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Have you ever called someone only to have a child answer the phone and refuse to hand it over to an adult?  The child tells one knock-knock joke after another, laughs hysterically, tells you about his dog, his sister, his friend, and then hangs up on you. 

Worse yet, you phone and come into contact with a surly teenager on the other end who is obviously outraged that someone would call for her parents while she is on the other line.  Neither one of these situations is appropriate.  It is up to parents to teach their children how to answer the phone properly and to use their manners. 

While the child does not necessarily have to be formal and answer saying, “Smith residence,” a child should certainly say hello, and wait for the caller to respond.  He or she should respond politely to the caller’s request to speak to someone else in the home, but a child should also be taught to respond briefly without giving out too much information.  A simple, “She can’t come to the phone,” or “please wait while I get her,” is sufficient. 

Of course, if the caller is someone who knows your child, and inquires as to how he or she is doing, or what is new and exciting, the child should be free to respond.  Children should also be taught to take messages and give them to the appropriate person.  If a child is too small to do so, he or she probably shouldn’t be answering the phone anyway.