Using the telephone is an important social skill, especially now that so many children have their own mobile phones, so it is important that they develop acceptable telephone manners.
For example, a young girl wants to ring a friend to ask her to come out with her for the day. Before she makes the call she needs to think carefully about what she wants to say – the reason for the call, the details of the day such as the time to arrive and the time to go home and any proposed activities, like swimming. Jotting the information down helps to remind her of what she needs to say.
Then she needs to look up her friend’s telephone number and punch the numbers in very carefully. If the phone is answered by her friend’s parents, or a sibling, she could say, ‘Hello, it’s X. Could I speak to Y please?” If she is known to the family it is polite to declare who she is. Parents often like to know who is calling their child.
If she is a very young child and Y’s parents answer, she could ask them directly whether they will let her friend come out with her, “Hello. Is this Mr Reed? It’s X. I’m calling to ask if Y can come out for the day and come swimming with my mother and I.”
If it is her friend who answers, the child can explain directly to her, “Hi, it’s X. I’m calling you to ask if you’d like to…”
If the child is older and arranges to meet a friend in town and she still hasn’t arrived 20 minutes after the arranged time, she could call the friend’s mobile phone or call her home, “Hello, it’s X. I’m calling because I arranged to meet Y at 11 am in town and she hasn’t arrived yet. Was she late leaving home? Did she say exactly where she’s meeting me? There might have been a misunderstanding…”