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Phone manners seem to be a lost art form today, but I think they are classic and timeless skills that are important for all kids to learn. Polite children, polite people in general, seem to be so hard to find these days, which means that polite children are so refreshing to meet, too.
I think knowing how to answer and use the phone is a valuable lesson, even in today’s world when it is usually so much easier to let our calls go to voicemail. But kids need to be taught how to use the phone politely and with manners.
- Speak slowly and clearly. This is one our younger boys need to be reminded of all the time even in just general talking when not on the phone. This is even more important when on the phone when it can be difficult to hear and body language can’t be seen.
- Keep conversations short. My kids are bad at this. All my kids since they all seem to ramble on and on and on sometimes. The person they are talking to may not feel comfortable ending the conversation, but it is also rude to occupy too much of their time.
- Don’t eat or drink while on the phone. This is rude to the other person on the phone. Not only does it make it more difficult to understand what you are saying with food in your mouth, chewing, slurping, and chomping noises are just gross to hear.
- Be thoughtful of others who are on the phone, and be thoughtful when you are on the phone. In both cases it is rude to be right in the middle of things.
- Always answer the phone politely, saying who is speaking such as “Hello, this is Sam speaking.”
- When making a call, always introduce yourself politely like, “Hello Mrs. Davis, this is Sam. Then, may I please talk to Billy?”
- Before hanging up with someone, be sure to thank them for their time and say goodbye. Never just hang up.
- Use manners on the phone just as you would in person saying please, thank you, and so on.
Be sure to teach your child about 9-1-1 and how to use it, and that it is NOT for calling just for fun. You could ask my oldest son about the time he called 9-1-1 and the fire department showed up at our house. He got a stern talking to from the police officer who came, and later that week we went right up to the fire station so he could properly apologize. He didn’t ever do that again.
Young children can and should learn to use the phone, especially in case of an emergency. However, they do need to be taught how to use the phone properly. Then, it needs to be practiced so it becomes a learned skill.