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Working efficiently when the kids are home

Check out these tips and ideas to manage your time—and your kids—when you need to work productively from home.

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»  Time management tips for all ages
»  Tips for smaller kids
»  Tips for bigger kids
»  More ideas for keeping the kids entertained

Image of son looking at a printed photo project


With a little planning, flexibility, and resourcefulness, it’s possible to work productively while still tending to the demands that inevitably arise when your children are home. Within this article we’ll show you how to harmonize your home life with your home office.

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Time management tips for all ages

Mother working on laptop while at a child’s baseball game

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When it comes to the fine art of juggling parenting and working from home, there are a few areas where organization and strategic thinking are always effective—regardless of how old your children are.

  • Arrange your office: You can multitask or organize as much as you’d like, but if you haven’t taken time to set up an effective home office, it will significantly reduce your productivity. Find out how HP can help you plan your home office.
  • Plan your day: Examine your workday and decide which activities will require your full attention, such as important proposals or phone calls with clients, and be sure to save those obligations for naptime, school, or a babysitter. Next, identify which activities can be accomplished while also watching your children, such as emails or busy work. With the convenience of wireless PC notebooks, you can take your work with you to your children’s dentist appointments, sports games, or even a day at the park.

Tips for smaller kids

Father working on laptop outdoors with young son

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Consider these ideas for creating a home office and you must keep your office door open to young children, prepare to face a multitude of distractions. Consider these ideas for creating a home office atmosphere that accommodates both you and your child’s needs:
  • Be flexible: Find new ways to be productive while still keeping an eye on your kids. For example, wireless pinting allows you to work on your laptop, remain near your children, and still generate quality work. Simply print important documents as you finish working on them and give them a final proof when you have time alone to concentrate.
  • Pretend: Young children often like to emulate their parents. If you have an old computer (or other piece of office equipment you don’t mind getting peanut butter and jelly on), set it up for them to enjoy as they “work” alongside you.
Image of AC coloring book pages

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  • Keep them busy: Children’s attention spans are much shorter than their parents’, so remember to have plenty of games and activities on hand to keep them engaged. The HP Activity Center has a variety of projects for kids, including printable coloring book pages. Wait until your children have completely finished each activity before getting them started on the next one—this will buy you more uninterrupted time between projects.
  • Have backup: Fill a box with toys or trinkets that your children have not played with before. When a moment arises when you need complete concentration, such as before an approaching deadline or during an important call, bring out the “emergency” kit as a special treat to quickly grab and keep your children’s attention.
  • Safety first: To help reduce the number of cables and wires that your kids may have the chance to pull, chew on, or trip over, try wireless printing or an All-in-One printer.

Tips for bigger kids

Two children lying on floor looking at HP notebook PC.

Beauty shot of two All about me superhero books

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Although you no longer need to worry about a diaper change interrupting a client call, attending to the demands of both your work and older children still requires planning and patience. Here are some suggestions for continuing the balancing act once your kids are able to better understand the responsibilities associated with working from home:

  • Go wireless: If there’s more than one person sharing your printer, set up a wireless printing network. Having a wireless printer will allow your family members to print from their own computers and retrieve printouts in another room without disrupting you in your office.
  • Get crafty: If you have an extra computer in your home, set it up in the office for your children to use while you work. They can print a wide range of crafts from the HP Activity center, such as All about me superhero books and Cootie catchers, or they can have fun crafting printable cards for upcoming holidays or friends’ birthdays.
  • Post it: Each week, create a copy of your work schedule and put it somewhere accessible to your children. Clearly label, or even colour code, your busier times, as well as the more convenient times for them to pay a visit to your office.
  • Delegate: If your children are old enough, have them help you with certain appropriate tasks, such as stapling, scanning, collating, or general sorting and organization. Even if it’s within a work setting, you’ll both appreciate the extra time spent together.
  • Entertain: Setting up a PC notebook, such as the HP Pavilion HDX Entertainment Notebook PC, in or near your home office is a great way for your children to enjoy movies or DVDs while still allowing you to keep an eye on them.

One last piece of advice to keep in mind: Work and parenting are both filled with the unexpected, so a forgiving attitude, along with equipment that keeps you flexible, will make both your jobs much easier. Check out the article, Go wireless! for more information on how wireless solutions can help you stay organized.

More ideas for keeping the kids entertained

Mother and daughter sitting at table looking at compact photo printer.

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  • For that special time you spend together before you start working, check out Digital photography for kids. Find all you need to introduce your child to the world of digital photography, and fun activities for them to do while you’re working.
  • A compact photo printer can be a great source of fun for you or the kids. Check out the Creative Effects demo to learn how to add frames, graphics, and other personal touches to your pictures.
  • To discover more creative printing possibilities, visit Everyday Printing’s Get creative with your printer.

Learn more

Take a free online class.  HP offers classes to teach you how to use your products in fun, new ways. 

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