Parents often want their kids to know what they do while they're at school, as well as let them explore the job market. What's the easiest way to do this? The hands-on approach: taking their child to work with them! Take Your Child to Work Day is a designated day for workers' children to shadow them; they miss a day of school to see the workplace, find out what their parents do all day, and maybe even find a hidden interest in the job. The event can either be arranged by the kids' school or the parents' institution, though the latter is more common in fiction, because it means many kids will be at the workplace on the same day.
More often than not, this will have the opposite effect, especially if the parent works an office job. When a child's brutally honest judgment is put on their parents' jobs, they will realize just how boring their work actually is. To counter this, the parent may take measures to make their job look much more exciting than it really is. Alternatively, the child may take matters into their own hands and cause some workplace shenanigans of their own.
May overlap with Awkward Father-Son Bonding Activity. Can be played for comedy, especially if a villainous organization does it.
Truth in Television: Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day , founded in 1992 and continuing to this day, gives children from over 3.5 million schools across the the US the opportunity to get a glimpse of the working world. Also in a way, the COVID-19 Pandemic implemented this in many workplaces when many workers were forced to work from home.
- In SPY×FAMILY, Anya needs to write a report on what her mother or her father do for a living. After Anya's telepathy lets her see her adoptive mother Yor's gruesome Imagine Spot as the assassin Thorn Princess, Anya decides to follow her adoptive father Loid (aka the elite spy Twilight) to his day job as a psychiatrist instead.
- NUMB3RS fanfic Please? that has Don bringing his five year old daughter, Melanie, to work, even though he has said in the past that he was never going to do it. She also gets to trick Colby into giving her chocolate, even when he tries to avoid doing so.
- In the Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! fic The Harmony Trap, a weapon is unleashed on a bank during Take Your Daughter To Work Day.
- RealityCheck's Nyxverse: Used in chapter 10 of Alicornundrum. Nyx ends up sitting next to Twilight in Canterlot Castle's throne room while she talks to the petitioners, and actually does come up with an idea to help with one issue, but Twilight is too busy to listen. Nyx ends up writing it down (at Twilight's request) to talk with her about it later, and it proves to be a good idea.
- The Boss Baby has the title character and Tim infiltrate PuppyCo during one such day in order to discover the Big Bad's plans for the new puppy. Boss Baby, however, was initially reluctant to the plan when Tim points out the event happening soon.
Boss Baby: People take children to a place of business? Why?Tim: Because it's awesome!Boss Baby: It's disgusting!
- Exploited in Monsters, Inc.: Sully and Mike try to return Boo to the human world by disguising her as a monster and sneaking her into the company headquarters. When Waternoose wonders who the cute kid is, Sully says she's actually his "cousin's sister's daughter", and then claims today is Bring An Obscure Relative To Work Day. Amazingly, it works. Waternoose just dismisses his confusion by muttering "I must have missed the memo."
- In the Novelization of Turning Red, Mei mentions this was kind of a nonevent, since she and her mother work at the family temple.
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: In "The Third Wheel," Greg's dad takes him to his office job on the designated day. To offset the boring aspect of the work (and let the adults get some work done), they hire clowns to distract the kids. Greg watches his father work, and to get rid of him, he sends Greg to get some snacks. Greg returns with jawbreakers, which Greg's father finds even more distracting. Greg sits in the bathroom to eat, and his parents forget about him at the end of the day, only for him to be discovered by the nighttime janitor.
- In Loser (2002) by Jerry Spinelli, Zinkoff gets very excited by Take Your Kid to Work Day and his friend Andrew actually goes.
- Arrested Development: Exaggerated when EVERYONE in Newport Beach participates in Bring Your Daughter To Work Day, including Tobias (bringing Maeby to a private therapy session), the local police, and a prison guard. Subverted with Barry Zuckercorn, who just hired a hooker to call him "Daddy."
- The Big Bang Theory: The gang set one of these up to get rid of a Teen Genius who's been set up as Sheldon's rival. "Take Your Teenage Daughter To Work Day" is timed to coincide with the kid getting an award.
- Charmed (1998): Phoebe's newspaper holds a Take Your Child to Work Day in one episode. Having no children of her own, she doesn't participate, but being surrounded by kids serves to remind her her biological clock is ticking.
- My Wife and Kids: Jay brings her daughters to Take Your Daughter to Work Day. Unfortunately, it overlaps with Firing Day. Though her boss tries to be polite and put off firing her in front of her children.
- The Office (US): In "Take Your Daughter To Work Day," everyone brings their children to the office. Pam befriends Meredith's son, Stanley's daughter develops a crush on Ryan, and Michael befriends Toby's daughter while trying to impress the kids by telling them he was a former child star.
- This was an early episode of That '70s Show. Each high-schooler in their circle gets their character and backstory developed some. Donna works at her father's appliance store and gets embarrassed by his cornball marketing gimmicks, Kelso visits his father's office but cannot figure out what in the world he does, Eric works with his mother at the hospital and gains a new respect for how she can remain so cheerful despite seeing so many sick and dying people every day, Hyde works with his lunch lady mother (and so does Fez), and Jackie discovers she has a talent for fixing automobiles.
- Exploited in an episode of Years and Years; During Take Your Daughter To Work Day, Edith dresses her nephew Lincoln up as a girl so he can help her sneak into corporate headquarters for an undercover investigation. Lincoln likes the outfit and keeps dressing like a girl for the rest of the series.
- Discussed in Portal 2 when it is revealed that GLaDOS was activated during Aperture Science's Bring Your Daughter to Work Day. The first thing she did was kill everyone who came with neurotoxin. Close inspection of one of the science fair billboards reveals Chell was the daughter of one of the Aperture employees.
