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Phone & Door Manners for Kids

by Kristen Berry

Social awareness and kindness play a tandem role in establishing phone and door etiquette for children. Teaching your child how to interact through phone conversations and encounters at the front door establishes her ability to master a polite demeanor that also preserves her safety. With practice and role playing, your child will get a feel for how to handle herself with kindness and caution when it comes to answering the telephone and the door.

Answering the Phone Safely

Set ground rules for your child when it comes to giving out information over the telephone. According to Parenthood's etiquette specialist, Dianne Gottsman, your child shouldn't supply information such as her last name or street address, as it poses a threat to her safety. If your child is home alone when answering the phone, instruct her to tell callers that mom or dad can't come to the phone as opposed to revealing that they are not in the home. Create a default "script" your child can remember when she's answering the phone and practice the lines with her. You can pretend you're a stranger calling and have your child answer the phone safely while asking the "caller" to leave a message.

Everyday Phone Conversations

Teach your child how to hold a reciprocal conversation over the phone with friends and relatives. Common questions such as, "How are you doing?" or "Would you like to speak with Mom or Dad?" can help children interact politely with others. Depending on the caller's answers, responses include basics such as, "I'll have Dad call you back," or "Hold on please, I'll go get Mom." Role playing familiarizes your child with speaking on the phone efficiently whether answering or making phone calls. Sit down with your child and have her practice making phone calls to you, in which she identifies herself and politely asks to speak to the proper party. Once your child feels confident making phone calls, have her try practice her new skills by calling a friend to arrange a play date or outing.

Answering the Door Safely

Your child should never answer the door when he's home alone unless he's had an emergency and is expecting the police or an ambulance to arrive. Even when he's home with supervision, these days, answering the door requires safety that supersedes manners. Instruct your child to ask who is at the door before opening it. Have him know the difference between strangers and friends. Anyone who is not a family-member or trusted friend constitutes a stranger. Make your child aware that a person wearing a uniform for a delivery company, religious sect or landscape crew is technically a stranger. Children should not answer the door for these individuals unless a parent is present.

Greeting Friends at the Front Door

Let your children answer the front door when friends are expected.

When your child is expecting a familiar face at the front door, teach him to respond with casual salutations such as "Hello, come on in," or "It's great to see you, come inside." For more formal situations, have your child politely ask visitors if they would like to come inside. When friends are departing, teach your child to see them out by walking them to the front door, opening it and telling friends to come back again soon. Show your child how to close the door gently, without slamming it, which can sound abrupt as guests are leaving.

About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Kristen Noelle has been writing since 2007. Her work has appeared in AOL News, "Mothering Magazine," "Maui News," "Christian Science Monitor," "Forsyth County News" and the "Forsyth Herald." Noelle studies comparative literature at the University of Georgia.

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