Telephone etiquette is something that isn't taught as often as it used to be. However, it is important that children learn to talk properly on the phone, as those skills will carry with them throughout their lives. A few simple activities can help children learn how to answer the phone and take messages.
Talk to your children about why it is important to answer the phone properly. Choose one of your children to help you with a demonstration. Practice different telephone scenarios, like politely telling the person on the phone that their parents are busy and taking a message. Stress the importance of what you shouldn't say on the phone. For example, teach the children that you should not tell strangers you are home alone or that your parent is in the bathroom.
Toy phones are a great way to help a child get used to using a telephone without using a real telephone. Ask your children to practice conversations with each other or with you using the techniques you learnt in role plays. This is a great way to not only help a child know what to say, but also to help them get used to holding a phone and learn to speak more loudly or softly.
Using Real Phones
Once you feel your child is old enough to use a real phone, sit down with him and teach him how to use the phone. If your phone requires pushing a button to answer, teach him which button to push. Teach him how to dial a phone number. Show him where the volume control is so he will know how to turn up the volume if he can't hear. Explain where the speaker button is so he can use the phone hands-free if needed.
Rewards can help reinforce what children have learnt and let them practice and apply things they have been taught. Create a chart where children can put stars or stickers for each time they answer the phone properly. Once children obtain a certain amount of stars or stickers, reward them with money or other treats that they enjoy.
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