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Phone Etiquette for Toddlers

5 Reasons Why Your Child Should Not Answer The Telephone
by Patti Davis

Your children. Perfect little angels, aren’t they? You can’t get enough of their adorable antics. Doesn’t everyone cherish them like you do?

No. They are pretty cute, I’ll acquiesce, but if I am calling to speak with you, the last thing I need is a 4-year-old trying to relay my message as to where we are meeting for martinis.

Let’s go over my 5 reasons why you should not hand your toddler the phone.

1. There’s a 50 percent off shoe sale at the local mall. You don’t want to miss that, do you? For all I know, little Billy is telling you that I called to talk to his teddy bear. And you’ve just missed out on the sale of the century. And sadly, we don’t wear the same size shoe, so you can’t even borrow mine.

2. I am running late for aforementioned martinis. How can Billy jot down the message? He’s 4 years old. This is an issue. By the time I get to the swanky hotspot for drinks, you are steaming mad at me for making you wait. “But I called and told Billy,” I will lament. And you will respond by having another martini and making your mother stay an extra hour later. Not exactly a win-win for anyone but me, who has no children.

3. On a serious note, there could be a crucial message from Oprah, a potential employer or a friend who drank too many martinis and needs a ride. If little Billy is acting as your call center, you may never know you’ve won that dream job or that sweepstakes you entered. You could have paid for Billy’s college with all that cash. Alack and alas.

4.  Their vocabulary is incredibly limited. This does not make for particularly sparkling conversation. Maybe it’s sparkling to you, but to me, he sounds like he is speaking a foreign language. Which he is. He’s speaking “baby.” I know you understand him, but you’re his mother, you’re supposed to get it. I am happy to bring him lavish presents to play with, which will make us both happy and keep him busy for an hour, so we can visit. Geez, I knew you first.

5. Young ones have a very short attention span. They could pick up the phone, then put it back down and I’m on the other end wondering what in the heck happened. There’s no telling where the phone is now. Check the dog’s water bowl. Isn’t that the third iPhone this month?

I really do like your children. They are totally adorable and I am excited for them to grow up and  start driving so they can chauffeur us around town to aforementioned shoe sales. In the meantime, wait for them to get a little bit older before you allow them to be your personal secretary.

Patti Davis lives in Atlanta and teaches etiquette at Dazzling MannersShe’ll be here every other month discussing general etiquette, thank you notes and other ways to make life a little nicer in upcoming columns. Do you have an etiquette question? Comment and post it here or e-mail her at [email protected] and she would be delighted to help. You can also follow her on Twitter @DazzlingManners or like her on Facebook

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