After writing a post about child safety I was sent an email from one of our readers asking how they could teach their children their address and phone number. We believe that this is one of the most valuable lessons a child should learn for their own safety.
If they become lost or in trouble when they are away from home, they need to have their phone number and address memorized so that they can tell a safe grown-up how to reach their family.
A child’s learning often hits overload and so it is important that you make the learning as fun for the child as possible. We are going to share some ideas below that we hope can help you in teaching your own children.
1. Sing a Song or Rhyme It
Children are very good at memorizing the words to their favorite songs so try turning their address and phone number into a rhyme or a song. You can use any tune to practice.
Rhymes are also very good for helping children to memorize something. If your house number is number 4, you could say something like, “By my door is the number 4”, or if it’s 14 you could say, “By the door is a 1 and a 4.”
Get your child to help you come up with a song or a rhyme that includes their address and phone number. Let them choose what rhymes with your street name. Make suggestions when they are unsure.
2. Use an Old Phone
When my daughter was younger she would constantly be picking up my phone, pretending to press numbers and then start speaking. Why? Because she had seen me do it many times before and children are good imitators.
You can use any old phone to practice teaching your child their phone number. Write down your phone number and ask your child to press the correct buttons on the phone. As they press each button get them to say out loud which number it was.
If you take your child out somewhere and your partner is at home, you can show your child how those numbers call your home phone number.
3. Make a Mailbox and Let Them Write Home
Make a mailbox from a cardboard box and place it on the table. Leave paper and pens next to the mailbox for your child to write home. On the side of the box write your address as a reference and any time they want to send a letter they can write the address on the envelope and push it into the box.
4. Reverse Chaining
Reverse chaining is an incredibly effective way to teach a child their address and phone number. In reverse chaining you start at the end rather than at the beginning. This way, the whole sequence is being practiced frequently.
If you are starting off with your address, you would say the whole address but leave out the very end part for your child to fill in once you have said the whole sequence. Once your child can confidently do so, you will leave out the last two parts, and so on.
If you are doing the phone number you simply say the whole number out loud and then leave out the last number. Then the last two, and so on.
Write each part of your address on separate index cards (house number, street name, town/city, postcode/zip code) and have your child put them in the correct order. As these will probably get a lot of use when teaching your child, we recommend laminating the cards so that they will last much longer.
What ways do you teach your kids their name and address? We’d love to hear about them.