TDmonthly Magazine!
June 2004 | Vol. III - No. 6


When the Telephone Rings

Barbara Gilmour is the Creator and Developer of Tanner’s Manners: Be a “Kool Kind Kid” Manners Curriculum, Award-winning Audio CD and other products. Tanner’s Manners is proud to be a participant in Campbell’s Labels for America Program, promoting learning, caring and sharing in schools across America .

“YO!” “WHOISIT?” “WHADDAYAWANT?” “WEDON’TWANTANY!” Is this how your kids are answering the phone at your house?

“MOM! PHONE’S FOR YOU!!!” Is this the way you’re told you have a phone call?

Telephones are one of our greatest inventions and at the same time, one of our greatest sources of frustration. And, they account for much of the rudeness in our society today.

Maybe how your child answers the phone isn’t so important to you now, but it is a social skill your child will need later in life. Is it necessary to teach our children telephone manners when they begin to answer the phone? Let’s consider the following:

· Good habits, when learned at an early age, become the good habits that last a lifetime.

· The longer bad habits are allowed to continue, the harder they will be to change.

Someday your teen may answer the phone when a neighbor is calling to offer a lawn care job to him or the boy next door. How he answers that call may determine which boy gets the job. Or, perhaps your pre-teen daughter, who regularly answers calls from your friend with small children, will get a call from that friend offering her a baby sitting job. In both of these situations, the teen or pre-teen who has received training in how to answer the phone properly and politely, will consistently answer that way without having to think about it. It will have become “a good habit.”

How to Teach Good Phone Manners

1. Decide what is important for your household.

2. Hold a family meeting and discuss the rules you have decided to implement.

3. Discuss the consequences for infractions.

4. Practice, so everyone is on the same page with what is required.

5. Emphasize the necessity for the children to learn this social skill to have successful futures.

Telephone Manners Guidelines:

Answering a Call:

1. Say “Hello”

2. SMILE (it changes how your voice sounds)

3. Speak Clearly/Listen Carefully

4. Ask who they wish to speak to


6. If the person is not home, take a detailed message

7. Say “Good-bye”


Making a Call:

1. Say “Hello”


3. Speak Clearly/Listen Carefully

4. Ask for person you wish to speak to

5. If not there, leave a message

6. Thank the person who answered

7. Say “Good-bye”

This author believes that teaching children good manners or politeness in every area of life -----

equals (=) earned respect (=) demonstrating maturity (=) increased responsibility (=) more maturity (=) added privileges (=) happy, confident kids on their way to becoming successful adults.


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