Ok to Take Children to Work? NOT!--Kansas City

Real Estate Agent with Reece Nichols-Mary Wilcox 2008033300 SP00566133

Consider this...I have a ton of kids, the youngest is 4 years old, 5 , 14, 17, 20 and well the rest are older. I love kids of all ages.  Kids are not the issue. The Realtor taking their kids to work is the issue at hand.

Would I consider taking my children to work? NO! Not to the office if there were going to be others there working and definitely not when showing homes to Clients.

Why?  Simply put, it is not professional.  I want to be presenting myself as professional in my work. Which means when I'm getting out of the car to show a home, I do not have to stop by the backseat and unlatch a child from their carseat and walk to the door with my clients while telling little Tommy the rules over and over.

Where is little Tommy standing when I'm unlocking the door?  Am I paying attention to him or my client? Should I ask my Client to keep an eye on him while gaining entrance?  What am I saying to my Client?

Yes, this is a beauty. Tommy sit down. Do not hang on the railing. Yes Mrs. Buyer, I previewed...Tommy are you sitting?  This is a great home.

Ok, we're inside. Tommy's being a nice boy... a regular 4yo.  Are you watching him or are you conversing with Mrs. Buyer?  Are you giving them your full attention, scanning your MLS sheet to answer questions being posed, or are you able to look for those cracks in the basementor flaws of any kind, or are you just concentrating on making sure little Tommy is quiet and doesn't touch anything?

I would agree that if your child was 15, 16, 17+ and a Client could perceive your child is in-training to follow your footsteps for their career that it might be okay with prior permission from the Client. But, other than that, it is not okay to bring children to work.

What does Mr. & Mrs. Buyer feel like when they leave the appointment? You most likely, at several points throughout the tour were unavailable at the moment they had questions. They may or may not have asked because by the time you returned from retrieving Tommy from another room, they had moved on and didn't remember to ask, or they thought they might be putting you out by having to take your attention from your child, get your sheet where you could read it, etc. Did you really look the home over for them and provide the level of service you normally provide without child in tow?

Bottom line, if you have a child with you, they have to know by sheer circumstance that they are not going to be priority. Is that fair to them?  Even if you ask them beforehand?  They're kind of in a spot...

Well if I say no, then she'll be mad or...

And last, but certainly, not least?  How did little Tommy feel having to be jerked around and forced(?) to be on his best behavior for the hour or two while on tour? 

Hopefully, you'll take this into consideration.  It is so incredibly not ok to take your kids to work. Not if you have any intentions of presenting yourself in a professional manner.  The two do not mix.




Comments (58)

Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

I'm thinking that most clients would be very open to an agent in this situation.  Of course, it would also depend on how long the kids will be with you and how well behaved they are.

Oct 14, 2009 11:39 AM
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Mary, a lot of women Mom agents drag their little kids around on all sorts of real estate appointments. It is so not the place for them, but they don't have a caretaker at home, so it happens.

Oct 14, 2009 12:15 PM
Jesse Skolkin
Independent New York State Certified Real Estate Appraiser - Fresh Meadows, NY

Aside from the unprofessional aspect of having a small child with you at the workplace, you should also consider the potential hazards and the accompanying potential liability.  What if Tommy fell down the stairs, got bitten by the dog, or (god forbid) got into the drain cleaner under the sink.

Oct 14, 2009 12:20 PM
Geri Sonkin
Douglas Elliman Real Estate 516-457-7103 - Merrick, NY
Long Island Real Estate & Staging Expert

I agree that children shouldn't, generally speaking, be at the office with working parents.  However, life happens.  We are in a time consuming business, without specific parameters and ultimately I think it's about getting the job at hand done.  As long as you know your children and what can be expected of them, I think you can be trusted to make a decision (with your clients' okay) to take a child along when necessary.  As for children in the office rendering us unprofessional, I can't help but conjure the photo up of a three year old Caroline Kennedy sitting under daddy's desk in his office. Never made me think any less of him.

My issue is with people who bring their children to the office on a regular basis and allow them to play games on the office computer or walk from desk to desk, moving other agent's paperwork around.

Oct 14, 2009 12:55 PM
Linda Lohman
Fonville Morisey Realty - Cary, NC
Former Teacher/Broker

It's not professional, pure and simple!

Oct 14, 2009 01:11 PM
Christopher Webster
EXP Realty, LLC - Columbia, SC
Columbia South Carolina Real Estate For Sale

I do not take mine to work to just sit there! I put my children to work and it helps as I will ask clients do they mind or most of the time I drop them off @ the mall!

Oct 14, 2009 01:30 PM
Lina Robertson
AMAX Real Estate - Springfield, MO
REALTOR® Serving Springfield, Nixa and Ozark, MO

I am actually working with my doctor and his wife, trying to find them a new home.  They have two boys, ages 3 and 5.   Their children are a handful.  The first couple of Saturdays we spent together ended with the wife almost in tears because the children were not allowing them to look at homes in peace.  I did my best as a babysitter, but while I'm babysitting, I'm not effectively handling my role as a Realtor.  It was trying on everyone involved. 

