. LondonBridges*

      I definitely got stuck in my dad’s cubicle with my little sister a few times as a kid. We mostly stayed quiet and reading or coloring, until some of his coworkers came by and saw us. I still brag that aviation engineers taught me and my sister to make paper airplanes!

      1. New Jack Karyn*

        This is amazing! I’m thinking how happy some aviation engineers were to find a couple of kids to goof off with for a half hour. “And when you fold like this, that’s what give it *lift*, which is super important!”

      2. Engineer Girl*

        I’ve taught kids how to spin stabilize rubber bands when they shoot. The gyroscopic motion makes the rubber band travel straighter, farther, faster.

        1. Database Developer Dude*

          That is absolutely awesome. Not enough women in STEM fields, in my opinion. One of my slugs is an engineer, and after I’d met her, I reflected that in our conversation, when she started talking about what she does….I -assumed- she was an engineer, said so, and she told me I was right. That put a big smile on my face because a lot of guys I know would have been all “SHE is an engineer? I doubt that.”

          (Note: Slug is not an insult. We’re in the metro DC area and we have an informal carpool – that’s what it’s called)

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      Yeah, my physical therapist would have her quiet, well-behaved kids at work on school breaks and it was fine. She would do the interactive stuff with me, then while I did my reps check in on them. Which is why I have even less patience with the parents of the groin punchers–some kids in some offices are not disruptive, and it’s not okay to wave off that your kid-office combination does not appear to be one of those lucky pairings.

  2. Mary Dempster*

    This is why I love my office. Applicable to both fur and human kids, occasionally people bring in both, but the SECOND they are disruptive, they are gone! Most of them just run in and ask their parents for money and run to the pizza place next door anyway, or a few of the younger ones (7 or 8) play on tablets with headphones and you’d have no idea they were there.

    I used to bring in my newborn to my old job, and newborns were great – she’d nap 6 of the 8 hours I was there, and otherwise I’d be nursing, which was the same as my pumping schedule, so nothing lost there!

    1. Nerfmobile*

      Hah. My newborn was nothing like that and bringing her into work would have meant 2 hours of napping and 6 hours of intensive child care. That’s definitely a YMMV situation

      1. Marmaduke*

        My newborn was not a napper either. She wasn’t colicky or mad at all, but by day six of life she had discovered her passion for throaty, clamorous pterodactyl noises. It was… cute?

    2. DefendtheChildren*

      I had the same experience as a student bringing my baby to class as did my husband — until he was about 5 months old, it was pretty much the perfect solution. My campus was friendly to that and it’s a little jarring to me when I see such passionately negative reactions to a situation that *can* work out really well.

      Your baby could also have colic. But *mine* didn’t, and I feel like I was the most qualified to make that call.

  3. Moray*

    I had a boss who was…unpleasantly unpredictable, to say the least. One of the more reliable ways to stay in her good graces was to fawn over her kids. It wasn’t so much that they were particularly disruptive, but it was your very much in your interest to drop what you were doing and “happily” pay attention to the kiddos.

    So I’m sure she would have said that all of her employees loved when she brought them in, because we damn well acted like it.

      1. Truthieness hurts*

        100%… “But everyone loves fido”. No, YOU love Fido. I don’t want my kids in office. I sure don’t want someone else’s or their dog.. I don’t even want your well-behaved dog in my office.

      2. Mimi Me*

        Yep! When I was much, much younger I worked for a boss who liked to bring her kids to work. She tried to foist them off on me once. I warned her that I don’t like kids and her children probably wouldn’t like me. She poo-pooed my warnings. An hour later I made one of her kids cry by telling her she couldn’t eat at my desk. (conversation went along the lines of: Her: can I have a snack? Me: you’ll have to eat it in the break room and I have to finish this project so no. Her: I’ll just eat it right here (pulls out a jelly/marshmellow thing). Me: no, I don’t want a mess here. Just wait. I’ll be done soon. Her: that’s not fair! Me: honey, life isn’t fair so you better get used to it.) My boss wasn’t happy that I was a bad baby sitter but she couldn’t really argue my point that work needed to get done and her kids food was sticky. I was never asked to watch them again. The boy wasn’t bad…he was quiet and he stapled all my stuff. :)

        I don’t bring my kids to work. I may love them to death, but I know that while I find them awesome not everyone else does.

    1. CMart*

      This is why I’m always so skeptical whenever people say things like “but no one has ever had a problem with X/people seem to love X”.

      The social/cultural penalties of being “the one who hates dogs/kids” are far too high for a lot of people, especially if it’s a boss-type person bringing in the pets or children.

    2. Moray all the Way*

      Sounds like the kind of person who’s only happy if they feel important (even if it’s just via someone fawning over her kiddos). What a fun boss.
      Just curious, but when did you start using the screen name “Moray?” It’s my go-to username for non-work stuff, and I’m guessing you’re the person I’m always competing with to snag it first.
      It’s funny to finally run across someone else that uses this name in the wild!

  4. Engineer Girl*

    Thanks for mantioning the key takeaway: that it needs to be no impact to the other workers.

  5. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

    I forgot Angry Mom and her “little ears”. I hope someone told her that “little ears” didn’t belong to that office.

      1. 2 Cents*

        I don’t remember this column from before. But yeah, if I got an email like that, the childish side of me would want to start swearing more.

    1. This one time at band camp*

      Absolutely agreed. It reminded me of waiting tables at a popular pub in university that turned into a full on bar with drunk people everywhere come 6pm on a Friday. One couple brought in their kids to eat and sat next to a group who had been having after work drinks since 4 pm and were feeling fine. Parents asked the table to “show a bit of restraint and soften their language” and someone at the table immediately told them to “show a bit of parenting skills and not bring your kids to a bar”. Sometimes some parents need a reminder that their kids aren’t the centre of everyone else’s universe I guess.

        1. justcourt*

          In what universe is going to a space for adults to kick back and relax and asking them to unkick back and unrelax reasonable? Anyone too young to hear adult language doesn’t belong in an adult space.

          1. Emi.*

            Maybe “pub” means something very different to me from what it means to band camp, but I understand it to be a kind of restaurant (that “turned into” a bar, ie people used it as one but you wouldn’t automatically know that when you decided to go). I don’t consider a restaurant to be an “adult space,” and I don’t consider asking people to dial their language back equivalent to asking them to unrelax. I, an adult, am perfectly capable of relaxing without cursing, and I’m also perfectly capable of accepting some restraints on my own enjoyment to make public spaces accessible to families.

            1. Emi.*

              And the response is rude in any case, which was my main point. “Show a bit of parenting skills,” seriously?

              1. EinJungerLudendorff*

                I mean, the parents started it with their demands to “show a bit of restraint”.

            2. DreamingInPurple*

              A bar is not made inaccessible to families because there is drinking or cursing or whatever going on there. Nobody was asking the family to leave or to change what they were doing. The parent overreached into someone else’s business by asking them to stop doing something that was very common, if not expected, for that establishment. If the parents don’t like it, they can leave. If they misjudged the type of establishment it was, they can leave. There’s no reason why their idea of proper behavior around children should be pushed onto other people who may have chosen this pub over others expressly *because* they wouldn’t have to deal with censoring themselves.

            3. sometimeswhy*

              A friend of mine who has a five-year-old runs a pub. Every now and then one of the back of the house staff will apologize for salty language and the response is always, “Please. I’m raising my child in a bar. She understands there are grownup words that she’s not to use,” and she is never, EVER there when it’s a late weekend night and the place is more geared toward people being rowdy and in their cups. As a parent* you learn to gauge the line between family friendly, family tolerant, and not appropriate for children, even in the same business at different times. The response wasn’t perfectly polite, no, but it’s also not reasonable to expect for a place that has a happy hour to be rated G.
              *Yes, I am a parent.

              1. Zephy*

                I started reading your comment and my eyes must have been quicker than my brain, because what I *thought* I read was, “A friend of mine has a five year old who runs a pub,” and I thought, “what a cool baby!”

                1. sometimeswhy*

                  The bab has walked right into a staff meeting, quietly joined everyone at the table, and started coloring like she was taking notes so I don’t think it’ll be long.

            4. EventPlannerGal*

              …that’s not what a pub is. Unless the word literally means something completely different in your part of the world, a pub is not a restaurant. It’s a type of bar. You can have a pub that also serves food (hence “pub grub”) and many pubs will have a restaurant section, but you cannot have a pub that doesn’t have a bar. The focus may change from pints-and-pub-grub at lunchtime to heavy drinking in the evenings, but you can’t expect at any point to not have to deal with people acting like they’re in a bar, because they are.

              1. EM*

                I don’t know where you live? But in my part of the world kids are welcome and go to pubs for dinner (and tend to eat around 6). Later it becomes more like a bar. I guess it’s contextual as to whether they were out of place at a uni bar, or dudes drinking and carrying on at 6pm had gone a bit hard and were being jerks.

            5. Anonyna*

              Late to the replies here, but to be clear this place was known to be a party any time after lunch on a Friday, especially in the summer (which is when this happened). I worked there and I wouldn’t take my kids there now at that time in the summer. Sure the response was a bit on the rude side, but given that the person who said it had been drinking for a couple of hours it wasn’t shocking.

        2. CMart*

          I disagree that it was a reasonable request (I am a parent who brings my young kids to bar/restaurants) – you take your kids out in public, especially to an adult space, you shouldn’t expect people to adapt their behavior to cater to your out-of-sync presence.

          But I do agree that response (“show a bit of parenting skills”) was over the top rude. There’s seriously nothing wrong with bringing kids out to dinner at 6pm, no one was lacking any parenting skills. The group could have just laughed and said “no, this is a bar with adults enjoying some adult beverages, sorry. Good try though.”

          1. Emi.*

            Is this your approach to taking your kids to all restaurants? It’s possible that the venue in question is further down the bar-restaurant spectrum than what I’m picturing, of course, but part of what I object to is the assumption I see so often that kids in public, outside of explicitly kid-oriented places like playgrounds, are inherently out of sync. I just don’t think restaurants are adult spaces, even if they serve alcohol.

            1. DreamingInPurple*

              Kids in public places aren’t out of sync, but coming into a bar and asking people to “soften their language” because you’ve chosen to bring a child there is out of sync.

            2. SS Express*

              I think the part about the parents bringing their kids in for dinner might be confusing you: a pub isn’t a type of restaurant that happens to sell alcohol, it’s a type of alcohol service establishment that (often) happens to sell food.

              1. londonedit*

                British pubs are odd things. Many of them don’t allow children after 6pm, but it’s very normal for families to go to the pub for Sunday lunch, for example, and many pubs with beer gardens will have a playground for children as part of the garden.

                Having said that, a pub is primarily for drinking, and unless it’s a Sunday lunch sort of environment, or a pub that’s particularly family-friendly, bringing your children to the pub DOES mean you’re bringing them into an adult space. You really can’t bring your kids to the pub in the evening and then complain that people are drinking and being loud and swearing.

        3. CatMom*

          Gotta be honest, I will not comply with requests to alter my behavior when children are brought to adult places (and I can’t say I’ll be very nice about it either). I respect children’s right to exist in public and I understand the need for them to be in adult spaces from time to time; I’m not one of those people who thinks children and their parents should disappear into their homes until the children enter high school. However, I do not have children because I do not wish to alter my behavior to be child-appropriate, and I find the expectation that I will to be inconsiderate and entitled.

          1. DreamingInPurple*

            100%. The problem is not with the child being there, the problem is with the parents feeling entitled to ask other people to change their behavior because the child is there.

        4. Else*

          It wasn’t reasonable – they were in a bar right after happy hour. Social rules default to bar behavior, not to church social behavior.

        5. JM*

          I don’t think it’s reasonable to ask people in a public space to avoid speaking in a way you don’t like (unless it is hate speech).

