Neurofibromatosis (NF) 1 and 2 are multisystem disorders associated with a variety of neoplastic and non-neoplastic manifestations that typically progress in severity during the lifetime of the affected patient. The importance of appropriately diagnosing these disorders stems from the fact that the natural history of an associated neoplasm, such as a peripheral nerve tumor or an optic glioma, may be significantly different depending on whether or not the lesion arises in a person with NF. In addition, the indications for therapeutic intervention, hierarchy of treatment options and long-term management goals may differ substantially for patients with NF-related versus sporadic tumors. Finally, recognition of the diagnosis comprises an essential step for providing appropriate multidisciplinary evaluation and counseling to affected patients and their families. This article addresses the principal manifestations of these disorders and provides a contemporary review of the diagnostic and therapeutic issues that arise in children with NF1 and NF2.