It’s that time of year again. As spring fades away and summer is just around the corner, all across America people start to rack their brains about the best Mother’s Day gifts. And all-too-often, they come up blank.
One of the biggest challenges in buying gifts for moms these days is knowing what to get for tech-savvy parents who know just as much about VPNs or smart lighting as their kids. Flowers or chocolates might do for some moms, but not for moms who love to stay informed about cutting edge tech.
With 12 May fast approaching, we thought we’d help out anyone who is buying for a tech-obsessed mom (or mother-in-law). It’s not always easy (we know), but there are some amazing ideas around that will capture her imagination and make life easier. Let’s list a few that always seem to go down well.
1. Boost your home security with smart cameras
Unfortunately, home security is a big deal for everyone these days, with the ever-present threat of burglaries. And that’s especially true for parents who love to travel, leaving their homes potentially exposed for days or weeks on end. If that sounds like your mom, getting her some smart cameras is a great Mother’s Day gift idea.
Brands like Blink have come up with high-resolution smart cameras that can be hooked up to Amazon Echo or Google Home without any problems. You can situate three or four of these little cams around the house (or even the yard), and bring up live footage wherever in the world you happen to be. They tend to come with motion sensors (which can be toggled to avoid detecting cats, in case you were wondering). So any unauthorized intruders will be flagged and filmed. Night vision comes as standard, too, giving 24-hour protection.
2. Add a smart cleaning kit to your mom’s collection
Almost every aspect of household chores can be made easier with today’s tech, from storing food in a next-generation icebox, to keeping the temperature nice and cozy all year-round with high-IQ thermostats. However, nothing beats a smart vacuum cleaner.
Models like the Neato Botvac hook up to Amazon Alexa and other smart home systems, allowing users to issue voice commands about where to clean, how much suction to use, and how much noise it generates. When people come over for a chat, the device can be virtually silenced as it goes about its business, and you can ramp it up to full-blast to quickly tackle dust or grime before a big party.
Instead of pushing cleaners around into awkward spots, devices like this automatically sense their surroundings, so mom can sit back and relax as the Botvac gets busy. If only getting kids to do their chores was as simple.
3. Get your mom a VPN connection
Every tech savvy mom should have a VPN installed on her laptop and smartphone. In fact, pretty much every home should have one to protect everyone’s privacy and open up their streaming options. A good VPN encrypts your data, making it very hard for outsiders to steal your personal information (handy when shopping online). It will also be able to work around Netflix geoblockers, giving your mom the widest possible choice of TV shows.
When picking a VPN, be careful to choose one that has the technical quality and support needed. Many make big promises or lure customers with attractive price tags, but don’t actually deliver much in the way of anonymization or unblocking. Leaders like ExpressVPN, Windscribe, and NordVPN won’t let you down and will usually offer very affordable 1-3 year packages. So your mom and everyone else at home can be covered for the long term.
Check out our list of the best VPN services.
4. Help your mom master her fitness routine with a wearable purchase
Nowadays, moms tend to be more and more aware of the need to stay fit and active. In fact, hitting the gym and pounding the sidewalks is becoming an obsession among some groups, and that’s a great thing. But what if you could give your mom a gift which helps her to maximize the benefit she devices from her workouts, and helps her stay even healthier for longer?
Well, there’s no magic bullet where fitness is concerned, but wearable tech can definitely help. Devices like the Fitbit Charge 3 can record every single step your mom makes, monitor her heart rate, sleep patterns, blood pressure, and calories burned. It can automatically adjust to record swimming, running, tennis, cycling – whatever moms get up to. And it delivers a huge range of fitness plans, with prompts to keep moms motivated.
In short, if your mom is into fitness, she should have a wearable in her armory. If not, you’ve found the perfect gift.
5. Feed your mom’s addiction to reading
Sometimes it seems like moms are the most voracious readers on the planet. They get through gazillions of thrillers, historical novels, biographies, romance tales, works of history – whatever excites their imagination. So if your mom is a hardcore bookworm, a reading-related Mother’s Day gift could not be more appropriate.
If she hasn’t yet made the move from old-fashioned books to e-readers, a Kindle is hard to beat. Retailers like Amazon regularly slash the price of the latest Kindle readers as Mother’s Day approaches, so look out for a good deal. And you may be able to cram it with the kind of books your mom adores. So feel free to check her bookshelves, subtly ask her about the authors she loves, and add a few bonus titles.
6. Help your mom stay wide awake with a smart coffee maker
Being a mom can be a tiring occupation, which makes having the right coffee maker all-important. If your mom’s model is creaking and wheezing every time she makes a brew, it could be time to smarten it up and add some next-generation percolation to the kitchen.
There are some really creative brands working in the coffee sector right now. Take Smarter, for instance. Its coffee makers sync up with smartphone apps to let moms calibrate the strength and timing of their coffee from bed. She can see exactly how much water remains in the coffee maker, and connect it to Google Home or Alexa to add voice control as well. So, after a satisfying dinner, all mom needs to say is “Google, make the coffee” and the smell of freshly brewed Java will fill the room in an instant.
7. Make gardening high-tech to save time and energy
What if your mom is itching to get stuck into her garden as Mother’s Day approaches? In that case, some technologically advanced gifts can make a huge contribution. Take the Edyn Garden Sensors. When you stick them in the soil next to sensitive plants, they can deliver real-time data about soil nutrition and moisture, helping you nurture even the most temperamental flowers.
Connect these sensors up to smart sprinklers, and the benefits are even wider. That way, you can ask sprinklers to engage when soil moisture drops below a certain level, instead of just soaking the soil at a certain time every day. That’s not just good for flowers or vegetables. It’s also great for the environment as water becomes ever more precious.
Finally, smart weather stations offer even more handy info, both about your yard and inside the home. Products like the Netatmo Weather Station provide instant temperature updates, and can even monitor carbon monoxide levels. So they could be a lifesaver.
8. Smarten up every appliance with smart plugs
If you want a budget gift idea for tech-savvy moms, why not give her a multi-pack of smart plugs? These plugs may not sound exciting, but they can actually be a domestic game-changer. Why? Because they take ordinary plug sockets, and make them controllable via smartphone apps. With a smart plug in place, you can use your phone to turn on kettles and lights, engage air conditioners, or turn off hair straighteners if you forget before leaving the house.
They can also be a great way to start the day. If your mom habitually kicks off the day with a coffee, a slice of toast, and turning on the kitchen lights, all of these things can be triggered from the comfort of her bed. Not bad for what looks like a slightly enlarged conventional plug.
Find the perfect tech gift for forward-thinking moms
Although we’ve only really scratched the surface of possible Mother’s Day gifts, hopefully, this list provides enough inspiration to find something truly special. And if you keep your receipts and pick vendors with generous returns policies, your mom can always exchange products for something she needs.
But that shouldn’t be necessary. if you know what your mom already has, and what she loves to do, there will definitely be a gadget or accessory to enhance her lifestyle. It’s just a question of picking the right one.