- Precocious dedicated a story to following the all the class girls to a bring your daughter to work day. Originally the boys were not happy that they didn't get out of school like the girls. However, once all the girls came back jaded from their experiences, with the possible exception of Yvette, the boys conclude that they don't need a special day because society is already rigged in their favor.
- In Satina, the first episode centers on one of these. In the episode, the titular demon is reluctantly brought by her human father Dave to his workplace. It doesn't go well initially, causing many problems for Dave. However, things get better when Satina manages to repair his workplace's server issues through necromancy, which results in Dave getting the rest of the day off with Satina and a living, demonic server eating the soul of an Otaku sleeping in the server room.
- Sonic for Hire: in the episode where Sonic works for Bomberman, he brings Soniqua with him saying it's "Take your daughter to work day".
- 101 Dalmatian Street: Dolly is excited to tag along with her father at the fire station on Take Your Kid to Work Day, which they for some reason participate in despite being dogs. The human supervisor specifically thanks her employees for not participating.
- The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Factory" is set on bring your child to work day. Gumball and Darwin's dad doesn't have a job, and their mom refuses to let them come with her to the Rainbow Factory since she's meeting with the shareholders to convince them not to shut the factory down. The kids sneak in anyway and find the factory much less magical than they imagined.
- American Dragon: Jake Long: "Bite Father, Bite Son" revolves around this trope. Jake's dad Jonathan brings him to work, but overhears Jake calling him a wimp. Meanwhile, Jake has to fend off a group of vampires who believe Jonathan is the American Dragon.
- City Island (2022): "Architect" is about Watt's dad taking him to his architect job.
- Codename: Kids Next Door: In "Operation: O.F.F.I.C.E.", Numbuh 4 is brought to "Take Your Daughter to Work Day" by his father, despite not wanting to be there. He ends up uncovering a plot by Mr. Boss to send all the daughters (including Numbuhs 3 and 4) in a rocket to Pluto so his employees will have more time to work for him. After the two operatives foil this plot, Numbuh 4's father plans to bring him back next week for Take Your Son to Work Day, much to his chagrin.
- In The Fairly Oddparents episode "The Boss of Me", Timmy goes with his dad to his job at the pencil factory. There, he wishes for an everlasting pencil and is made the new boss.
- Horrid Henry: "Horrid Henry Goes to Work" revolves around this. Henry goes to his dad's job at the toothpaste factory, where he is partnered to work with the boss's son who manipulates him into ruining the products.
- Johnny Test: The episodes "Take Your Johnny To Work Day" is about a special day when parents bring their daughters to work. Johnny finds it unfair that boys are the ones who have to go to school and sneaks into his mother's car and then into the workplace. In the end, the Test Kids get help from different daughters in Porkbelly to arrive home before their father without anybody finding out.
- In the Little Bill episode "The Bills Go to Work", Big Bill brings Little Bill to his job at the Department of Housing. Little Bill thinks it will be just like school. In some ways, it is, and in other ways, it isn't.
- The Loud House: In "A Novel Idea", Lynn Sr. takes Lincoln's ten sisters to his office for "Take Your Daughter to Work Day". When Lincoln is unable to come due to being the only boy in the Loud family, Rita takes him to her dental office. As he tries to have fun in such a dull environment, Rita tasks him with looking after her novel-in-progress. He sneaks off to go to the arcade but accidentally leaves Rita's novel there, resulting in it getting thrown away by accident. Although the novel ends up getting destroyed, Lincoln's adventure in trying to get it back gives Rita the idea for a new story.
- In the Olivia episode "Olivia's Day at the Office", Olivia and Ian accompany their dad to work. Havoc ensues when Ian brings his frog along.
- Taken to a funny extreme in Robot Chicken where Gary the Stormtrooper takes his daughter to work ... to the Devastator ... where she meets Darth Vader, participates in the boarding of Leia's Blockade Runner, and ends up with her father on Tatooine where he's the subject of Ben's Jedi Mind Trick.
- The Simpsons:
- In "Bart on the Road", Bart tries to exploit this by claiming that Marge is a homemaker, so he gets to lounge around the house all day. It works until Marge discovers a disclaimer in the school's fill-in form saying they don't consider homemaking a real job, so Lisa suggests to Marge that he stay with his aunts Patty and Selma, who work at the DMV. Bart is very bored until he gets the idea to get a drivers' license for himself. In the episode's subplot, Lisa enjoys working with Homer at the power plant. Meanwhile, for one-off jokes, Milhouse visits his father at the unusually thrilling cracker factory and Martin blows his stock-broker father's money on soy stocks.
- In "The Princess Guide", as part of the setup for the main plot, Homer brings Lisa to the plant and was showing her around when she notices her lunch is ruined. Homer gets her a replacement meal and they hug, which is seen by Mr. Burns, who was presently negotiating with a Nigerian king. The sight inspires Burns to have Homer look after the king's daughter.
- "Undercover Burns" begins with the power plant hosting a "Take Your Kids to Work Day" with attractions such as "Touch the Plutonium" booth and a bounce house shaped like Mr. Burns' head. However, Burns quickly reveals the true reason for the event was free child labor, and unfurls a banner reading "Put Your Kids to Work Day".
- SpongeBob SquarePants: Inverted in "Momageddon", when the Krusty Krab has "Bring Your Mom to Work Day", and SpongeBob's mother takes his place in the kitchen while Squidward's and Krabs's mothers nag them about how they do their jobs.