How to Stop Your Kids From Ruining Everything at the Office

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Even if you've got childcare squared away for the summer, it's a good idea to prepare for the inevitable -- that day when the babysitter cancels or your child gets sick and your workday gets a lot more complicated. Experts weigh in on the top 10 things to avoid when your child has to spend the day at work with you:

1. Don't assume your kid is as cute to other people as they are to you

It's the whole "other people's children" factor, explains Scott Steinberg, author of The Modern Parent's Guide book series. Not everyone in your office is family friendly.

"As parents it's very easy to assume that everyone loves children, but many of your co-workers will not appreciate the office being turned into a romper room. It's one thing to introduce your child to a co-worker, it's entirely another to force your co-workers into interacting with your child," he says.

With that said, don't be afraid to introduce your child to a few people -- just don't overwhelm them, says Dr. Barbara Greenberg, clinical psychologist and parenting expert.

"They are not there for show and tell. Don't ask them to show off their talents. Just introduce them and move on."

2. Don't take them to meetings

It's better to take a personal day and stay at home with your child than it is to bring them to meetings where sensitive matters may be discussed, Greenberg says.

"The workplace is a serious place. Don't let your child sit in on a meeting that they would subsequently repeat something about later," she explains.

Your child's presence will affect the dynamic and mood of a meeting, and may prevent your colleagues from being as honest or as serious as they need to be in the moment.

3. Don't let them use a computer unsupervised

"There is all sorts of crazy stuff kids can get up to on the Internet," Steinberg warns.

The last thing you want is HR calling you up asking why you've been visiting certain sites on your company computer. "My kid did it" isn't always a viable excuse.

"They could download games that cost a lot of money, chat with random people or visit sites we don't even want to think about. It's the Internet. If they are sitting there bored for eight hours, they're going to do something dumb," he says.

4. Don't let them disrupt co-workers

Just because part of your day will be spent entertaining a child doesn't make the work day any less busy for the rest of the office, Steinberg says.

"When you let them wander around the office chatting with people, it's going to be a distraction," he says. "Give them something to do that holds their attention or they're going to get really restless."

Even people who typically love kids don't always find them so adorable in the workplace, Greenberg warns.

"They shouldn't be touching things on peoples' desks and initiating conversations with people," she says. "Other people will become resentful if they feel like they're entertaining your kid."

5. Don't just come in with your child unannounced

Now that school's out, if you think there's even a slight possibility your child could end up at work with you one day, mention it to your boss now, Greenberg says.

"Make sure you get permission. Instead of just showing up with your kid in tow, go ahead and have that conversation," she says.

If you're a single parent or part of a two-parent household where everyone's working, there's a possibility you'll find yourself in this position before the summer's out, Steinberg advises.

"Unless you're the CEO or chairman of the board, it's going to be a problem if you just come in and plop them down in a conference room."

6. Don't assume they will find activities at your office

Office supplies are only exciting for so long, says Deborah Gilboa, known as "Doctor G," a board-certified family physician and parenting expert.

"Bring some toys from home or chaos may result," she says.

If you can, pack a bag of activities or toys your child may not have seen before, suggests Julie Ross, founder and director of Parenting Horizons in New York City.

"Yes, this requires a little forethought and possibly pre-purchasing toys, games or craft activities that they can enjoy by themselves, but this 'bag of surprises' will stand you in good stead," Ross says. "Not just for the office, but also for long car or airplane rides, restaurant dinners and the like."

The novelty of the items will keep your child occupied for longer than if they simply bring their favorite things from home, she explains.

7. Don't forget to feed them

Yes, this may sound obvious, but many adults stop only once during the day for lunch, Gilboa says. Children -- especially those under 5 years of age -- need several small meals or snacks throughout the day.

"If you forget to give them food on the schedule they're used to, you're going to end up with a very cranky child on your hands," she warns.

8. Don't let them dress in play clothes

"When we put our kids in slightly dressier clothes, it reminds them that better behavior is expected," Gilboa says. "It's a non-verbal reminder that the office is a place to respect."

Your child will be less likely to roll around on the floor in a nice outfit than they will be in sweatpants or jeans. In other words, if you don't want them to think of your office as a playground, don't dress them like they're at one.

9. Don't let the noise get out of hand

If you find yourself reminding your child every two minutes to use their "inside voices," your co-workers are probably already pulling their hair out, Steinberg says.

"Voices carry inside an office. People may be on the phone with important clients, or have clients on premises. People all around you are trying to convey a sense of professionalism, and you can't have screaming and laughing in the background," he cautions.

10. Don't forget how cool your child thinks you are

Your child wonders what you do all day. Now's your chance to show them and include them in this part your life, Gilboa says.

"Teach them about what you do, and show them your favorite lunch spot. Take them on a tour of the office, and ask their input on something during the day," she says. "They're going to think spending the day with you is really cool, and they want things to go well."

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