    2. Database Developer Dude*

      If it were me, and I could be sure it wouldn’t get me in trouble, her “little ears” would get quite the education….just not the one Mommy wanted them to have…

  6. Kittymommy*

    My mom used to bring me to work every day when I was little. I either stayed in her boss’s office reading it behind her desk reading. I was a rather quiet child anyway and most of the time her colleagues didn’t know I was there. I remember one time when I was in her boss’s office, sitting behind the desk reading and someone walked in looking for something. After a few minutes I asked if I was in the way and scared the crap out of the lady.

    1. irene adler*

      That’s funny!

      Our admin would bring in her younger son on occasion. He was always a joy. Never any trouble or fuss. So polite and friendly too. He would take his afternoon nap under her desk.

      Now he’s in grad school. And still so polite and friendly.

      Time flies.

    2. LeahS*

      My mom was a nurse at a family practice and she used to take me when I was sick and she couldn’t find a babysitter. They would set me up in the empty exam room and she’d bring in crayons so I could draw pictures on the exam bed paper. I would do that and read all day. Loved it!

      1. hermit crab*

        I have extremely fond memories of chilling at the nurses’ station as young kid ca. 1990. I don’t think I ever got to draw on the beds, but I had a lot of fun with the dot matrix printer paper! Every once in a while I run into one of those nurses and they tell me how much they enjoyed the drawings I made for everyone. But looking back, having a five-year-old at the nurses’ station (even a quiet five-year-old, during a quiet time at the hospital) sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

      2. DataGirl*

        My mum was a nurse too, I have vague memories of a few times spent in the nurse’s lounge- probably when the babysitter needed to leave before she got off shift. I have weirdly fond feelings towards hospitals now, lol.

      3. Egs*

        Same! My dad would bring us to his lab on the occasional Saturday he needed to work and we’d sit in his office, play with the brain/body models he had, get snacks from the vending machines and try and pronounce the big medical words in his books and then watch a movie in the conference room on the BIG screen. If we were good, we got McD’s on the way home. I have fond memories of those days!

    3. Slow Gin Lizz*

      My mom would bring me to work sometimes when I was home sick from school. I am pretty sure they didn’t mind, since when I was in high school and college I worked for them during summers and then later the boss hired me as his assistant and I worked for him for seven years.

    4. BottleBlonde*

      Funny! My mom used to bring me in to her office when school was closed. Whenever she had to bring me in we would always stop at the library on the way and I could pick a few books to borrow for the day. She’d set me up in an empty conference room with my books and six quarters (which was enough for two or three snacks out of the vending machine depending on how you budgeted). No one ever heard a peep out of me!

    5. Kimmybear*

      My dad used to take me to work with him (college professor) if school closed early and he couldn’t get a student to babysit. I would generally sit in the back of the class quietly or he would take me to the library while he picked up/returned books. His students taught me to make paper airplanes and throw them at him.

      1. smoke tree*

        I feel like there is a disproportionately high number of Ask a Manager readers who were that kid who was happy to just sit and read for hours on end. I honestly get a bit annoyed at kids who won’t stop demanding attention for five minutes (older kids, I mean). I feel like I shouldn’t have to put up with kid behaviour that I never subjected anyone else to!

        1. Baker's dozen*

          I had to bring my 8yo to the office to pick up a replacement handset when my mobile started acting up. That took 10 minutes at most and there’s no way I’d ever try and have them in the office longer than that. They definitely aren’t a kid who can sit quietly in an unfamiliar place

        2. WS*

          My brother and I were definitely those quiet kids, who would go sit in the corner and read, no problems. Then my next brother came along, and he was a social butterfly who needed people around, so my parents had to change their routine for him! Fortunately, by then professional childcare was much more available.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      My parents owned a franchise gift shop and we’d sometimes walk from school to the shop downtown when we didn’t want to go straight home on the bus (in my case, after hitting up the library). They were fine with us hanging out in the office if we were quiet, but if we decided to go out on the floor, we were not allowed to bother their employees or customers. It was okay to go out and straighten merchandise or help with the dusting, etc. When the shop closed at 5:00, they’d take us home.

      I spent a lot of time in the back making gift wrap bows on the hand-crank bow machine and secretly popping bubble wrap and typing silly fake business letters or lying on the floor under the table reading my library books.

      1. sometimeswhy*

        My grandparents had an independent gift shop and solved the “grandchildren visiting for the summer” problem by putting us to work. My cousin stocked shelves and folded T-shirts. I ran the register and helped unload the trucks. I was ten. Hooboy.

    7. Librarian of SHIELD*

      There was a very excellent tree just outside my dad’s office door. I loved going to work with him so I could climb my tree and pretend I was in Ferngully. :)

  7. Amber T*

    One of my colleagues will bring her kids in occasionally… a couple of times a year. We have a tv in our lunch room (never gets used unless there’s some Major Sporting Event or some Major Political Event), and her kids will happily stay in there watching tv quietly and color, or other quiet activities.

    The one caveat is, if you leave your kids alone, they might overhear things they shouldn’t. Case in point – I was in the lunch room making a cup of coffee, and our temp intern came in with a giant spider he caught in his office. I’ve mentioned before that I’m arachnophobic, but poor temp intern had no idea. I… didn’t react that well. I proceeded to not-so-quietly say “Holy Forking Shirt* get that away from me” while practically climbing on the counter. Intern scurried off apologizing… which is when I realized there had been a tiny child standing behind him getting water. He absolutely heard me.

    So, L, if you read this and your son learned some colorful new words… sorry.

    (*real curses, not The Good Place subs, used)

  8. Dust Bunny*

    I went to work with my mom a handful of times, in emergencies, but she would have skinned me herself if I’d been even slightly disruptive. Definitely did not go to work with Dad; his office wasn’t that kind of place.

    My workplace is generally not child-appropriate but because of my department’s specific out-of-the-way location one of our coworkers was able to bring her baby in for a few months. As soon as the kid learned how to make noise deliberately, though, she found other accommodations. We do work with the public some and we couldn’t have even a happy squealing baby on site.

  9. JeanB in NC*

    I never brought kids to the workplace but I used to work at a university where one of the professors in the dept. used to bring his daughter in sometimes and would bring her straight to me. Which I loved! She was such a good baby and toddler. I still was able to work if needed (I had a lot of free time then), and half the time no-one even knew she was there. And the moment she got crabby or noisy, I brought her back to her dad and he left with her. But in general, I agree – no kids in the workplace except on rare occasions.

  10. Errol*

    I like the idea of in an emergency or on occasion it’s fine. Currently there’s a baby in my office all day every day and I am going crazy. He’s got colic, and has seizures and cries non stop because he’s teething and has seizures where I would cry too. He’s a baby, I feel terrible for the little dude. And then because he’s an unwell baby I feel bad for feeling angry about the crying.
    My vendors are calling me and they pause and go “…is that a baby??” And I have to explain that we have a babe here full time, but no, it’s not mine. But I guess a bonus point is that they now email me instead of calling.

    But again, as a childless person I am all for the flexibility that sometimes is fine as long as they aren’t distracting everyone.

    My old office my coworker would bring in his son (7 or 8 at the time) and he’d put on a movie in the conference room and just hang out and read and it was no issue!

    1. Formerly Known As*

      Not to be unkind, but how in the world is your coworker able to get ANY work done if their baby is crying all the time and has seizures?

      1. Zombeyonce*

        I think that’s definitely a fair question. It’s not just affecting the parent; it sounds like others aren’t able to get much work done. How much can one baby bring down productivity? I’d say way too much to be acceptable. I feel bad for the parent if this is their only choice.

        1. EinJungerLudendorff*

          Agreed. A lot of people can’t stand listening to crying babies for hours on end. See also every complaint about airplane travel. And thats one day, when they don’t need to concentrate on their work.

      2. Errol*

        she lets him cry it out or loudly shushes him, unless he’s having a seizure. Thankfully she left pretty quickly the few times it was a real seizure not just the shakes, but my god. Apparently I am the odd one because I can’t ignore the baby crying.

        Every few hours she takes him for a drive to have a brief nap. She has other choices, but she’s still technically on mat leave so she’s chosen to not put him in day care until she absolutely has to.

        1. Mrs_helm*

          Most day cares aren’t going to take him, anyway, if his seizures aren’t under control (i.e.medication prevents them).

          1. Errol*

            most day homes in my area will as they only have 2-3 children tops in the home. Plus her partner is unemployed right now but she won’t leave the babe with him. He has to come here so she can watch him watch the baby (which has happened)

            1. Quandong*

              Oh no, this sounds like bad news if you were hoping the baby might soon be at home with dad.

              Please consider raising the way the baby’s presence is affecting your ability to work, so there’s a trail of documentation if you need it later.

            2. Else*

              What?! Either the dad is a COMPLETE tool, or she is. How is he supposed to bond with the baby if he isn’t allowed to watch him?

        2. Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate*

          OMG! That sounds awful for you and the baby — and probably for the mom too, my gosh. If she has other practical options plus she’s on mat leave I wonder why she’s back in the office — are her other options able to deal with a medically fragile child?

        3. Not Me*

          She’s not on maternity leave if she’s working. Sounds like a nightmare for everyone involved and a possible lawsuit.

          1. Not a cat*

            Horrifyingly, my last two employers had “expectations” of women on maternity leave. And by expectations, I mean they expected them to do “some” work. I was shocked there was never a lawsuit.

          2. Anonyna*

            Yeah, I definitely have questions. I had a baby with acid reflux who cried all. the. time and I nearly went insane so there’s no way I’d expect my coworkers to listen to it and not eventually murder me on a random Tuesday afternoon. Also, what kind of seizures are we talking here? Febrile seizures can happen but shit it would be stressful seeing a baby have daily seizures in an office.

          3. Errol*

            our office person went on sudden medical leave, instead of hiring a temp they asked and she accepted as she makes more money not on leave, on the condition baby comes with her.

            which sucks for everyone else.

              1. Seeking Second Childhood*

                Ah so she took a partial/early end to maternity leave and is working part time?
                Here’s hoping they let her extend the part time for the total number of HOURS she came back early!

                1. Errol*

                  We are in Canada so she actually has 12 months of leave but was planning on taking 14 (pre-arranged), she came back at 10 months into the leave full-ish time (full days, sometimes all week sometimes once a week) so she gets paid from here and claims it against the government leave. Should be about 4 more months of baby in the office

          1. I heart Paul Buchman*

            Maybe she needs the money? I assume that having a child with medical problems such as this would be very expensive (specialists/medication etc). I also assume that child care centres might not take an unwell baby (they wouldn’t where I live). Maybe the mother is downright desperate and has no other options and is just doing what she needs to do to survive? I doubt she would choose this scenario.

            And regarding the partner – I don’t know him but she must have a reason that she is not leaving baby in his care while she works. Maybe he can’t cope with the medical needs. Maybe mother is anxious (reasonable response to a baby with a medical problem). Maybe the baby isn’t safe, there are many cases of shaken baby syndrome resulting from a baby with colic/medical problems + parent with impulse control/anger issues.

            This sounds like the time to just assume that a person is reasonable, has all the information and is making the best available choice…

            1. WS*

              Absolutely it could be the best choice for her. Not the best choice by her bosses for the sake of the co-workers, and the co-worker above is obviously stressed out by the bosses’ decision!

    2. Dahlia*

      That REALLY seems like a time for FMLA leave. I can’t imagine him being there is making him feel better, or helping with the seizures. Poor baby.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        He’s an infant… still in a cradle at this point or a baby wrap. From HIS point of view, when he cries someone is there to hold him so it’s a good place.

        1. Errol*

          Not an infant! We are in Canada, so he’s officially a baby at 10 months. FMLA doesn’t exist here, and you can’t get disability/family disability pay when you’re receiving other benefits from the government which maternity leave is

  11. Exhausted Trope*

    I recall two times when coworkers brought children to the office. One brought her toddler, dumped her on my team, and went to a meeting. We spent the hour chasing said child down the halls because she just refused to stay put. She was looking for her mommy and no amount of cajoling would reign her in. It was exhausting.
    Another time, our beloved program director brought his young daughter to a few meetings. She sat in the corner and drew most of the time but would occasionally interject comments, all cute and some pretty hilarious. It saved us from boredom, so there’s that.

