Your kids are asking for them, and you've relented. Here are some tips that will help you make gadget gifts a hit for the children—and for you. Some of these tips can help for those grown-up kids you're buying gifts for, too.
1. Check the timing of the gift's warranty before you buy: You don't want it to expire before the package is even opened.
2. Batteries, batteries, and more batteries! Find out how many and what sizes you need, and have extras on hand just in case. Also have a set of screwdrivers handy for getting into kid-proof battery cases. (Check our buying guide and battery Ratings.)
3. If the device is rechargeable, make sure you charge it up before you wrap it. No kid (of any age) wants to wait for hours to try out a new game or toy.
4. Some electronics devices made for kids—the LeapFrog LeapPad 2, for example—need you to register online, download apps, or set up profiles before kids can really start to play. Take care of all that beforehand.
5. Buying video games? Check the ESRB ratings to make sure games don't contain inappropriate content. And take a look at our reviews of ten great video games for the holidays. If you're just leaping into the world of games, take a look at our video game console buying guide.
6. Add a nice, sturdy case for potentially breakable gadgets, such as phones or tablets. Think about getting additional controllers for video-game consoles. And consider content for tablets and gaming devices: maybe an iTunes gift card, Sony PlayStation Network Card, or Amazon gift card.
7. Amid the unwrapping frenzy, don't let instruction manuals get tossed into the trash. While you're at it, watch for small components that may inadvertently get lost in the detritus. Also try to keep packaging, just in case you need to return something.
8. Consider setting time limits on usage from the beginning. Some devices, such as tablets made for kids, have built-in parental controls that help you maintain time limits.
9. Put aside some time to help kids get used to and understand complicated gadgets, such as the DJ Rock Dock, a build-it-yourself speaker dock kit that we covered in our story, Toys with a tech twist.