It is important to teach kids proper etiquette, especially for handling telephone calls. Ideally, toddlers should not be allowed to answer calls, but you should prepare older kids to help them handle any situation. Leading by example is essential, so doing everything you teach them will make it easier for them. The child should be aware that the person at the end of the line should be treated with the same respect and courtesy he would get in person.
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Role Playing Games
Play a role playing game with your kids to reinforce good telephone etiquette. This can be done with siblings who are close in age or with your kid and a few of his friends. For the best effect, place two chairs back to back so the kids can't see each other while they role play. Give the children a scenario they might encounter in real life and let them act it out while you and the other children observe. For instance, let them act out the correct response when someone dials a wrong number, or what to say if someone claims to be a friend of the family and wants all kinds of personal information. Make up your own topics that are appropriate to your child and family, and coach the children through the role play, correcting where they go wrong. Role playing games are a fun and educational way for the kids to practice their telephone etiquette.
Quiz games are another way to help kids with their telephone etiquette. They can cover topics such as the appropriate places to answer a cell phone. To make it even more fun for the kids, turn it into a family game show with points awarded for correct answers. You could make up a quiz game about emergency numbers and when it is appropriate to dial them or how to respond to phone calls from strangers or from family members. If the kids are old enough, switch between rounds and let one of them ask questions which you then have to answer. This will further help them retain the lessons learnt from the quizzes.
Telephone toys can help teach younger kids proper phone etiquette. Observe them while they are playing with the toys and praise them when they use proper etiquette. You can also play with them and encourage positive telephone etiquette. Pretend to "call" your child and act out a greeting, showing your child how it is done properly. Then tell your child to be the caller, and respond to him using proper telephone etiquette. Encourage him to copy your behaviour when talking on the phone. Teach your child that the real phone is not a toy, which is why he is playing and practicing with a toy one. While you can buy telephone toys from companies, like Fisher Price, that specialise in educational toys, you can also create your own. Use an old telephone that is no longer working for your child to play and practice on, or make a flat version out of cardboard.
Cue cards are helpful for younger kids when answering the phone, and they can also be turned into a game. Show a cue card with a phrase or question on it and let your child explain when it is appropriate to use it. You can also add cue cards with wrong phrases, questions or answers that give away too much personal information so that your child can learn to identify what is right and wrong. When your child picks the wrong cue card for a situation or doesn't understand when to use the correct one, you can explain it to them. One cue card might read "Smith residence, with whom do you wish to speak?" and the other "Yeah? Suzie here, what do you want?"
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