    1. CanuckCat*

      The bad!Cat in me says if she wanted her mom that badly, I would have just escorted her to the meeting room her mom was in, as payback for co-worker dropping her kid with me. But then I try my best not to listen to bad!Cat.

        1. Exhausted Trope*

          Yeah, that thought did cross my mind (not the duct tape) but she basically had no other options for childcare that day and we felt bad for her. If she had ever asked again, I would have refused since her kid was so “active.” A cutie but still…

    2. Ann Furthermore*

      I had a boss that did this. She had 2 boys that were absolute hellions, but of course she thought they were perfect little angels. She’d bring them to the office all the time, and then ask people to watch them for her when she had a meeting.

      Once, she left her kids with a SENIOR PARTNER FROM PWC who was onsite to review the company’s quarterly SEC filings, and using her office. He was (understandably) flabbergasted. Everyone else was too. It was, essentially, having the company pay $500/hour for a babysitter. Unbelievable.

      1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

        Ugh I had a coworker (shared office) who brought her 3 or 4 year old daughter in a few times. Super sweet kid, but very inquisitive and HIGHLY mobile. My coworker was capable of turning on intense focus when she needed to get something done – great work skill, terrible parenting skill. She would totally tune her daughter out and not pay the slightest bit of attention, so of course the kid would come over to me and mess around with stuff on my desk. Once she turned the power strip to my computer off, and her mom just laughed it off. After that I would reflexively save my documents every 15 seconds whenever I saw the kid coming.

  12. Kyra*

    If the child is quiet and well-behaved, sure. But I work in a call centre environment with a lot of paperwork that I need to be able to focus on; I should not know your kid is there.

    One day a colleague brought in her kid for the afternoon because child care fell through, and that brat ran around screaming at the top of her lungs – despite being 9 years old, and trying to scare people. I was beyond pissed; I had callers asking me “What is going on over there? Is someone being murdered?” And it just made our department look so bad.

    1. Formerly Known As*

      I shouldn’t laugh, but the “Is someone being murdered?” comment is hilarious.

    2. Zombeyonce*

      A 9-year old?! That is ridiculous behavior for a kid that old. Even my toddler knows she’s not allowed to do that and only has to be told 2 or 3 or 8 times to stop before she does.

      1. Kyra*

        Yes, exactly! You can understand my horror, and it went on forever before my colleague finally put a stop to it. I couldn’t believe it happened more than once.

    3. Fish Microwaver*

      I also work in a call centre where concentration is required. We are state government employees. My boss once brought her 8 year old in every day for 2 weeks during school holidays. The child would often lie on the floor colouring in or playing with a device. This was not ideal because there is not much room to walk. Other times she would set up “jumps” and run around pretending to do equestrian events, shouting loudly. One particular afternoon we were extremely busy and I asked my boss to quieten the kid down. It didn’t go well.

    4. Zephy*

      9 years old is way past old enough to know better. That’s unacceptable. I hope there was some kind of consequence for your coworker.

  13. Former Kid at Office*

    When I was a kid–probably between 3rd and 5th grade–I spent many afternoons at my dad’s office after I got out of school. He often had a more flexible schedule than my mom, who was in school at the time or working jobs where she wasn’t able to leave and pick me up from school. As far as I know, none of my dad’s coworkers had an issue. My dad had his own office, and I sat in there quietly reading or doing homework. Sometimes he had to leave me in there while he went to a meeting or something, and I was expected to remain in his office unless I had to go to the restroom. I was so shy and felt intimidated being there that I never dreamed of making any noise or bothering his coworkers.

    I’m generally not in favor of kids being at their parents’ offices on a regular basis, but it really depends on the age and temperament of the child. I was the kind of kid content to sit quietly and read. Other kids want to run around. Plus, when I was a kid, there weren’t phones and tablets and other gadgets that made noise.

    1. Anax* I definitely had these as a kid – and so did my mom, long before cell phones.

      I feel like kids have always had ways to make horrible noises, and I’m not sure gadgets make much of a difference there. Temperament seems like the big thing.

      (I was definitely a weird kid who was 100% fascinated by Dad’s IT work, leaning over his shoulder to watch for hours, before being turned loose to play with Lotus 1-2-3. Take Your Kid To Work Day was great.)

    2. Ann Furthermore*

      Yeah, it totally depends on what kind of kid you have. I would have been fine to go to work with either of my parents when I was a kid. If I had a book and/or coloring supplies, I was good to go.

      My daughter is completely different. She’s OK to sit and read or watch videos for an hour, maybe 2. Then she wants to be doing something. She’s very athletic and active, and always wants to be outside. If there’s a ball anywhere near, she’s going to be throwing it. I really think it’s a compulsion — she can’t not do it. Today, for instance, she’s been out in the back yard all day throwing her softballs into this net thing that will bounce the ball back to her. She’s trying out for a competitive team on Wednesday, so she’s been out there, working on her throwing and pitching.

      She’s one of the few kids that doesn’t need to be constantly harped on to reduce screen time, because she’d rather be outside playing or riding her bike, which is awesome. But trying to keep her quietly entertained for an entire day would be a nightmare I wouldn’t subject myself or any of my coworkers to.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Try her on juggling toys and tell her about scarves…they’re safe to juggle indoors and pack up small for travel that might have boring periods. (Smooshes are the next best thing for indoors, but still not the parental office. )

  14. Coffee Cup*

    I once worked in a huge open plan office of about 70 people where bringing children to work was openly encouraged by our great boss, and it worked…really well. It was just such a large space that a couple of children playing around a bit just didn’t register. We would even sometimes play with them in the kitchen area as a break. This was usually summertime when a lot of people were away though. One of the coworkers had an awesomely well-behaved daughter who once sat through an entire meeting without making a sound. I really enjoyed having them there, but it was very well regulated and they all behaved really well. I don’t even particularly liked children, but it just worked really well and made everyone feel welcome. I miss that job for many reasons, but also for that.

  15. RussianInTexas*

    My Old Job (regular office setting of cubicle farm) eventually banned kids from the office outright. Not even coming in showing of your new baby for few minutes.
    After couple people abused the previous goodwill and let their elementary school kids to sit for hours in the empty cubes playing iPads at full volume.

  16. NotKidFriendly*

    Not a popular opinion but kids DO NOT belong in the office. They are a distraction at best and a liability at worst. I get the occasional emergency but what grinds my gears is when staff parade their kids around. Every time layoffs are mentioned you can bet your bottom dollar that parents in my office are going to bring their kids to work in an attempt to gain sympathy.

    1. EinJungerLudendorff*

      That seems like an opiniom just about everyone shares.

      Sometimes bringing them in is the least bad option, but they never belong there.

  17. Guacamole Bob*

    One big issue is that most parents I know are more able to tune out kid noise, especially from their own kids, than people who don’t spend a lot of time around kids, so they may underestimate how disruptive a kid’s presence will be to others.

    When my manager brought his son in for a couple of hours (once in over a year, and his kid behaved fine for a 5 year old), I was still able to have a perfectly functional and useful conversation with my manager because I have kids a similar age and just kind of tuned out the occasional aside to get his son a new piece of paper for his coloring or hand him the blue marker or whatever. I wouldn’t want a kid there for anything that was super serious or focused, but for a normal day-to-day check that background kid disruption just didn’t break my concentration. Our colleague who doesn’t have kids and doesn’t spend much time around young kids was completely unable to deal with the rhythm of a conversation with kids around – it was obviously super disruptive to him. We kicked the part of the conversation that involved that colleague to the next day.

    1. Formerly Known As*

      This! Parents are able to tune out kid noise. I don’t have kids, don’t like being around kids, and kid noise drives me bonkers. Part of it is the kid noise itself, but I’m also really sensitive to noise in general. I think I have a sensory issue of some kind. Noise that doesn’t bother other people sends my anxiety spiking.

    2. Washi*

      Yeah, I had a coworker who I could imagine chiming in on this thread saying “oh yeah, I bring in my 9 and 12 year olds sometimes and it’s great! You barely know they are there!”

      Maybe other people barely knew they were there, but as someone who shared an office with her, I definitely did! Whenever they were there, they would be quiet sometimes, but they also would ask their mom questions, take up a lot of space with backpacks and craft supplies, take office supplies and not put the back correctly, and were generally just mildly distracting to me the whole day, and completely distracting to their mom.

    3. Zombeyonce*

      In my experience, this is definitely true and it goes even further: parents can more easily tune out kid noises and really only notice when there’s silence in the general vicinity of the kid (which is a big red flag that something is happening that shouldn’t). The opposite is true for most childfree people. This amazing ability is really the #1 parental sanity defense mechanism.

      1. Guacamole Bob*

        Ha, yes, it’s definitely a parental sanity defense mechanism!

        But it’s also just a matter of what you’re used to. I think something similar happens with dogs – I don’t spend much time around them, so having a dog wander over and want some petting or sniffing around on the floor under my feet would make it hard for me to work. I totally understand that for many dog owners it would barely register, and they might have a hard time realizing that what passes under their radar is really distracting to me.

        See also: having a TV on in the background, listening to talk radio, etc.

    4. DataGirl*

      My dad was a mechanic and my mom was a nurse- usually he worked days and she worked nights/weekends. I remember occasionally when he’d have to go in on a weekend and me and my sister would have to go- we’d hang out in the break room which was plastered practically floor-to-ceiling with nekkid lady photos and sexist/sexual cartoons and drawings (late 70’s /early 80’s). We were young enough to not understand but later in life I realized how inappropriate that workplace was.

    5. Emily*

      I’m the opposite, at least when it comes to my own kid. I’m super aware of her and what she’s doing. There’s no way I could bring her to work and actually focus on my job. Employers should be understanding and flexible when it comes to unexpected snow days and childcare emergencies. I’d much prefer to see more family-friendly policies and practices than kid-friendly offices.

      1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

        “I’d much prefer to see more family-friendly policies and practices than kid-friendly offices.”

        This x 1000. It’s nice to have a boss/workplace that understands when you have an emergency childcare situation, but it would be a thousand times better to have the support/resources/leave to not have to bring them in the first place.

  18. PolicyWonk*

    The article hits on the real issue, which is that companies need to figure out how to be flexible for parents (absent, you know, federal assistance for daycare, longer school days, real paid leave). I kept thinking about Patagonia, which not only offers onsite daycare but also buses school age children to the office so parents can take a break to say hi and then kids wait, supervised, until the end of the workday. Can you IMAGINE what work would be like if more companies did that?

    1. Half-Caf Latte*

      Yes this. Spouse and I both used to do direct patient care, in the hospital.

      We both took administrative positions when they came up, in part because they’re at least a little more flexible for us as parents.

  19. Elizabeth Proctor*

    I’m annoyed at the mom who sent the email about “little ears.” If you are bringing children to a place that’s not designed explicitly for children, you shouldn’t expect anyone to moderate their behavior to accommodate them.

    1. Zombeyonce*

      I think I’m going to start using that line when people in the office talk about something I don’t want to talk about.

      Coworker: That deadline is coming up. Pretty sure we’re all going to have to work overtime.

      Me: *pointing to ears* Shhhh! Little ears here!

  20. Nanani*

    It’s pretty clear that the issue shouldn’t be “Kids: yes\no” but “Is this person bringing in the kid actually making an effort to be non-disruptive?”
    There’s a world of difference between expecting one’s colleages to be impromptu baby-sitters or commandeering office space, and giving the kid a quiet corner to play or do homework in.

    Focusing on the kid being a kid is missing th epoint.

    And of course, as per the article, the real solution is better childcare options for everyone.

    1. Elizabeth Proctor*

      Yes, and also is this happening with regularity (once a week or more) or is it a once-in-a while thing? Even if your kids are not disruptive, I don’t think they should be in the office more frequently than 2-3 times a month for a couple hours.

    2. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      Yeah, this.

