In today’s era, most adults rarely have to memorize phone numbers. Because cell phones store phone numbers so effortlessly and effectively, there is no need for an average grown-up to memorize phone numbers. I can count on one hand the number of phone numbers that I know by heart.
However, it is critical for your preschooler’s safety and well-being that he memorize your phone number as early as possible in his childhood. I encouraged my two-year-old daughter to memorize my cell phone number as soon as she developed the capacity to do so. This makes it more likely that, if she were separated from me or a caregiver lost my contact information, a responsible adult could contact me.
Here are a few tips for teaching your phone number to your toddler.
How many of us learned to spell “Mickey Mouse,” courtesy of the Mouseketeers, before we learned how to spell our own names? When set to music, numbers and letters are very easy for children to memorize. Pick a simple tune, such as a nursery rhyme or popular song, and sing your phone number to it. It may be difficult to think of a tune with the same number of syllables as your phone number. “Joy to the World” works for us, but you may need to test a few tunes in your head.
This is a VERY effective technique for teaching phone numbers to preschoolers. Make a single flash card with your phone number written on it in large, bold letters. Brightly colored markers might make it more interesting. Hold up the flash card and ask your preschooler, “What’s our phone number?” Your child can then read the numbers directly from the card. Do this a few times a day for a week, then begin asking your preschooler, “What’s our phone number?” without the card cue. By this point, it’s likely that he’ll have memorized it completely.
When you teach your preschooler your phone number, you can use the opportunity to also introduce him to using a phone correctly. Demonstrate that you can call a telephone by typing the correct numbers from a different phone. Use a different phone to call the phone number you are teaching to your preschooler, then enter the numbers so he can see. Demonstrate that your phone rings every time you call it. Then have your preschooler dial the number himself.
Although you can’t guarantee your preschooler’s safety by teaching him your phone number, it is a major step in the right direction. By memorizing your phone number early, he will have the capacity to contact you in the event of an unexpected emergency– even if the adult he is with does not have access to your contact information.