Class Ideas ~ Using The Telephone

You might think making a phone call is easy, but for a child not so much. One of the many things that aren’t taught and should be is the etiquette part of the call.

Before explaining the numbers on the phone and how they work, it is important to teach them the proper salutations.

Below are a few dozen of these that a child should not only know, but that they should be able to use in any situation. Teaching them these things help them to navigate the world they are about to enter. It is much easier to get the information they will need if they know how to successfully use a person’s work title when they are on the phone with people. There are also generational titles depending on the age of the person on the other side of the connection.

Certain titles have to be sorted out quickly.

1. So, your child has picked up the phone to call their grandparent. Usually they have a name they call them that the grandparent has given permission for the child to use. Anything that is the normal salutation will do. Grandma, grandmother, Grandpa, grandfather, grands, gma, nona, pawpa, sir, ma’am, there are many different forms. It really does depend on what that particular human wants to be called. The child needs to know what is acceptable to the grandparent. The same goes for parents. Parents come in just as many different forms. Traditionally from birth a name has been used, this name will be appropriate. They dial the phone, then ask for the person by name, and say HI and the call continues. If there is an answering machine or service, they need to be taught to leave a message and not just hang up. It is important for the child to memorize telephone numbers and not just for them to know to use a cell phone. Sometimes that phone is lost, stolen, or is locked and they will have to use a telephone they are not used to using.

2. For calls for emergency, the proper way to start the call is to say, Hello, my name is ___________, then spell it, then tell them the emergency and give them the address so the services can be put into action. Then the professional on the other line will give instructions, get more information and often stay on the line to talk to the child. This is pretty much the same thing for an adult.

3. The third type of call is a call to retail establishments, clothing, food, government etc. This call is a more formal call. The person on the line will usually answer with their name. If the caller needs to ask them to repeat their name and make sure to use it during the call. It makes the connection/call easier to complete. Plus, teach the child to write down the name on a piece of paper and to take notes of the call. Sometimes the call is simply about, “Are you open?”, other times it is about whether or not there is a product in stock and how much is it, etc. This too is a more formal type of call. It is considered rude form to not be polite and this should be taught. If the child is hard of hearing, they should be taught right away to point that out and to ask the person on the other side of the connection to speak up and to speak slower, because of their need. This eases the call for both parties. The call should start, with a salutation. Either Hello, how are you today I am calling for…and to state what information they are re questing. Then say thank you and end the call. Sometimes if the call was pleasant, saying, “Have a nice day” is very appropriate. Sometimes the called will need to call a person back, makes sure you give them the proper telephone number and wait for that call. The person may give you a time line. If they do not then it is appropriate to call back in two hours.

4. The fourth type of call is to friends, each person is different. This is a very relaxed type of call but asking if the person is free to talk at the beginning of the call is acceptable. Often they might not be so it is important to teach your child that there is nothing wrong with the person they called not being able to take the call, teach them to say, “Ok, I will call you back another time” or “Call me when you are free.”

Children nowadays learn very early. Some children at two years old can make a call if they have a vocabulary. As soon as they do it is appropriate to teach them phone etiquette.

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