      I was the “kid in the office” when I was ~10-12 — but at that age, it meant I sat in a corner of the lunch/break room and did homework or read a book for a couple hours between when school let out and when Mom could go home. It’s a far cry from a screaming toddler!

    3. hbc*

      Yeah, it’s a sliding scale in a few directions. How disruptive is the kid to this particular office, how often is it needed, how much good will does the particular employee have built up, how much do you need the parent’s presence that day, and was it somewhat unavoidable versus an “emergency” caused by poor planning?

      I brought my 6 year old in once because of school being cancelled for (light) snow and I was the only person who knew how to run our annual stock count. I think everyone would have happily put up with an occasional groin punch for my presence that day. But if I brought her in every snow day, I’d expect that to start unofficially counting against me.

  21. no.*

    If a kid is too sick to go to school, they’re too sick to be in the office. I don’t want their germs any more than their teachers and classmates do.

    1. Formerly Known As*

      I once had a college professor who brought her son to campus when he had scarlet fever. He was in her office, and we were in a classroom–but I was horrified that she had brought him to campus rather than canceling class and staying home with him.

      1. irene adler*

        We had someone try to bring in her grandchild – with chicken pox.
        The VP and head of R&D was adamant- NO! We cannot risk it. We have adults who have not had it nor the vaccine.

        Boy, grandma was MIFFED.

    2. BottleBlonde*

      100% agree about anything contagious. I would be so angry if someone knowingly brought a contagious kid to work and I (or my family) got sick because of it.

      I wouldn’t mind my coworkers bringing in a kid with an ear infection or something else non-contagious though, provided that they wouldn’t be disruptive.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Yep. Like the day after a child eats the egg salad off the pot luck table on a hot day… she’s too listless to go to school, but it’s not going to spread like if it were a stomach virus.

    3. Washi*

      I agree. It annoys me already when adults come to work sick, but sick kids are even worse – they touch everything, don’t cover their mouths when they cough, are usually kind of whiny due to being sick, etc. My coworker used to bring her daughters in when they were sick and it drove me up the wall!

    4. The Original K.*

      Right! I don’t like hearing “So and so brought her son in today, he’s home sick.” Well, no, he’s not home sick, he’s in our office sick and spreading germs.

      I sympathize; I know many American companies don’t make it easy for parents, and I like kids and I’m usually down to chat with yours if you bring them in, but PLEASE leave your kid with pinkeye at home (true story; her boss sent her and her kid home as soon as she heard “pinkeye,” but a few people did end up with it).

      1. BenevolentDespot*

        We had a co-worker’s sick kid infect almost our entire forty-person department with the flu. What made it even worse is that the co-worker had plenty of PTO left and could have stayed at home with the little sick one, but she was the type that believed that the office would fall to pieces if she wasn’t there, and her daughter’s daycare wouldn’t let in kids with fevers. And the kicker? Most of us had gotten flu shots that year. At one point thirty-four people called out sick in a day–I was one of them because I could barely get out of bed to go to the bathroom. After that, my company no longer allowed kids, not even on Bring Your Kid to Work Day.

    5. SparklingStars*

      I had a former co-worker bring her daughter to work after said daughter had been send home from school with what the school nurse strongly suspected was strep throat. Sure enough, I came down with strep throat a few days later. Not cool.

    6. Lucy*

      I was that kid a few times – for whatever reason it was considered better for me to be bored and uncomfortable in the otherwise deserted department office with mom teaching along the hall, than on my own at home in bed. I doubt I could have spread any germs but I was far more miserable than I needed to be.

    7. smoke tree*

      And I’m sure they’d feel better at home in bed instead of stuffed in an office chair.

    8. Feline*

      Absolutely. A coworker at a former job had his daughter at work one day because she was sick. He brought her to a project meeting because he did not want to leave her unsupervised in a cubicle, and she sat just behind me in a chair coughing juicy mouth-not-covered coughs thorough the whole meeting. Three days incubation, and sure enough I started coughing and got very ill. Enough to have to stay in bed and miss work.

      Sick children are walking petri dishes, and the office isn’t a place for petri dishes.

    9. Artemesia*

      My boss’s AA brought in her child with chicken pox into an office with an elderly woman and a pregnant woman both of whom said they hadn’t had it. They were desperate but couldn’t ‘say anything’ because this woman was their superior. Although I had no actual authority here, I was also a professional in the office and so took the authority to tell her to immediately get that highly contagious kid out of their and home before someone was infected. I could not believe that someone would bring a sick kid into an office with a pregnant worker.

      Some people have no sense.

      1. pleaset*

        Thank you Artemsia.

        Also, to the other people – if your job situation is so desperate that you cannot raise an issue of a serious health threat with the boss, something has to change. Maybe it’s not possible, but if you’re carrying a baby and afraid to tell you boss, get out if you can. Get out if you can. Or speak up. Something has to change. I don’t know who is “to blame” but something has to change. Maybe the boss is an ass, maybe the employees are too timid, maybe the employees are desperate for a job. But something has to change.

      2. Database Developer Dude*

        Some things are worthy risking the boss’ ire over. This is one of them. If I were the Dad of the baby the pregnant woman was carrying, and anything happened because of this, I’d have been in jail for what I’d do….. They needed to say something. Being the boss does not entitle you to expose vulnerable people to serious illnesses for your own personal convenience.

    10. Dahlia*

      I have honestly made a killing baby-sitting sick kids. I had a hearty enough immune system to not be taken down by normal kid cold germs (or even things a bit more serious – two of the kids I baby-sat had weaker systems and were prone to infections and I still never caught anything off them) and frankly?

      Baby-sitting sick kids is easy if you can handle the germs. All they want to do is play games and watch movies/TV and whine a little.

    11. nekosan*

      THIS. Nowadays when someone says “I brought my kid in because daycare/school wouldn’t take them because have pink eye/the flu/a fever”, I immediately leave and work from home the rest of the day. Ugh.

    12. Paperdill*

      One point on that is that “sick” doesn’t always mean contagious. And being to sick to have to go through all the rigmarole of school is different to just sitting at reading at dad’s work for the day.
      I had depression in high school and, on bad days, I was able to accompany my parents to work as it was better for me that staying at home by myself. I hope I didn’t bother anyone. (I realise high school age is a bit different but my point still stands).

  22. Bunny Girl*

    I’m definitely in the camp of kids don’t belong in the office. Where I am now, we have quite a few faculty members who bring their kids into the office and I hate it. They feel the need to parade their kids around to all the admin offices a couple times a day, and they also frequently let kids just run around the building. Thank god no one has asked me to watch their kid, but I’m just waiting for the day. The answer will be a huge, huge no.

    I do feel like sort of a hypocrite though because I’d love to work in a dog friendly office, but I don’t think dogs make as much noise as children, and if they are well behaved, they aren’t as big of a distraction. And they can’t bring norovirus and spread it all over your office.

    But either way, I do think companies should be responsible for telling people right up front if they allow dogs or children or whatever into the office when they are interviewing, or even when posting the job. I’d nope right out of an office that allowed children on a regular basis.

    1. Anne (with an “e”)*

      I used to work at Local Smalltown High School. The elementary school buses would drop the children of faculty members off at the beginning of our last period. The kids would go to their respective parents’ classrooms and quietly work on their homework. I have no problem with this and I think it’s a great idea. However, as soon as the high school students were dismissed a select few of the elementary kids would go crazy. They would scream and yell, run around, play noisy games up and down the halls, etc. I always felt that their parents just had a sort of immunity to their disruptive, loud behavior. As for me, sitting in my classroom trying to do lesson plans, grade papers, etc. I always found these kids to be obnoxious and a huge distraction. I absolutely never said anything to any of these parents or anyone because I didn’t want to make waves or spend the capital. However, to all the parents out there, just remember— not everyone cares for your child. They may not say anything, but they most definitely could be thinking it.

  23. Fieldpoppy*

    I don’t have kids, and as a consultant, most of my workplaces are temporary. So I don’t have skin in this game. But I do have nieces, and I recently went on a holiday with my 12 year old niece, and I was amazed at how *adult* she is in some settings and how very very very not adult in others — especially trying to get her to eat in a non-silly way. (Slurping at her spaghetti, etc.). She is a neurotypical, generally thoughtful and mature kid — but just could not contain her energy in restaurants. It drove ME nuts and I was the one responsible for her — I felt mortified for the people at the other tables. I think parents get ground down by certain behaviours and just tune them out when they pick their battles, and don’t all have the best ability to discern whether their kids are having an impact or not in the workplace. I think this “park your kid in your cubicle” thing should not be a thing unless there is a dire circumstance.

    1. Samwise*

      Just as a suggestion for the next time you take your niece to a restaurant: Here is what my very wise mom did when any of us behaved at all poorly in a restaurant (or other grown up place where quietness and manners were important). Give child one warning, including the phrase, this is your ONE warning. If that didn’t do it, immediately after the next misbehavior, say to child in the Death Tones, I am so very disappointed in you. We are leaving now. She’d call over waiter, apologize, pay for the meal and include a big tip, refuse to take a doggy bag (because the kid getting to eat the food later would be rewarding misbehavior/disobedience), march out to the car, strap in, go home. Offending child was banished to their room or, if it had been particularly egregious, given a time out on a chair in the hallway (where said child could hear everyone having fun, but could not actually participate).
      Later that day, child would have to apologize nicely to everybody in the family who had been inconvenienced.

      Sometimes, if it was the whole family, the offender got to sit in the car with mom while everyone else stayed in the restaurant with dad. (Then time out at home, apologies).

      TBH, my mom saying “I’m disappointed in you” was the most effective punishment.

      1. Fieldpoppy*

        I appreciate this but we were on a holiday in Iceland where I did not want to leave the damn restaurant because *I* wanted to eat, lol. And not waste money. Food is very very very expensive there! She actually sent me a thank you note and thanked me for my patience with her, lol.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Ha, begging in the grocery store got so bad when we were younger that Mum would just leave us home with the sitter and not take us. So we had to be content with whatever snacks she chose, which turned out to be the same thing every damn time—Nutter Butter cookies and green grapes. To this day I can’t look a Nutter Butter in the face.

      3. DCGirl*

        I witnessed my parents do this with my brother, who is eight years younger than I am, a couple of times (although we did take doggie bags). Nothing course-corrected his behavior more than having two pissed-off sisters who very unhappy about having to miss the rare treat of eating out.

    2. Hannah's Aunt*

      We have the same niece! “but just could not contain her energy in restaurants.” We still have to remind her to focus on her nuggets and not everything around her. Most of the time she eats the rest in the car as we move to the next activity (we live out of state so our schedules are jammed packed).

      Being the aunt is a tightrope walk: do we enforce behaviors or because we only have a finite time with them (in our case), do we pick our battles? We pick battles and often join in the fun, knowing her parents are the more responsible party :) I think there have been times that I’ve tuned out my nieces’ behaviors not realizing they could be annoying to others, but then we all have to be/work/live with annoying people at some point.

  24. One legged stray cat*

    In all my years working, I don’t think I had a bad experience with kids at work. They were all pretty well behaved and they made the boring times at work more entertaining. Often better behaved then the adults. The only bad experience with “kids” that I can think of is from when co-workers forced their teenage kids to work
    there as interns for the summer when the kids didn’t want to. Some of those “kids” (especially the teens from the richer executives) were total pains in the butt. The toddlers doodling in the corners though were angels.

  25. softcastle mccormick*

    My parents are OB/Gyns, and they would bring me to their offices on days where I was sick. I would either hang out in their personal offices or in the doctor’s lounge, and it was always soooo awkward as a young child to be surrounded by charts and 3D models of uteruses and various stages of pregnancy on every wall and shelf.

    I did love hanging out at my dad’s office, because the nurses turned on Passions (I was forbidden to watch TV at home when I was young) and drug reps always brought cool free lunches. As an adult, I realize what a drag it must have been to feel responsible for your boss’s kid while you were just trying to get through the day, even though I was super quiet and shy.

