Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Parent Guide to a Pain Free Kids Tech Christmas or Birthday

parents guide pain free tech christmas

When tech toys work they can be fantastic, but there are a few pitfalls to avoid to make sure that you've done everything necessary to make sure the gift can be enjoyed immediately.

  1. Batteries!

    This is the classic one isn't it? Make sure you check the battery requirements of all gifts before you wrap them. You might consider putting the batteries in and then wrapping them or wrapping them along with the gift so they are there when you need them. 

    If you use rechargeable batteries make sure you have enough batteries for new purchases and that they are ready to go.

  2. Does it Need Charging First?

    It's really annoying to open up a new tech gift and find that it needs to be charged for several hours before the first use. It's definitely worth doing this first.

    Some gadgets don't come with standard charging cables because people have them already. Check and make sure you have one to hand. 

  3. Does the App Run on Your Android or iOS Device?

    Tech toys like Sphero, OzoBot Bit, Dash & Dot and Meccanoid have companion apps that are integral to their use. Tech toys often have multiple apps so it's worth checking them out in advance to see which one you'll want to get started.

    Lots of complaints about kids technology are to do with incompatibility with tablets. New toys may only support more recent iPads and Android support can be patchy and only support specific devices.
    Do check that the app for the toy or gadget that you have bought will run on one of the devices that you have. 
  4. Download Apps

    For younger children it's a good idea to install the app first (do this on Christmas Eve or the night before a birthday so you don't spoil the surprise.) Some apps will force an OS upgrade, you don't want to be doing that on Christmas morning! Don't do this in advance if your children if your children know how to see purchased apps. 
  5. Create Accounts

    Some connected toys require you to create an account or have additional features if you do. It's worth doing this ahead of time as you'll be able to get up and running faster on the day. Also servers can get overloaded during the holidays so it's good to know you've got this sorted in advance.
  6. PC Drivers and Software?

    If you have bought a tech toy like LEGO Mindstorms or an mBot Robot that has PC Software then you might want to get software downloaded and installed in advance.
  7. Put Screen Protectors and Cases On

    Kids will want to use their new tablet straight away. Make sure you apply the screen protector first. This is not always easy! Likewise for cases. You want the tablet to be ready to go when the child unwraps it. You don't want to be telling them that they can't touch it until Dad remembers where he put the screen put the screen protector and Mum manages to get the tablet into the fiddly case!
  8. Storage Cases and Boxes

    Have you through about where you are are going to keep all the bits that come with the gadget so that they don't get lost? Some devices have their own custom storage cases. If this is a toy that has add ons that can be bought later then remember to choose storage that will cope with additions.
  9. Gift Cards for Additional Content

    If the gadget is a tablet, children's learning tablet, media player or games console that supports downloadable content then see if you can get a gift card in advance. There are often discounts on gift cards that will save you money versus paying the full price on the day when you realize that a particular app or download will really make the gift.
  10. Online Tutorials and Videos

    Toys that require complex construction or setup often have online video tutorials or instructions. If you're not at home, make sure you'll have Wifi access or you download things in advance. 
  11. We hope all your tech works well on the big day.

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