Get a Kids' Tablet for Christmas?

December 31, 2011

Many kids' tablet products arrived on the market this Christmas such as LeapPad, InnoTab, and others. Kids decided they really wanted these tablets, perhaps to be just like their older siblings or parents. Our kids were among the thousands of kids who added a tablet to their wish list. The first step to giving a kids' tablet for Christmas was to actually FIND the tablet. 

Parents who waited until after Thanksgiving to purchase a tablet realized the demand, and strugged to find them in stock -- looking in every store online and offline. Many parents were put on a waiting list for their tablets. Even today, I saw on VTech's website that they are out of stock on InnoTabs and still placing people on a waiting list. I chose to plan out this expense and was fortunate enough to pick up InnoTabs for our kids before Thanksgiving at a great price online.

The next step was to FIND THE POWER SOURCE for the tablets. Manufacturers of most tablets on the market fail to include a power adapter or batteries. This is where the real expense lies, as well as the purchase of game cartridges, which I'll discuss later on. The problem with using batteries in such an advanced electronic product is that the life of the batteries is depleted very quickly. Compare this to the idea of our cell phones being powered by AAA batteries. The best power source for the tablets remains the power adapter. Walmart, Radio Shack, and other stores carry adapters in stock, but there is no way to ensure compatibility with your tablet. The best source for purchasing an adapter is the tablet manufacturer's website. They have competitive pricing and you know the adapter is compatible.

The final step to giving a kids' tablet this Christmas was SETTING UP the tablet. I watched as hundreds, even thousands, of parents flocked to tablet manufacturer's Facebook pages to complain about having problems registering and threatening to never purchase from them again. Of course, this started Christmas Eve and lasted until a few days after Christmas. The manufacturers plan for high traffic on their website during the holidays, however, sometimes the websites are still unable to keep up with multiple attempts by each parent to utilize the registration process at the exact same time. Knowing that I didn't have time to set up our kids' tablets prior to Christmas, I knew that I needed to wait until the "storm blew over" to attempt to use the website. This worked out really well, and just before writing this article, I successfully set-up and added apps to our kids' tablets.

Now, for the topic of purchasing game cartridges. I suggest not doing it unless you have to. Here's why: there are many apps, games, ebooks, etc. on the manufacturer's website. The selection is much more extensive. In addition, they are much cheaper if you have to buy them (ratio of 4 apps to 1 game), however you can usually get started with free downloads simply because you registered the tablet. Since I have two children, each of their tablets came with 3 free V.Coins (equal to 3 free apps) for a total of 6 apps I could download for them. Yes, I was able to load all 6 onto each tablet for FREE! That will keep them busy for a while. I plan to offer new apps as holiday gifts, or as a reward for good grades or good behavior at home.

It always pays to do your homework when purchasing new electronic products, such as tablets, for Christmas gifts. Planning ahead and watching what new products come out in late summer will be a gauge for what will be hot next Christmas. Remember accessories. Remember product registrations. Remember to have fun!

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