    1. hermit crab*

      Ha! I think we had a very similar childhood. We had a lot of conference/drug rep swag around the house (pens, notepads, those calendars that let you count back nine months from your birthday and figure out when you were conceived), and most of them featured pictures of reproductive organs and/or had something to do with STIs. I remember one pen in particular that, when you clicked it, a tiny fetus appeared and progressed through various developmental stages. But rather than being embarrassed, apparently I would “talk shop” with the nurses & midwives from a very young age. Perhaps that is something else to keep in mind if you bring your kids to work. :)

      1. softcastle mccormick*

        Oh my GOSH YES!!!! All the drug swag! I had those pens, the conception calendar, mouse pads, paper weights…one memorable summer I took an Ortho Tri Cyclen umbrella to Catholic Youth Camp, not realizing what it was used for. Sigh. Simpler times.

        I also remember being the weird kid in school who would talk about babies and birth at like a way-too-young age, and grossed all the kids out.

        1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

          OMG I’m LOVING the image of you with a birth control umbrella at a Catholic Youth Camp!! Too good.

    2. Former Help Desk Peon*

      My mom was head nurse on an OB ward on a military base; we’d get out of school, run over to the hospital and pound on the outer emergency exit door of her ward until she came and opened it to give us money, then we’d go to the youth center until she finished work. We were 7 and 8.

      Now a days I just shake my head at that story, it wouldn’t fly for SO MANY reasons. But, it was the 80s.

  26. Sled dog mama*

    I’ve taken my now 5 year old to work with me 3 times but I’ve been lucky enough that I’ve been in a situation where she had to stay an entire day. She was just over a year and my workplace made a huge deal out of bring your kid to work day, my 13 month old and two 1 month olds were the only kids living at home in the department so we got our directors permission and brought them in for a few hours. I wore mine in a backpack (several people were startled when I turned around because she was so quiet they hadn’t noticed her and she fell asleep after about an hour) until hubby picked her up just before lunch.
    Once my mom was in town watching the sled dog pup and I got stuck finishing something at work but mom needed to get on the road to be home before it got too late, dropping her off allowed me 20 minutes to finish up and she was here all of 5 minutes.
    Today I had to leave the house early for a doctors appointment and hubby had one as well (extremely poor planning on our part) little one could go to my appointment but not his so she went with me the hung out on my lap (counting her addition beads) until hubby was done with his appointment.

  27. Wintermute*

    I’m all for having children in the workplace… but I think it’s a better idea to have them at the hospital.

    1. Sled dog mama*

      This is both funny and cringe worthy to me. I work in hospitals and when I was very large with my first I had a physician, nice guy, very on the ball with his specialty (radiation oncology), tell me not to worry about going into labor at work, he delivered his sister’s baby.
      It turns out that I have some trouble telling I’m in labor until later on and this might have actually been a problem.

  28. Skeeder Jones*

    I keep getting a 404 error with this link. It seems like other people are not having that same issue. I tried a google search with Slate and then the title and I can find the article but still get a 404 error when I try to go read it. I’m not sure what is going on but you might want to take this down until it is fixed.

  29. smoke tree*

    Clearly having kids in the office isn’t really an ideal situation for anyone. The kid doesn’t get their parent’s full attention, the parent can’t focus on work, coworkers may be distracted, and the parent is probably pretty much unavailable to others while the kid is there. The occasional emergency is obviously different, but I don’t get these people who bring their kids to work regularly and don’t try to make any effort to keep them from being disruptive.

  30. Midwest writer*

    My favorite thing about this job and my previous job is how OK it has been for kids to come to work. Now, we’re talking about tiny offices (first one I was an office of one in a satellite location, connected to an office of 2, but a co-worker in that office of 2 occasionally brought her daughter and an iPad with headphones, second I’m now in an office of 4) but still, if something came up and my kids had to come with me for a day, no one would blink. I don’t live in the town where I work, but my co-workers’ kids (ages 10 to 18) definitely stop in on the regular, especially since it’s summer, to grab cash, check in if the weather closes the pool, etc. The youngest of those sometimes sits under his mom’s desk and plays phone games; my older two (7 and 5) have spent the occasional day with me coloring and watching cartoons in an unused office. Go into many businesses in this rural area and you’ll find kids hanging out on snow days and in the summer. Librarians have their kids or grandkids along, insurance agents bring their kids to work. I see it work well in these small, relaxed environments. I also hear from a lot of people whose kids are grown about how they did the same thing, or wished they would have had the flexibility to do so.
    I make sure they keep their volume down and that they clean up after themselves. I also taught my 5-year-old to man the front desk one day, on a day when I was supposed to work from home but my other three co-workers had a training to go to. We don’t have full-time front desk coverage, but I had to use the bathroom and figured he’d get a kick out of greeting a customer. None came in though, so he never got to use his new skills.

  31. pagooey*

    A friend once had to bring her 4-year-old daughter to the office when a group of us had been called in on a Saturday for a deadline. Another colleague did a lot of crafting with rubber stamps–made greeting cards, etc.–and had some craft crap in her desk, so we set the kiddo up in an empty cubicle with the stamps and it was great. She was quiet as a mouse! So quiet! You wouldn’t even know she was there, so…very…quiet…

    Yeah. When we checked on her she had stamped the entirety of the desk, cubicle walls, and herself, with non-washable ink, as densely patterned as toile wallpaper. Tattooed-lady-at-the-carnival style. Cleaning it up was hopeless; I think we all just pretended it never happened and that one vacant desk just looked like a 1970s subway car forever after.

    Said 4-year-old is now a grown woman, college grad, and roller derby star…and she DOES have quite a lot of tattoos, come to think of it! :D

    1. Midwest writer*

      I have three kids and am still occasionally tricked by the quiet. “Nothing bad is happening,” I tell myself. Ha!

    2. Former Help Desk Peon*

      The only thing worse than hearing silence from a room containing my kid, is him yelling “I’m OK Mom!” out of nowhere…

  32. I mean seriously folks*

    Here’s when I’ve been annoyed. As an assistant/receptionist type, and a younger woman, it’s always assumed that I’m happy to watch over any kids that may come in. I’m not.

    1. irene adler*

      Certainly they double your pay for this service, riiiiight?
      Astounds me that no one ever thinks to do that when they task employees with babysitting duty.
      Well, it astounds me that folks think they can park the kids with admin folks, like somehow babysitting is automatically another of their skills.

      1. I mean seriously folks*

        Of course not! And yes, I think it’s entiiiiiirely sexism in assuming it’s an inherent skill.

    2. Samwise*

      Yes, that’s bad, and it may be hard for you to say “no” too! If someone has to bring their child to work due to an emergency, then it’s on them to take care of their own child.

      1. I mean seriously folks*

        Part of the job is very often “there’s nothing I won’t do” so yeah, difficult to say no, in a lot of situations!

    3. "OtherDuties"*

      You could argue that this falls under “other duties as assigned”. I mean you’re right there at the front desk anyway. Plus, connecting with the boss’s kids a great way to score brownie points.

      1. Mean Receptionist*

        Ugh. Yeah, sure, I’m right there anyway, probably just painting my nails and reading a magazine, right? It’s not like a receptionist could possibly be doing anything else, why not just add babysitting in there as well. It’s not like a receptionist could ever be occupied with ringing phones and visitors in an area right next to the door – obviously the best possible place to dump your kid.

      2. M Bananas*

        That’s ridiculous.
        The receptionist isn’t “at the front desk anyway” she’s ** working ** at the front desk, and when she* isn’t doing a task right then and there, remaining available for incoming guests and tasks is part of the job.

        Also I believe there is a limit to what you can put under the “other” category – tasks so far removed from the job’s core duties, like say vacuuming, or taking care of plants, or dog-sitting shouldn’t be expected of the employee.
        Especially not something like child-care, which depending on the child can be a very sensitive and difficult issue that sometimes requires certification, and where regardless the pay rate is often much higher than reception work!

        * obviously a receptionist can also be a he/they – but expecting the receptionist to preform unexpected child care is more often than not a gender issue that most harshly impacts women/persons who present feminine .

      3. I mean seriously folks*

        Seriously? No, I’m very often NOT at the front desk, I’m running around doing all the millions of other things that fall under “duties as assigned”. And ultimately, the reason this is extra annoying is because it’s ultimately heavily gendered. No one expects young men at the office to watch kids.

        1. "OtherDuties"*

          I’m just saying, it might be your perspective that needs adjusted. Have you ever thought about why your coworkers want to leave the kiddos with you? They obviously trust you. Plus, it’s probably a sign that you’ll be a good mom someday. You don’t want to be the receptionist that thinks she’s too good to go the extra mile every now and again.

    4. Poppy*

      My boss tried that on me once. I gave him a look of absolute unmitigated horror and gabbled something along the lines of “I don’t know anything about kids and I faint at the sight of blood, so if they injure themselves I’ll be passed out on the floor while they bleed.”

      The boss got the picture; someone else offered and I was never asked again.

  33. Hope*

    To me, the biggest factors in whether or not you can/should bring kids to work are A) are the kids able to be quiet/behave and B) do the parents have enough sense to remove said kids when A is no longer the case. Because I have zero problems with a kid being around in general–and have fond memories of the handful of times I got to visit my parents at work–but unfortunately, the parents whose kids misbehave are also usually the parents who are oblivious to that misbehavior…or worse, see it and excuse it. I feel like 90% of the time there’s a problem with kids in the office, it’s really the parents who are the problem. The other 10% is because kids are kids, and there’s just some inherent unpredictability, period. I can put up with the 10%, kids-are-kids stuff. But I have no patience for parents not being considerate of their coworkers.

    1. Liz*

      This! While no one in my office really brings their kids in, they are encouraged to do so the last day before Christmas, and for bring your child to work day. While most kids are fine; i have seen some not so great behavior. The day before Christmas especially; we have a half a day, and those who bring their kids usually stay an hour or two, at most. And they have Santa and Mrs. Claus. And the culture generally is its NOT a work day, but one to socialize. unfortunately my job is such I do have to work that day, so now, i just work from home. I started doing this the year after someone’s child had a screaming meltdown near my cube, and she just let him be. Which impeded my ability to get my work done.

  34. Peter the Bubblehead*

    Back in the pre-9/11 days, I was serving on active duty in the submarine force. I was also a single father. There were several occasions when I was needed to remain on the boat past the time my daughter’s daycare would close, so I would have to drive off base, pick her up, and bring her back to the boat to sit in crew’s mess and finish her homework while I continued to work up in the control room. She never bother anyone, and some of the duty section shipmates would occasionally keep her entertained for me.

    A couple of years later I was on shore duty (same Navy Base) and her caregiver went on vacation for a week without telling any of her clients she was planning on being away. I found out the Monday morning when I went to drop her off. Not having anywhere else i could place her on such short notice (it was a school vacation week too), I dressed her in jeans and a denim shirt and gave her one of my command ballcaps and took her with me to muster dressed almost like all the other sailors. I figured she could sit in my shop break room and watch TV while I was working. My LPO was amused and very understanding and insisted I take special liberty for the day and take her home. My mother drove up from NYC later that day to take care of her for the rest of the week.

  35. anonymouse*

    Until we were old enough to watch ourselves, my dad used to bring me and/or my sisters to work a couple times a year – specifically, at the end of the school year! Dad was a high school teacher, and although classes in the district ended uniformly across grades, the teachers were on the hook for a couple of training days after that. We were well-behaved kids who could be reliably parked in an empty classroom with a book for a few hours, so it worked out swimmingly. (My little kid self felt there was something exotic and glamorous about having a *high school* classroom to myself. Many pictures were drawn on the blackboard in colored chalk.)

    The other teachers were obviously accustomed to kids in the workplace (it didn’t even matter that we were younger; more than a few of them had taught lower grades at some point), and tended to view our presence in terms of “hey, my colleague’s daughter who might be in my class in a few years”.

    My mom was also a teacher, but her students were adults, and I can only remember visiting her office once or twice in my entire childhood. Even then, I don’t think I was there because I needed watching, but because I tagged along with her when she was dropping off a file or something, just so I could see where she worked.

