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Using the Telephone - Live life with your kids - Issue 075
October 10, 2008
Hi there! ....

This week:

This week has been full of workshops and meetings, once or twice a year everything seems to happen all in one week. This week was that week! One of the meetings we had was our quarterly Homeschool Network Meeting. This is a time where the focus is on the mum’s education rather than on the kids’ education. The big kids (12-15yo) keep the little kids (4-12yo) busy so the mums can be free to discuss things. This time the kids played board games. It was very exciting to see close to 20 kids all in one room, peacefully playing games together – for 3 hours. It is a thrill to see the big kids take leadership in these situations; they are able to encourage the kids to stay on track, negotiate which games their group was to play, and encourage good sportsmanship. They did a great job!

Live life with your kids!

Family Life is a Resource for Education
Using the Telephone

Using the telephone is an everyday experience for most families. When I grew up we didn’t have the phone in our house until I was about 13-14 (we lived in a remote part of Australia and the service was just new.) The telephone sat in my parents bedroom on the dresser and it was used only for important things. This is so different from how we use the telephone today. Nowadays it is an everyday occurrence. We use the phone to talk to family and friends and to organize aspects of our life.

I think kids are pretty conversant with the idea of using the phone to talk to family and friends – they seem to get that at an early age these days. But do we teach them to use the phone for other purposes?

In our life, we use the phone:

  • to make arrangements and appointments
  • to confirm something
  • to pay bills
  • to ask questions
  • to make complaints

Many of these tasks we do while the children are busy elsewhere. Without really considering it we see these tasks as family business, something that the parents take care of. But we are missing a great opportunity to teach our children to use the phone as a lifestyle tool.

So the next time you pick up the phone, consider if your child could do this item of business for you, or at least, could they stand beside you, listen to the conversation and then once you are finished you can discuss the call, the etiquette, the purpose, the result. Each time they hear you make a business type call they can pick up tips and understanding of how to handle various conversations.

How to teach our children to make business type calls

  • The first thing I have done as my teens are ready to make these calls, is to get them to phone my friends with a message; it maybe as simple as asking to borrow a book, or confirming the time for a play date. Before I started thinking about my children making phone calls I may have emailed these questions to my friends, they are those simple little communications. This is a safe environment for them to practice.
  • Role play before they make the call – this helps them organize their thoughts and gives them a practice run. As they get more experienced, they will go through this in their heads without you. It is important to know what you want to say when you make a phone call, so even if you don’t role play your child needs to have a clear understanding of what they are going to say.
  • Stand beside them to guide them through if they falter
  • Discuss how they went after the call is over. Maybe role play it again considering the things that were said during the call.
  • Give them encouragement / praise for the things they did well
  • Give them lots of practice!

As the children gain confidence in talking on the phone they can begin to manage aspects of their life over the phone:

  • they can phone the library and ask about a book
  • they can phone a business to confirm opening / closing hours
  • they can order pizza
  • they can phone the hospital/clinic to make an appointment
  • they can phone a shop and query a product

Talking on the phone requires is a different level of confidence in speaking – we only have our voice to communicate with. When we are face to face with people we have our eyes and our whole body to help communicate our understanding and our meaning. But on the phone we only have our voice. It needs to be strong, confident and friendly. Practice will develop these skills.

We need to be intentional about giving our children exposure to these life skills. So next time you think of making a call, stop and think what aspect of this moment in your life can be used to train your child?

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter I know homeschool mums are busy with lots to read, so I have divided my newsletter into four sections and you will receive one section a week; short but regular newsletters!
  • Be a Deliberate Parent – Encouragement to continue in purposeful and intentional parenting.
  • Family Life is a Resource for Education – Spotlights on a particular aspect of family life so we can see the natural opportunities available to us in educating our children.
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