Who Is Calling? Teaching your Kids How to Answer the Phone


As you know, a cell phone or a landline telephone can be a very useful communication tool. In fact, most of us can’t make it through the day without answering the phone at least once. Does it matter how you answer the phone? Actually, it does. And if you haven’t taught your kids the basics of 21st-century telephone etiquette, now is the right time to do so.

Manners matter

Kids haven’t a clue what’s appropriate or not until you teach them. For this and other good reasons, be sure your children understand basic phone etiquette from a young age. Educate them in marvelous manners when you teach by example. When you answer the phone, do so with a pleasant hello. Adding your surname to the greeting is optional. Some parents teach their little ones to answer the phone by saying something like “Smith residence, this is Junior speaking.” Whatever opening line you prefer, ask grandparents and friends to make a few practice calls to be sure your kids commit the greeting to memory before allowing them to answer phone calls, advise parenting pros at The Bump magazine.

Play it safe

Before letting youngsters pick up a ringing phone, make sure they are clear about a few basic safety guidelines. Instruct kids to never tell any caller that their parents are not at home. Instead, teach kids to say mom or dad is busy but they’d be happy to take a message. Very young children have no business answering the phone, unless you are right there, see the caller ID, and give them permission to pick up.

The small charge accrued by monthly caller ID subscriptions can pay for itself over and over. Instruct your children to not answer unidentified calls from unknown phone numbers. If a particular unrecognized number continues to call, find out who it is via ReversePhoneLookup.org. Unsolicited sales calls can be blocked, and it’s a great idea to do so.

Phone tips for teens

If your adolescent has access to their own phone line, set reasonable boundaries and enforce them. For example, place a block on outgoing 900 number calls and paid long distance calls. Instead, decide on a number and buy a calling card with that amount of minutes to help your teen avoid racking up substantial charges, says Dummies.

Don’t eavesdrop, but if you become aware that your teen is using their phone to harass anyone, have a talk with them about appropriate phone behavior. If they continue to use the phone wrongly, take the phone away for a while and watch how their act improves. Most teens are terribly attached to their phones and will do almost anything to keep connected.

Phones are good to have, and they provide a valuable service that keeps people in touch. Explain to your kids what you want as far as phone etiquette goes, teach by example, and enjoy the wide wonderful world of telephone communication.