Teaching kids telephone basics

It all started with a rotary phone.

Well, a push-button phone styled to look like a rotary phone, anyway. It was bright red and shiny, and I mostly wanted it because it looked awesomely retro on my kitchen counter.

I didn’t have it plugged in at first, but then I realized it would be a good idea to do that so our children could dial 911 in an emergency. Kids today, after all, are excellent at swiping their way around a tablet but stare at you blankly if you hand them a cordless phone.

(They’re lost at the concept of pressing the “Talk” button to get started, and what do you mean there’s no Siri to dial using a voice command?)

So I plugged the pretty red rotary phone into the jack. No power cord required, unlike the rest of the cordless phones scattered throughout the house, since there was no caller ID screen. Back to the basics, I thought, admiring the clunky handle.

At first, we just talked about 911, like when they should call it (“If you’re home alone with Mommy or Daddy and they get hurt, or they fall asleep and can’t wake up”). We unplugged the phone and they practised dialing it. I reiterated the trouble they’d be in if they called it for a joke.

But recently they started showing an interest in making real phone calls — ones that don’t require me or my husband to be unconscious. Phone fever was beginning …

Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene …

Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene …

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