  36. Asenath*

    My father used to take me to work when he was working on Saturdays – he was usually the only person there except the women in the general office, and we loved it. Being allowed to “visit” the women in the general office was a very special bonus and rarely permitted, for the most part, we were with our father playing “office” with papers, pencils and staplers. In general, I don’t think children belong at work – although I don’t mind the 10 or 20 minute visit of a new baby with its parent – but if children are there, they need to be quiet and well-behaved. One of my coworkers does, very rarely, bring her children in, but they don’t cause any disturbance at all, so in a case like that, I have no reason to complain about them. Of course, this is in a office setting – many workplaces are too dangerous for any outsider to visit because special training and equipment is needed to work there.

    This is one of the many, many situations that work well for a lot of people – but then there’s the minority who cause problems (in this case, bring in sick or noisy children) that means that everyone, including the people who sometimes brought in a well-behaved child, loses the chance to bring in children at all.

  37. What's with Today, today?*

    While I was in Junior High, I rode the bus to the radio station my Dad worked for, this was back in the early 90s. I would hang out there until he got off work. They had me start cutting commercials when I was 12. My Dad hated that job and moved on after 18 months. I, however, loved it, and have been in the radio business professionally since 2002.

  38. MuseumChick*

    I have a lot of sympathy for parents who find themselves in a tight spot.

    However, in my experience most (not all) parents severally under estimate and/or extremely down play the noise level, poor behavior, and disruptiveness of their child.

  39. Marty*

    I’m grateful to have a job that lets me work from home 95% of the time. This is changing in September and I’m in a bit of panic about what to do. “Sick day cares” don’t exist here. My kids would not handle my work environment well. Fortunately, in my country, sick leave or time off for sick kids is pretty liberal. I would imagine this is an especially difficult situation for Americans.

    I think it’s frustrating to think in terms of “well-behaved” and “poorly-behaved” child. A child behaves poorly often when they are subjected to situations that aren’t suitable for them, that is a reflection of adult expectations and environments. Parents need to be aware of what they are asking of their children and plan accordingly. I don’t believe there are many “naughty kids”, but rather kids who are not treated appropriately for their mental and behavioural developmental level. This is our adult issue, not a child issue.

    When a parent feels forced into a situation where childcare isn’t going to happen and they are concerned for their job, unfortunately, sometimes there is no solution that works.

    1. Guacamole Bob*

      Your middle paragraph is spot on. It’s also not just about the situation, but also about whether the kid is tired, hungry, overstimulated, etc. Taking my kids to a restaurant for lunch when they’ve had a morning at the neighborhood playground? They’ll probably be totally fine. Going out to dinner after a long day of activities with visiting family members after going to a different restaurant for lunch and skipping afternoon snack? It’s a crap shoot whether we’ll be able to get around to ordering food without someone having to take them outside.

      There are plenty of times that my kids would be happy to sit in a corner of the office with a tablet or some books or some coloring for a couple of hours. There are also plenty of times they wouldn’t, and trying to keep them from wreaking havoc and distracting everyone else would completely prevent me from getting any work done. So I don’t bring them in – I’m lucky my workplace is pretty flexible with sick time and working from home.

  40. Tessa Ryan*

    We allow parents to have infants in the office and on rare occasion grade school age kids. When the babies cry the parents just take them to our soundproof studio (that we only use once a week). With the older kids headphones and an iPad. It’s great for the parents and saves them a ton of money on childcare.

      1. Bunny Girl*

        Yeah I said that further up. If you have an environment that lets babies/kids (or dogs!) into your office, you need to say that upfront, like even before you interview someone. I would seriously quit the first time that happened and I’d like to know that going into a job so I can just self select out.

        1. Tessa Ryan*

          I didn’t know about this policy when I was hired because when I first started working at this job we only 13 people in the office and none of them had small children. The policy was adapted probably my third year working here. I don’t have kids, nor do I want them, but having an office baby around every so often doesn’t bother me. As long as they don’t run around screaming, I’m good.

  41. MayLou*

    I spend one day a week nannying for an 8-month-old whose parents both work from home. He’s mainly on solid food now with some expressed milk in a bottle if needed, but I do occasionally take him to his mum to nurse if he is clearly needing it. Otherwise I try to spend as much time as possible out of the house because despite everyone being as okay with the arrangement as I’ve ever experienced (I’ve nannied for families where the parents just COULD NOT clear off and trust me with their child, which makes it a total waste of time having me there), it’s still hard for the baby to understand why mummy can’t just keep holding him or daddy isn’t available to play the entire day.

    I can’t imagine trying to do my other job, which is office-based, while looking after a child, infant or otherwise. Both the baby and his 5-year-old sister who I look after when she’s off school are very happy to entertain themselves sometimes and I can clean up or just sit and read, but my main priority is always making sure they’re safe and not about to injure themselves or each other. No way could I focus on emails, make phone calls or write a report properly.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Your last paragraph is exactly why many companies that allow working from home have policies requiring parents to have separate childcare.

      1. Liz*

        yes! I have a friend who when she had her first child, her husband decreed that their child would NOT be in daycare. Ok fine, whatever. He then had the brilliant idea that he would stay home with him, while my friend went back to work, AND work from home FT. But that got shot down as his employer is one who insists on proof of childcare, in order to work from home FT. My friend ended up leaving her job, and staying home with him.

  42. JohannaCabal*

    This may be off-topic and likely to be deleted but IMO fewer parents would bring their kids to work if older, elementary school kids were allowed to be home alone after school and on bad weather days. I wasn’t a latchkey kid but I remember it being a thing with some of my classmates starting in third grade (I even knew a first grader who walked to school and back every day!). As far as I know, none of them were kidnapped or burned down the house.

    Now, I recognize you can’t leave a toddler or five-year old alone. I feel parents are now too afraid to even leave middle schoolers home alone. But I remember reading the Ramona and Beezus books and the older sister who watched Ramona was only 10 or 11. And there was the main character in the Sign of the Beaver who was home alone for weeks, if not months, surrounded by actual danger. One wonders what today’s authorities would think!

    1. Lucy*

      My 11yo can be left for an hour or two, but not a whole working day, and it wouldn’t be fair to ask them to care for younger children at the same time. It’s right that we recognise and protect childhood, and acknowledge the limitations of a child.

    2. Pescadero*


      My oldest started staying home alone at 12 years old, watching his 9 year old brother.

      As my wife said – 12 year olds don’t need babysitters, 12 year olds ARE babysitters.

      1. Iris Eyes*

        The internet says that Illinois requires a child to be at least 14 before being left alone.

    3. DJ*

      It definitely depends on the kid and where you live. I was a kid in the 90s/early ’00s and it wasn’t uncommon for me and my younger siblings to wake up occasionally with our mom gone when I was just 7 or 8 lol (she left a note and a lot of times she was just at a neighbor’s house or something). That said, ours was a unique situation because 1) my grandparents lived next door so even if my mom was out, we knew we could run over there if we needed an adult and 2) we were all fairly responsible for our ages. We didn’t tend to get into any major trouble. I don’t think my parents ever hired a babysitter or anything after I was about 8 or 9.

    4. German Girl*

      In Germany it’s very common and even encouraged by most elementary schools to let your kid walk to school and back alone after you’ve practiced it with them. Starting middle school, most kids take public transportation or ride their bike to school on their own.

    5. MeepMeep*

      That, yes. I was left home alone routinely at the age of 7; I’d walk home from school by myself and then wait for my parents to get home. If I were required to be babysat and never left alone, my parents would have had a much harder time keeping their jobs.

    6. iglwif*

      Yeah, my kiddo took herself to and from school starting towards the end of grade 3 and stayed on her own until one of us got home, and she was TOTALLY FINE, enjoyed the small independence and solitude, and got to know a lot of the neighbours on our floor as a result. And it sure was nice to not be paying for the before- and after-school care program she hated anymore! (There was nothing wrong with it, she just didn’t like it. What are you gonna do.)

      We got a lot of flak from some other parents because she was “way too young”, but oh well!

  43. Jaybeetee*

    Often as kids, my brother and I would be brought to my dad’s work in lieu of childcare or babysitting (We did have sitters and summer activities, more for gaps in the schedule or if something fell through). He worked for himself and had a suite of offices for himself, his secretary, an an occasional accountant or other worker. So my brother and I would be parked in a spare office, playing on the computer (pre-internet), reading books, playing with whatever toys we’d brought with us, and bugging our dad for money so we could go to the corner store. He worked adjacent to a school, so sometimes we’d go to the playground there. It wasn’t too bad, though in hindsight we must have still been underfoot a lot – I remember interrupting my dad during client meetings to get money to go to the store.

    The worst were a couple of occasions when I was sick, and neither mom not dad could take the day to stay home with me, so I had to go in with Dad. Obviously there was nowhere good to lie down, those days were pretty miserable.

    This happened often enough that when I had Take Your Kid To Work day in high school, it was all just a giant shrug for me.

  44. CanuckCat*

    One of my co-workers occasionally brings one of her two kids to the office in an emergency, but usually they just hang out in her office with the door closed. Right before the holidays her older kid did sit in on one of our meetings, which was actually very cute; she got designated ‘note taker’ and very diligently took notes in crayon on a spare pad of paper through the whole meeting.

  45. EEK! The Manager*

    I just found out that my daughter’s day care needs to close for 4 weeks in August instead of the expected 2 weeks. I mentioned to my boss that I’m stressed about finding temporary child care. My boss said “Don’t worry, just bring her to work with you!” Yeah, no. She’s two and a half and in full toddler mode. I would get literally nothing done and neither would my colleagues.

    1. lnelson in Tysons*

      And I do mean this sincerely, your co-workers will love you that you don’t bring in the child whom you know won’t fit well.
      So on the days that you might be cornered that you have to bring her, they will be more understanding knowing that you found something else for the majority of the time.
      It’s the clueless parents to think that there is nothing wrong with their screaming child that I find more annoying.

    2. Ann Perkins*

      Oh gosh, 4 weeks! I have a 2.5 year old and have been told the same thing. The week between Christmas and New Year’s is prime vacation time and they’d rather me be at work, but… no, the toddler years are the worst for bringing kids to work. When he was a baby he could happily play on the floor and would still be in the same spot if you took your eyes off him for a moment. Now if I take my eyes off him for a moment he’s climbed on top of something high or is making a mess.

  46. Anonymeece*

    I hire mostly P/Ters, and we have a lot of moms with young to high school age kids working here. I try to be lenient if childcare falls through, but sometimes it’s aggravating. One person brought her kids in, and they were pretty well-behaved and managed themselves (although daughter put her shoes up on a chair and mom had to have a talk with her). Another, though, brought her son in and apparently thought it would be okay if he practiced his musical instrument at work. Imagine a kid trying to master a recorder while people were working. Yeeeeah.

    What’s worst, though, is when clients bring their kids in. One ran around, knocking things over, literally trying to climb another client’s leg, and generally being a nuisance and loud. Mom was not interested in controlling him at all. We tried bribing him with some crayons, but no. And then she was livid and gave a whole speech about how she was a single mom trying to raise a kid by herself, and she couldn’t afford childcare, etc. when we asked her to keep her kid from distracting others. I am in full sympathy for how hard it can be to juggle work and a kid, but it’s not fair to everyone else when they’re drafted as babysitters with no authority.

  47. MV*

    The worse is when parents bring in their sick children to give all their germs to their coworkers. I have a medical condition that lowers my immune system and if your kid is too sick for school they are too sick for you to bring to the office. Its so selfish and disrespectful. I no longer trust the judgement of those people.

  48. BetsyTacy*

    I will forever be thankful that for the 3 years of my kid’s life where I had one of those jobs that didn’t understand that sometimes you need to leave. I did everything right. I had childcare, back up childcare, back up to my back up childcare.

    And yet, there were days where I would find out at 5:24PM (I left at 5:25PM on a ‘normal’ day) that some critical assignment was due and I couldn’t leave until it was done. In those cases, I picked up my kid and brought him back to the office. I would either put him in a backpack or (when he got a bit older) set him up on one of my two monitors watching Elmo.

