Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Could Your Child Contact You in an Emergency?



Your child's ability to say your phone number is not only developmentally appropriate around the age of 4 or 5, but it's a safety issue too.

I was talking with some mom friends the other day and one recalled a recent incident where her daughter (we'll call her E2 because that is one of her nicknames!) needed to use this skill. E2 was playing on a playground at a theme park with a friend and the parents were talking on one side of the playground. The two friends went down a slide and ended up on the other side of the playground and couldn't find their parents. A friendly adult saw that they were lost and was about to get an employee to help but E2 said "I know my dad's phone number, we could call him." With that information, this adult allowed her to use a cell phone, she called her dad and the families were reunited with no stress or fanfair!

Could your child call you if they were lost?

It is a long number but is broken into three chunks (if you use 10 digit dialing like we do here, only two chunks if you use 7 digit dialing). You can teach the sets individually and then put them together. Or you can try the whole thing all at once. Repetition is important, even after your child knows it. Practice frequently! When a child is stressed (and getting lost is an emergency that causes stress!), even familiar information can be difficult to remember.


My Phone Number Song


A fun way to practice your phone number is in a song. The 10 digits fit nicely into the tune of "Are You Sleeping." Here is a pretend number phone (originally I had my cell number there but decided against it!)

"407 - 407
123 - 123
4567 - 4567
That's mom's cell! That's mom's cell"



I practiced with Big Sister by first singing the whole song to her. Then, on the second round I sang the first part and she did the echo. We sang it that way quite a few times. After that I'd hum the tune and she would sing.

Now, she doesn't need to use the song, she just says the number.


I feel so much better knowing that if she got lost, she could call me!


If your child is struggling with this skill after practicing for a few weeks, pause and come back to it. Point out all of the times that you use it and instead of using your "Favorites" to call home, actually type in the numbers calling them out as you tap the buttons. You can have your child dial it as you say it to her. Or dial as many digits as she knows and then you help her finish by telling the next numbers.


It's always better to learn why something is important to know than to just be told that you need to know it. Make it a practical, real life skill. And make it fun!

Have fun singing! Do you know any other tunes that work well with phone numbers?









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