How To Take Your Kid To A Business Meeting and SURVIVE!
In a perfect world, we’d have access to a personal sitter who would be available to watch our kids 24/7 for as long as we want, whenever we want. But such things only exist in the lives of the rich and famous
(or in our dreams.)
The thing is mama, when you become your own boss you will inevitably need to attend or host meetings and you’re going to have to figure out a way to do it with your kid if you can’t find a sitter. Ideally, if you need to attend an in-person meeting you’ll find someone to watch your little one but if you can’t find someone don’t cancel your meeting, just take your kid with you. I know this sounds totally crazy and you’re probably shaking your head saying “Oh, hell no” but I’ve actually taken my son to countless business meetings with me this year and it’s really not as scary as you'd think. Ideally, you will never have to drag your kid into a boardroom filled with clients wearing fancy suits, but if you’re ever in a situation where you can’t find a sitter and you absolutely can’t miss your meeting don’t be scurred mama. You got this!
After taking my son to at least 10 meetings with me this year, I’ve kinda figured out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to keeping your child busy and quiet during an important event like a meeting. Below are some helpful tips to help you run a successful meeting with your kiddo. Yep, it’s possible. And if there’s anyone that can pull it off, it’s YOU mama!
1.) Tell your child you have an “important mission for them”
Just be honest and up front with your kid. Obviously if they’re a baby they won’t be able to understand what you’re saying but if your child is older than 2 they can more or less understand your motives. Take the time to talk to your child the day of your meeting and tell them what’s going to happen. The first time I explained to my 4 year old that I would need to take him to a business meeting with me he had no clue what I was talking a about. I explained to him that I needed to have a really important conversation with another adult that would “help mommy make money.” I told him that if he wanted comfy clothes, tasty food and cool toys he would need to be reeeeally quiet! Talk to your child at their level and explain to them how important it is for them to be really well-behaved and what the conversation (meeting) means to you. Your child loves and trusts you so they will understand because children love to please their mommies =)
2.) Give The Person You’re Meeting With A Heads Up
If you’ll be showing up to a meeting with your little one always give your client a heads up. Tell them you’ll be showing up to the meeting with your “business partner” (who just so happens to be your child.) Any time I need to bring Liam to a business meeting with me, I try to make light of the situation and introduce him as my business partner. It helps to lighten up the mood and it always gets a smile out of my client. Eliminate any potential awakward-ness by letting your client know you will arrive prepared to keep your kiddo entertained so you can focus on the success of the meeting.
3.) Take a tablet and headphones that are safe for kids
As a general rule, try to reduce your child’s screen time as much as possible. Not only is it healthy to have your children interact with something other than a glowing screen, it is a huge god-send when you have to take your kiddo with you to a meeting. Try your best to save tablets, phones and anything with a screen only for super special times when you really need your kids to veg out for a moment (like during a business meeting or a plane flight.) If you limit their screen time as much as possible, when they do get it, they’ll be so immersed with their game they won’t make a peep!
4.) Try and keep your meeting under an hour
You know your child far better than I do and you know what all their breaking points are, but generally I’ve noticed that most children can sit and entertain themselves quietly for 45 minutes to 1 hour without getting bored or needing to use the restroom (depending on their age of course). If I know my son will be coming to a business meeting with me, I’ll let my client know I have a 60-minute window before my kid-meter expires. Usually 1 hour is more than enough time to run a successful meeting and address all the important stuff without rushing.
5.) Take DRY snacks!
Never, ever take yoghurt or apple sauce or anything gooey that could spill and make a mess. Trust me, I already made this mistake (note the yogurt glob on his face and the desk)
Some healthy alternatives that aren’t messy are dehydrated strawberries, apples, blue berries, animal crackers, pretzels, or fruit snacks. Try to avoid snacks that leave a powdery residue on fingers (think Pirate’s Booty popcorn) and also avoid snacks that could leave greasy fingerprint trails like cheese squares and chips.
6.) Transfer Snacks To Quiet Containers
Snacks are usually packed in loud crinkly bags that make a ton of noise and sound obnoxious during a meeting. Make sure to open up all your snack bags at home and dump the snacks into a snack pack container that is easy to open and doesn’t make noise. I personally love this cute monster snack trap from Nuby. It has a soft rubber opening where your kiddo can reach in and grab some snacks without making a ton of noise (aside from the chewing of course!) We got ours at Toys R Us for $4. Bonus! if the thing falls over, there's no mess to clean up! #ParentingWin
7.) Take a water bottle
Always take a water bottle with you but only fill it up half way so your little one isn’t asking you to use the restroom half-way through your meeting. Remember your meeting should only last 60-minutes. Your kid will be fine if they’re still a little thirsty after finishing their water. TIP! In the event that your kiddo DOES need to use the restroom during the meeting, politely explain to the person you’re meeting with that your business partner needs to take a break and use the loo. Remember, being light-hearted and having a sense of humor makes awkward moments less awkward.
8.) Always arrive 15 minutes early to your meeting
Anytime you’re taking your kiddo with you you always want to arrive early to get your child situated and use the bathroom before the meeting starts so they don’t ask to use the potty right as your pitch starts getting good. Arrive to your meeting place early, use the restroom, take snacks out, get your kid comfy and remind them how proud you are that they’re “helping” you with your meeting! Use the extra 15 minutes to connect with your child an make them feel comfortable and loved.
9.) Bribe your kid with something they love
My son LOVES ice cream. Like, he’s borderline in love with it. I rarely buy treats for him so when I bribe him with something sweet it always works. If you have a super important meeting and you need your kiddo to behave extra well, bribe them with something they love. Tell them that if they are really good and really quiet and they don’t interrupt you during the meeting, you’ll reward them with a treat afterwards! And of course, immediately follow through with your promise to reward their good behavior and establish trust.
10.) Dress Your Babe In A Cute Blazer
There’s nothing cuter than a kid in a blazer. It’s simply adorable. If you show up to your meeting with you and your little one dressed to impress, the meeting is bound to go well. Having your child dress up for your meetings teaches them that their appearance matters, not in a vain way but in a respectful way. TIP! Consignment Stores like Kid to Kid always have affordable dress clothes because moms typically don’t buy button downs and blazers for their kids so their formal wear is super affordable. Go to Kidtokid.com to find a location that’s closest to your home. If you prefer to get your little one something new H&M has extremely cute formal wear for kids or, if you prefer to support small business check out Etsy shops for cute blazers.
Ideally, you’ll never have to take your little one to a business meeting with you. But, life happens. Sitters will bail and every single one of your emergency back-up sitters will either be unavailable, out of town, on vacation in Maui or MIA. It happens. And you know what? It’s really not a big deal. If you don’t make a big deal out of it, no one else will either. Check out some pictures below of a meeting I had earlier this year where I presented a proposal with my son.
We all had a great time together and the meeting wasn't awkward at all.
P.S. Notice the crazy table. That table is the epitome of being a #Bossmom!
If your little one must go with you, walk confidently into your meeting and say, “Hi, nice to meet you! This is my business partner
[insert name]. We close deals together!”
Trust me, no one with a beating heart will be upset with you.
And if they are?
You don’t want to do business with them anyway.
Keep chasing those dreams mama!
I'm right there with you.
Oh, and so are your kids =)
Besos Bella Mama