Finally, on the third Saturday, I offered to bring my son.  He is 12 and has Asperger's Syndrome.  He brought his own tools of the trade (practically every toy in his room).  My Jeep was overflowing out the back.  LOL  I paid him $5 per house to babysit for us so the parents and I could look in peace.  Turns out, children with Asperger's Syndrome are sticklers for rules, and make the best babysitters in the world. Theirn boys LOVE my son, and I am able to focus on being their Realtor, while they focus on the homes.

My clients have thanked me over and over for providing that service for them.  Now each time we look, they ask if my son is available to come as well.  When I say yes, they say, "Oh, thank goodness." They have actually offered to pay him themselves.  Of course, I declined that offer.

If I am showing property to someone who does not have children, or does not seem to be child tolerant, my son does not come along.

Oct 14, 2009 01:36 PM
Karen Singbeil
RE/MAX at Mara Lake | Associate Broker | Personal Real Estate Corporation - Sicamous, BC
Sicamous & Mara Lake Luxury Homes & Condo Expert!

I agree it is not the most professional but as a mother of 3 who were all babies or not evwen born when I started in the biz I sometimes had to bring them along out of shear necessity of trying to make a living and please my clients at the same time so YES I am guilty but would throw myself on the mercy of the court !

Oct 14, 2009 02:17 PM
Darla Jensen
Edina Realty - Crosslake, MN

I wouldn't bring my kids unless it was an emergency.  Even then, I would try and reschedule the appointment.

Oct 14, 2009 02:54 PM
Ryan Hukill - Edmond
ShowMeOKC Real Estate Pros of KW Elite - Edmond, OK
Realtor, Team Lead

I'm surprised by the number of responses on here that say 'life happens' and 'we have a demanding job that's not 9-5, so it's OK.'

When's the last time you had an appointment with your doctor or attorney and they had their kid running around the office? Don't tell me doctors and attorneys don't work long hours. Yet somehow, they manage to have their kids taken care of while they work.

I hear agents complain constantly about their clients not seeing them/treating them as professionals ('we're professionals, just like doctors and lawyers' is a common one), yet we don't think we need to treat our businesses as a doctor or lawyer would, and make arrangements for our children while we take care of our clients?

Oct 14, 2009 03:05 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

You know what Mary... when I was 23 and married and expecting I might have agreed with you.  As it turns out, life does not always go as planned.  My husband left me midway pregnancy.  So there I sat a single mom.  My daughter was practically raised in a real estate office and has more likely at her tender age of 21 forgotten more about real estate than some agents will ever learn.  I'm lucky, she was an over mature great child.  She started professionally answering my phones at the office at about 8.  She took detailed messages and entered data into the MLS.  She's now a full time college Senior with not one, but 2 jobs.  She has wonderful work ethic, she knows the value of a dollar.  She treats her customers with respect and in a very professional manner *she works in collections at one of her jobs, she sells advertising at another.  So after a life of it that worked for me, worked for her, I respectfully say if the parent is in control as opposed to the child, it can be a wonderful thing.

Oh and the last fifteen years that I've been the boss, other agents in my office bring kids, grandchildren and one of my agents brings her mom.  Life happens.  And I promise, if you walk into my office on any given day, it will not be apparent that "one of these things doesn't belong here" no matter who brought who to work that day.

So maybe in your opinion I'm just NOT PROFESSIONAL, but since you've never done business with me or my office I don't think I'll change my office policy because of your opinion, which by the way I feel you have every right to have an opinion that differs from mine.

Oct 14, 2009 04:15 PM
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Mary -- I agree.  The only time I have taken my kids is when I am just running errands that don't require client interaction.  At one open house, my wife showed up with the kids and my youngest (5 at the time) yelled out (in front of other buyers milling about): THIS HOME GIVES ME THE CREEPS!

Not good.  I had a huge chuckle but kids can say and do the darndest things, let alone it's not professional.

Oct 14, 2009 04:47 PM
Harry F. D'Elia III
Avant Garde Residential Management Services - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

My son has become a local celebrity because I have him on my weekly radio show. I take my son when I have developed a relationship with my investors. It is an individual call.

Oct 14, 2009 05:37 PM
Reece Nichols-Mary Wilcox - Kansas City, MO
Reece Nichols Mary Wilcox BPOR, CDPE, ASD, SFR, AB

I'm not comparing a real estate agent to a receptionist at all.  It's the concept, period.  Whether you are a Receptionist, an accountant, whatever your job is. It is not professional to take your kids into the workplace.

I totally understand and believe that being a Real Estate Agent IS a lifestyle. But, that does not include kids.  I work long,weird hours and while I'm at work I work without my children. I completely love my kids and make time for them everyday.  The time I spend with them is NOT while I'm at work. Why?  Because it does not portray me in the light I need to be seen as a professional.