    It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with and I am eternally thankful to my coworkers who just went along with it. Thank you, coworkers out there, who have ‘gotten’ that somebody had no other option rather than bring Kiddo to work.

  49. Anonymeece*

    I think the comment box ate my last one.

    I’ve seen it work and I’ve seen it not work. One of my employees had to bring her two daughters in, and aside from one putting her feet up on a chair and getting ~the look~ from her mom, they were fine. Another brought her son in and decided it would be a good idea to have him practice his musical instrument during the workday. I heard the first uneven shrieks of a recorder and made it out of my office to where she was in record time to let her know that wasn’t going to work.

    The worst are clients’ kids though. We had one who came in and completely ignored her four(?)-year-old son, who knocked things off desks, attempted to climb up another client’s leg, and was loud and acting like a typical four-year-old. We tried bribing him with crayons, but no. When we finally asked her to please keep her son from disrupting others, she freaked out on me and told me that she was a single mom and couldn’t afford childcare, etc. Which I am sympathetic to, but it’s not fair to anyone: the employees who got drafted as babysitters with no authority or the other clients who actually expected work to get done. So I am sympathetic that U.S. society doesn’t leave a whole lot of options, but that doesn’t negate the fact that most kids, especially very young ones, are just not conducive to a work environment.

  50. Foila*

    At a previous job my boss would occasionally bring in her chatty, Pokemon-obsessed 9 year old. She had an office, which he stayed in, but the bathroom was outside the secured area, so she had to walk him there and back. On the walk back they passed the lab, and I have fond memories of hearing him say, “Mom, can I talk to people?” (like, he didn’t really care who they were). “Nope!” But once he escaped, and talked non-stop at us for a few minutes before his mom retrieved him.

    It would have been annoying if it was a regular occurrence, but just once was pretty funny/cute.

  51. lnelson in Tysons*

    Yes there are many factors involved whether this works or not.
    I have a few vague memories of going into the office with Mom, but her office was a pick up point. One summer I went to a day summer camp, but the timing was such that it made more sense for Mom to get to work a little earlier and I would be at the office for a little over an hour then the carpool would take me to camp. I would get dropped back at the office afterwards maybe 30-45 minutes before Mom was scheduled to leave for the day. She had a few things in her office for me (books or the like) to keep me quiet for the time that I was there.
    Later in life (jr high) I had to go into the office with her again. I had books (this was pre-cell phone days) puzzle books. Please no comments on child labor laws. I did often get volunteered to stuff envelops, some filing. Just to keep me quite and busy.

  52. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

    My work is aggressively kid friendly. Parents can bring their kids to work for the first six months of life. They do disrupt, and do cry, and do blow out diapers but even as a child free person I am glad they are around. It makes it clear that my work is life>work

  53. Emarellelle*

    I had to bring my kid to work with me one day when the power at her day care went out. Husband had stuff he couldn’t move around, my job required coverage and it was the end of the month so no one could leave their desks to do my job. So she played on the floor behind me and ate Cheerios at another Admin’s desk. Our grand boss had about 900 questions, but our immediate boss just said “this day has gone to shit, we are putting out fires the best way we know how.”

  54. hula-la*

    I remember going in to work with my mom when I was younger. I really enjoyed those times, and hope that I wasn’t a hindrance to her colleagues. But, I do embarrassingly remember when I was in Junior High. My dad’s office was a block or so away from the school. I remember coming there one day and bursting into tears (if I remember correctly, I was upset, because someone who I helped tutor got a better final mark than I did). I feel so bad for my dad, having a sobbing teenager in his office. I owe him big for that!

    1. BottleBlonde*

      Oh no haha. My mom has a similar story of walking to my grandpa’s office building, sobbing, to tell him she failed her drivers license test. My grandpa was away from his desk so the secretary had to walk a crying teen all over the building to find him. I think my mom and grandpa looked back on that mostly with humor (much) after the fact.

  55. OlympiasEpiriot*

    Another person chiming in to say it all depends on the kid and the office set up.

    Way back in the dark ages when I was a kid, my father had his own office (with an anteroom with a secretary) and my mother had left us. The school bus order was redirected to start dropping me off at my father’s office building (all the same organization), the driver even took me into the building and up the elevator…to accomplish this, I was now the last off the bus so no one was left unsupervised. I turned the knee hole in my father’s desk into my private fort and read and drew most of the time. He mostly used the conference table in his office as a desk, so that didn’t seem to bother him much. Some people (all female) across the hall were extremely welcoming to me to the point of letting me help out with filing (and teaching me how to do said filing). I was under strict instructions to behave myself and not embarrass him.

    Years later, as an adult, I told him that I hope everyone was as accommodating to children of women in the building when they had their lives in upheaval as everyone was to him. He had a title and a large office. Most of the women didn’t.

    1. OlympiasEpiriot*

      Btw, a ps to the above. Yes, he had enough money to pay for a babysitter, but, it took him a while to find someone he trusted and I think he was worried about me being with a new person at that time. He eventually did, but, she was someone who made her mission (literally) helping the children of families dealing with divorce/abandonment/death. It was a rather socially conservative place and my parents were an anomaly. She was very kind and I remember her and her family fondly, but, I was a “good work”.

  56. StaceyIzMe*

    This one is kind of hard because so many people don’t have much in the way of margin for childcare- one uncooperative/ irresponsible co-parent or one sick babysitter can tank a well crafted plan. That said, even well behaved children are at risk in the office. While they may not cause any disruption, they could be injured on sharp corners/ hard edges of furniture and machines, overlooked in a fire or power outage necessitating evacuation, or accidentally ingest a little something they shouldn’t (white-out, toner, industrial cleaner, air freshener, some random person’s medication that was left in a desk drawer). I guess my point is that anyone’s heart would be inclined to make room for kids coming to work due to hardship of one sort or another, but it poses at least modest risk to the child, in my view. For every parent who KNOWS that their little schmoopums will stay put in that conference room until mid-morning coffee break (and so forth to lunch, snack, and last exit for the day), there are a group who sort of HOPE that things might play out that way and a group who know there’s no WAY things will play out that way with their kid(s). It’s not a way to run a railroad. Letting people work from home, change hours worked or take leave, if needed, is also kind and probably more practical.

  57. Essess*

    Years ago when I was an accounts receivable clerk at a hospital, my office was just outside the door leading to the CEO’s office. The CFO came in for a meeting with the CEO one day, and as the CFO walked past my desk he dumped his toddler onto my lap without a word and walked into the CEO’s office for his closed-door meeting.

    I was furious, but I had to keep my mouth shut and entertain the child until the meeting was over. To add to the insult, everyone in the office knew that I intensely disliked children. I chose not to have any myself and I don’t fawn over children that are brought in. I am perfectly fine with other people liking/having children and I will be polite, but I don’t wish to be around them so everyone else thought it was amusing. It was not amusing to me.

    1. Mr. Shark*

      That’s horrible. I don’t know how you would respond to that, except walk right back in the room and drop the kid back on his father’s lap, and walk out.

    2. Jamie*

      How horrible for the child to be dumped into the lap of a stranger with no reassurances or introduction. :(

  58. Mr. Shark*

    Ah, the good old days. My brother and I would often go on trips with my dad for his work during the summer. I remember one week we just sat in the car and parking lot and played all day. Our dad would give us money and we’d walk down to the donut place or 7-Eleven and buy something. We were only 10 and 8. Apparently he eventually got told that it was unacceptable to do that, but we had no problem with it. We liked going to work with him.

  59. Nannerdoodle*

    My mom is a pharmacist, and she worked nights a lot when my brother and I were kids. My parents would do a kid hand-off about an hour or two before she finished her shift. My brother and I would camp out in the conference room quietly watching movies on the old TV. Usually we’d be packed up and gone before most of her coworkers came in to work.

  60. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

    I’ve seen a lot of times where this works and a lot of times where it doesn’t work.

    I was once a trailing partner on a musician’s retreat (my then-SO was in a singing group with about 15 other people, and they’d do a weekend-long group retreat each spring). One of the other musicians brought her kid, who was maybe 5, and *did not pack anything for her kid to do* during the weekend-long retreat. I don’t think there were any other little kids there either, but could be wrong (I’m not really a “little kid” person in general). I know there were some older kids, as well as a dog or two and various other adult partners and such. I ended up rummaging through the assorted games at the retreat location and spending a lot of hours building random things out of Jenga blocks with someone else’s kid because I didn’t need to be at rehearsals as a non-singer and her kid wandering around with nothing to do was too distracting for me to read or socialize with the other adults. She’d also bring her kid along to their performances without any specific plan for what she should be doing. These performances were at faires that were pretty kid-friendly venues overall (rather than at nightclubs or fancy ballrooms or something), but it turns out that small children will get bored listening to the same songs over and over all summer and will wander off to climb trees and things instead. It was always particularly awkward when I was there, since the kid knew me well enough from all of that fun with blocks to come hang out with me in the audience for a bit, but she wasn’t my kid and I didn’t really want to run around parenting her while she found other things to do and wandered off again. I would then get the dirtiest looks from other random people in the audience because they’d assume she was my kid and I was letting her roam around climbing trees and such. (Her mom did not ask me to watch her or “drop her off” with me. It was more a situation where I’d sit down to hear the set, wonder if Kid was there today or not, and eventually discover that she was when she found me during the set and hung out for a few minutes because she wanted to sit down and/or to see if I happened to have anything fun for kids to do.)

    On the other hand, I’ve had parents bring their 9 year old to a day-long meeting (both parents needed to be there and this was on a weekend) and the only reason I knew their kid was there was because (1) once she asked to borrow a crafting supply and (2) she was very excited to get the leftover jar of pickles from lunch when we were dividing up food at the end of the day. Her parents brought stuff for her to do, and I think they just generally spent more time with her on expectations and how to behave around adults in her life, though.

    So much of it depends on the entire parent-kid dynamic, I think. My parents raised me to entertain myself without needing a lot of managing from them starting at a pretty young age, and once I learned to read I could reliably be asked to be quiet in an otherwise-quiet place for hours at at time as long as I had a book with me (if adults were talking, I’d probably try to join the conversation, though). I don’t know how much of that was just the kind of kid I would have been regardless and how much was parental influence, but I definitely remember the prompt in my house was something like “this will involve a lot of waiting so you should bring a book to read” if they needed me to be someplace boring in elementary school. I’m always amazed when people bring kids and don’t seem to have brought anything for them to do, particularly with little kids. I’ve seen parents bring toddlers along when the parent needed to be going through complicated paperwork with their high schooler, and they didn’t bring anything for the toddler to be doing during that time. Were they…surprised they had a toddler? Does their kid not usually need to be entertained? You just wonder how well this is working in other parts of their life.

    1. WS*

      Yes, the parent-child dynamic is really key to this. A pharmacist at my workplace brought her extraordinarily quiet, placid baby to work for most of the first year. The baby was not disruptive and nobody else was needed to care for her. Her second baby, however, was a more normal child in terms of crying and needing attention, so she made alternative arrangements.

  61. Guacamole Bob*

    One thing I notice is that many of the stories in the comments about going to work with a parent are from when the kid is at least 7 or so, and often older – I think by mid elementary many kids are capable of being minimally disruptive at an office for a few hours. The problem comes when someone fondly remembers the time they went to work with a parent and thinks that means it can work for their kid, and they don’t quite remember that they were 9 at the time and their kid is currently 5.

    Babies in the office can be fine in some circumstances. Older kids can be fine in some circumstances. Toddlers are almost never fine, unless it’s a 10-minute visit to pick up some files when almost no one else is around or something.

    1. BottleBlonde*

      Very good point. The majority of toddlers can’t behave like an elementary (or older) kid, and shouldn’t be expected to. Not fair to the coworkers *or* the child.

  62. Virginia Girl*

    Actually, I had a coworker’s kid in the office today. He was 15ish and well behaved so not a nuisance.