  I work without my children because it is fiduciary to my clients to give them my full attention. It's fiduciary to provide 100% of my attention to them to give them 100% of the benefits of using me as their Realtor. It's fiduciary to the sellers' homes not to bring non-professionals into their insured homes that may cause incidents/accidents to occur. It's my professional responsibility to my associates in the office not to disrupt their ability to work in a professioanl environment.

I have 10 kids. I even adopted 4 of them. I LOVE BEING A MOM & I LOVE CHILDREN!

The WHOLE POINT OF THIS BLOG/POST  is NOT to cut children or diss family.  THE POINT IS that anyone in any state of employment or business should not be bringing their kids to work BECAUSE it is NOT professional.  It's the aspect of professionalism being examined here. NOT whether someone has an emergency or a one time reason to bring them to work... The overall aspect of bringing your child with you to work is simply not professional.

Ok...I'm taking my horse and going home...he's dead now.  <smile>

Oct 14, 2009 06:00 PM
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


Not having children, I have never even thought of this. If you are talking about someone occasionally bringing their child into the office, I am sure that is not a problem. However, I can't even conceive of a Realtor bringing their child to a property showing.  Particularly with a new client. I think it would be perceived as completely unprofessional. 

That said, it is a reality that people have child care issues and, as some have said here, this is often a 24/7 type of business. If someone is forced into bringing their child with them once in awhile, what can they do? I just think it is better to avoid it if possible. 



Oct 15, 2009 12:25 AM
Reece Nichols-Mary Wilcox - Kansas City, MO
Reece Nichols Mary Wilcox BPOR, CDPE, ASD, SFR, AB

Thanks Linda L., Ryan H., Chris O. (and a few others) for understanding the concept of this post.

The entire point of this post is to examine or state that the concept of professionalism in the workplace leaves zero tolerance for kids at work.  In that "it's not professional".

The fact that "life happens" and some people feel it was necessary to take children to work in order for them to make a buck, or to hang onto a client, or just service this client, or to take them on this occasion or that...does NOT matter.

Remove the emotion from this subject.  Then, you have to agree. This is not subjective.  It is fact. (Come on all of you HR people , where are you when a girl needs you?)

Pretend it is not kids...Use something else in it's place. 

ANY disruption, anything that prevents a person from following work policy, anything you bring into the work place that compromises 100% of your attention and your ability to perform at your best. Anything that brings disruption to your associates, or that's not work-related that puts a strain on the productive environment leaves you in this light. 

note:  In case you didn't read all 55+ comments I'm a mother of 10 kids.  I'm a kid lover and totally family-oriented. So, no dissing on that note.



Oct 15, 2009 02:02 AM
Gene perez
Greater Mortgage Solutions & Valley Hills Realty - Santa Maria, CA

I think that depends I take my kids to work and they sit there and you would never know it I have shown houses with them and sold them.  Then again I have an agent who sometimes brings her kids and everyone in the office leaves because they cannot stand it and right before I blow she leaves so it depends if your kids can allow you to look professional.  Otherwise you hurt your image, disprespect your clients etc etc.

Oct 15, 2009 02:32 AM
Tim D. Wilson - The Horseman's Agent ™
HomeSalesLexington.com @ Rector-Hayden: Lexington, Kentucky - Lexington, KY

Hi Mary,

 I have taken my kids to the office before, but I draw the line once they reach about 400 lbs.  One time I had one of my kids in the break room with me, and one of the other agents accidentally startled her and my kid wheeled around and kicked the coke machine real hard.  The agent was shaking from fright for a few minutes, and it cost me a considerable amount of money to repair the coke machine, but it all turned out alright.  I don't think the other agents minded, especially since when my kid kicked the coke machine it caused a lot of the diet cokes to spill out-- so lots of us got free drinks that day!  Besides, most of the time my kids aren't even in the actual office, they are out back behind the parking lot grazing on a little strip of land that separates us from a neighboring building.    :-)

Oct 15, 2009 04:19 AM
Kathryn Acciari
Central One Federal Credit Union - Shrewsbury, MA
Mortgage Loan Originator

Mary, this is a tough one.  As a working mother, there are times when career and family collide.  I will exhaust all options before bringing my kid on an appointment.  If I do need to do that, I ask the client's permission.  Usually this happens when someone asks to see me at last minute.  I'd never bring him to the office for an entire day - not fair for anyone involved.

If I do bring him to a showing, I have food and entertainment for him.  What's great is that as he's grown older, he has developed a very good sense of what is a good house and what is not a good house.  And do you know what is interesting?  The times that I've brought him along, an offer has always been written!  So...maybe he's my good luck charm.  Maybe folks see that I have someone to support.  Who knows - it's just always worked out that way.

So for me - kids only if no other solution is available and the client is agreeable.  Otherwise, schedule another time.  Thanks.

Oct 15, 2009 12:31 PM
Damon Gettier
Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert - Roanoke, VA
Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE


Oct 15, 2009 02:37 PM