    1. Brogrammer*

      I had the same thing happen the other week – the kid was a teenager and brought his tablet and headphones. He wasn’t disruptive to anyone and I think he got a kick out of seeing what an office is like – most teenagers have no idea, I certainly didn’t at his age.

  63. Hello!*

    When I was a kid, my dad was the VP of a company and used to take me to his office a couple times a year on a weekend to help him clean and reorganize (aka the things I not sarcastically enjoyed as a kid). It was always so much fun to see my dad’s work but not have to worry about anyone being around so we could roll around the hallways in chairs once we were done and such. He also used to have me come up with a list of fun ideas for the company (they made recreational vehicles and games such as fooseball tables and pool) on the day and put it on his whiteboard. Funnily enough, quite a few of my ideas actually became realities and, according to my dad, the CEO used to make it a point to come in his office and look at my ideas.

    1. Hello!*

      And I still do help out my parents with work sometimes as well. My mom works for a university’s alumni foundation and I help her plan and staff events, I edit a lot of their newsletters, etc. I help my brother with graphic design and website work for his new hot sauce company. My dad has a side business with a fishing tourism company and I help with their social media and graphics. And my family helps me in my work (communications), whether it is listening to me practice a speech/media interview practice, editing press releases, or helping me with my wardrobe. We all support one another and it is a wonderful thing.

  64. Scout Finch*

    This whole thread made me think of my mom. She waitressed around town. Neither my or my sister’s (22 months younger) father was in the picture.

    I have the warmest memory of the cook, Issac Washington, watching over us coloring in the corner of the kitchen (sitting on bags of potatoes) of the truck stop where he and Mom were working. We were about 2 & 4. Mr. Washington was maybe 60. We were pretty good kids, but we were still kids. He would sneak us biscuits and gravy & brag on our masterpieces. We had no male family members, so it was nice having an instant grandfather. Because of him, we could pay bills that week.

    Mom and Mr. Washington worked at several places together. It’s hard to put into words what he (and his quiet support of a single, struggling mother) meant to our lives. Waitstaff at the places Mom worked in the 60s and 70s got no PTO. No work, no tips, no rent $. It maybe happened 10 times over 5-6 years. But my sister and I would stop and see Mr. Washington, wherever he worked (small town, no secrets!), as we got older. He was just a good man who made more difference in our lives than he could imagine.

    That said, children have no place in a commercial kitchen. It was just the way my mentally ill mother, with zero family support, coped.

  65. German Girl*

    When I was middle school age and older, I used to ride public transportation home from school except one day a week it didn’t work with my schedule. When my long day wasn’t a Monday, I’d go to the public library and read or do homework there until it was time to leave for the next bus. But some terms it was Mondays when the library was closed, so I’d walk to my mom’s office or take a different bus to my dad’s office and do my homework there and ride home with them. I was a very quiet teenager, but I vastly preferred the library solution.

  66. IV*

    I’ve brought my kid into work a few times over the years and it just doesn’t work. Sometimes, despite my lecture about being quiet and well-behaved, someone in the office would take it upon themselves to entertain my kid and cause some kind of noise or disruption. And my kid would see this as OK, because hey, it’s a grownup suggesting it. Of course, the other adults would be annoyed and the fault would fall more on my kid than the other adult. I’d have to come put a stop to things and be the stick in the mud. Then when he was older and at a different company, he took it upon himself to visit the restroom while I’d stepped into a meeting and a coworker complained about an unescorted visitor. That was the last time I brought him in, including for bring your kids to work day. Work is just not an appropriate place for kids, even ones who are behaving themselves. Not everyone likes kids. Not everyone likes your kid. Same with dogs actually.

  67. HigherEd on Toast*

    I work as faculty at a university and have had students assume that because I’m a young(-looking) woman and have an office with the door open, for some reason I’m not doing anything and I can just watch their kids while they go do something else. Once someone tried to get me to come back to my office when I was going to teach a class and find something for their five-year-old to do so the mother could have “quiet time.” Uh, no. I try to be sympathetic about letting students bring their kids to class as long as they’re non-disruptive, but I am not going to skip doing my actual job to be a free babysitter to their children.

    1. StaceyIzMe*

      This one may be influenced, in part at least, by the social media posts of professors holding a student’s child that they had to bring to class in an emergency. It makes for a very “feel-good” moment to watch the narrative, but the reality is that kids don’t belong at work, in school, or (probably) in bars- except, obviously, Whole Foods wine bars and similar establishments that afford mom / dad a glass of wine before or during shopping. That said, I’ve never seen an occasion where someone used excessive profanity or lewd speech when a young child was present without other patrons and staff intervening. It’s instinctive, perhaps.

      1. HigherEd on Toast*

        I wouldn’t be surprised if it was that. I have emphasized to my students that this should only be in emergency situations, not a “I thought I’d bring my kid with me because why not” situation (especially since a lot of the classrooms I teach in have a very limited number of seats and I can’t have the kid take up a chair that belongs to a student who’s paying to be there). I only had to really stress that to one mother I can remember, who was trying to have her six-year-old with her at all times to ‘get him used to adult places.’ But he would have had to leave class anyway because he was incapable of being quiet.

      2. Light37*

        I never had anyone bring a kid to my college classes, but one person did bring her dog. It was one time, where the dog had had a vet appointment that ended too late for her to take him home before class, and she couldn’t leave him in the car because it was winter and -50F/-46C. He was a sweet gentlemanly collie who was very happy to be petted at break time, and the professor was quite amused at her normally staid philosophy students cooing at his pretty, silky ears.
        That said, much as I like dogs, I still don’t want them showing up at every class (I’d want to pet them instead of listening.)

        1. Former Admin turned Project Manager*

          (I’d want to pet them instead of listening)

          And this is exactly why I frown upon the dog-friendly office. I’d never get a darned thing done.

  68. Tom*

    I am happy that i can bring my son – if needed.
    But, so far, not needed.

    All in my office know me, and my son since he was born (as i was employed here at that time).
    They know about his autism – and regularly people drop in to ask about him and tell about their kids too.

    We can bring kids, and sometimes it happens – but so far, no disruptive kids (the ‘worst’ was one asking for WIFI access for her iPad) and when my son and wife came to my office as we were going elsewhere from there – several colleagues were practically beaming at my son.
    Due to all knowing him and his diagnosis, it`s also a flexible workplace (yes, sometimes i have to spend an hour or two on a day off / in the weekend- but if i need to be home i can – so it`s give and take.
    It also explains why I don`t really want to ‘move upwards’ from where I am now – or changing jobs (i have had offers) would be something i approach with a caution bordering on paranoia.

  69. CountryLass*

    There have been various instances when I have either had to drop my kids off at school a bit late (they are literally at the back of my office, if I had a ladder in the carpark I could hop over into my eldest’s playground!) or pick them up a bit early and wait for someone to grab them from me if someone has been delayed. I do everything I can to keep them out of sight and quiet! But the older woman who sits next to me still makes it clear she doesn’t approve. Until my boss has to bring her kids (literally the same age as mine, give or take a month!) and she is happy to help find them something to do and interact with them even when they are being noisier than mine! Sometimes I think it depends on the person with the issue.

    We had one of the back office staff bring her school-age grand-daughter in when she was told she was too poorly to go to school (THANKS FOR THAT!) and months later we are still finding little hearts she drew on cabinets and folders…

  70. Delta Delta*

    I worked in a law firm where people had children but they really weren’t around much. Except one summer, one of the partners didn’t have child care/plans every day for his tween daughter due to some internal family scheduling issues. Friends, this child was SILENT. She would hang out on a couch in a common area and read books on her iPad for HOURS. She would take off her shoes and walk around in her socks so she didn’t make noise. She was there about once a week but it wasn’t consistent which day it was.

    Now, this is all well and good except we never knew when she was there. We handled a lot of really sensitive cases. And because kiddo is incredibly smart, she would understand if she overheard something. There were a few cases in the office involving people in our community. This led to people not being able to speak audibly on the telephone, because if child was there, she would be able to hear what people were saying. We also couldn’t schedule certain client appointments in the office on the off chance she might be there because she would either know the client, or there were kinds of clients who couldn’t be there if she was. She’s a great kid, but it’s hard to expect someone who is 11 to understand confidentiality. This wasn’t great.

  71. T*

    Sometimes people are oblivious they share an office with people. I had an annoying coworkers bring her ten year old in multiple times, despite the Vice President walking by and loudly asking asking if this was a day care, dripping in sarcasm. Her ten year old would run around, scream, and yell that zombies were chasing her, all which could be heard while we were on conference calls. Not cool.

  72. agnes*

    Once in a blue moon we will have someones’ child at work. And sometimes it works out well and other times it doesn’t. I think that’s how it goes with kids.

    I do think it’s harder now to bring kids to work because our workplaces are configured differently (open cubicles versus offices); a lack of break room areas, and a general work overload that creates this low level of stress humming around the workplace.

  73. Greg*

    I work for an international organization that has lots of workers from a specific country (including top management). The general protocol is that on days when the schools are closed, including most of the summer, they all bring their kids into the office for the full day. For the most part, the kids are well-behaved, and they generally hang out in the conference room playing video games and watching movies. But occasionally they’ll be playing really loudly in the hallway, or even come into our offices and start talking to us.

    I find the whole practice to be incredibly bizarre, particularly over extended periods such as summer vacation — I pay good money to ensure coverage for my children on non-school days, nor would I ever subject them to being stuck in an office all day — but that’s the culture of the office and I’ve accepted it’s unlikely to change. But it infuriates me when employees allow their children to run free and disrupt others. I feel like the trade-off for bringing them to work (and saving so much in childcare costs) should be ensuring they don’t bother your coworkers.

  74. Les Cargot*

    I will never forget the day I was standing in the doorway to my supervisor’s office, talking with him, when I felt someone tapping me on the, ahem, rear end. I whirled around in rage wondering who on earth would *dare* to violate me…. then looked down at a tiny girl, obviously pre-K, the daughter of another supervisor. The rage of course melted instantly — kids that age aren’t likely to have developed a good idea of where it isn’t okay to touch. She wanted someone to make her a paper airplane. No problem in a department full of engineers. :-) Turns out her daddy had brought her to work (no idea why, maybe daycare fail) and went off to a meeting. I don’t know what happened afterwards, but I do hope my boss read the riot act to her disappearing father.

  75. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

    I’m naturally a very quiet person who can entertain myself with books etc so I would have been fine if I’d had to stay in my parents’ workplaces for a while. Actually I kind of did when I was in middle school and high school, because I’d go to Mom’s classroom (she worked with severely disabled kids at the time) and hang out with the kids — I was technically volunteering.

    I cannot imagine allowing my niece who is highly overdramatic or my cousins who have pretty serious behavior issues to come to work with me. You can’t keep any of them still or quiet for more than five seconds.

  76. Light37*

    My experience with people bringing their kids to work:
    ME-a couple of times I went to my dad’s office- he was a college professor. I was at least in elementary school, and these were short visits only. I think my longest was one day when I was in the microfiche section of my high school library and didn’t hear the bell for end of school/bus pickup. My school was easy walking distance to his university, so I called to let him know what had happened and then walked over. He took me to the special library in the building, and the librarian taught me how to put security strips in books. That entertained me till he was ready to leave, and the librarian was glad to let someone else do the tedious work.
    OTHER PEOPLE- a coworker at the library I worked for brought his preteen son when he was on break. Kid was set up at a public computer/with books, and we barely knew he was there.
    Despite that, I would be hesitant to bring in a child who was not old enough to behave, or up to sitting around for hours. Definite ban on sick kids across the board.

  77. boop the first*

    Heh. When I was 5 or 6, we were between babysitters and my mom would pick me up from school and take me back with her to work (she worked the front desk of a concrete forming business). She would send me down some wooden steps into a dark basement filled with stacks of concrete tiles and misc junk! I’d stay down there, like a little troll, until her shift was over. I pretty much just messed with an old manual typewriter that was abandoned there. I’m not sure that would fly, now.

Comments are closed.