Cell or landline: Which number do you teach kids?

A friend is trying to decide which number they should teach their kindergartner: the landline, mommy’s cell phone or daddy’s cell phone?

Even just six years ago when my oldest was 4 people were still teaching the landline numbers. Rose and all her preschool friends diligently learned their home phone numbers.

When we took a trip to Hawaii later that summer, we realized that the landline didn’t do a whole lot for you if your child got lost out of town. Or lost in general – if you’re with them at a park or lake calling home won’t do the authorities any good. I ended up making the kids wear lanyards when we went sightseeing with our names, cell phone and the hotel we were staying in written on a card.

Despite that lesson, we taught Walsh the home phone number as well, and then we moved. As we drove across country I worked on teaching the kids my cell phone number. And that’s the number Lilina will learn this year.

It’s clear for my kids to learn mom’s cell number because I’m the parent most likely to be around or get them in an emergency. But for parents who both work or are at home equally which one would you teach?

The future may offer a different solution — something  like a Google Voice phone number where that number will reach your landline or cell phone. It’s a phone management system that gives you one number for all your phones. I have one friend that has a Google number and when I call him, it just rings wherever he happens to be. (I can’t tell from the website if Google charges for the number.)

Here’s more info on Google Voice:

“What is Google Voice?

Google Voice is a phone management system that is perfect for helping you stay organized.

Google Voice isn’t a phone service, but it lets you manage all of your phones. It works with mobile phones, desk phones, work phones, and VoIP lines. There’s nothing to download, upload, or install, and you don’t have to make or take calls using a computer.

Google Voice gives you one number for all your phones — a phone number that is tied to you, not to a device or a location. Use it to simplify the way you use phones, make using voicemail as easy as email, customize your callers’ experience, and more.

Google Voice lets you define which phones ring, based on who’s calling, and even let you listen to a voicemail before answering the call. We use smart technology to route your calls. So, if you’re already on a Google Voice call, we’ll recognize it and use call waiting to reach you on the phone you’re on.

You can learn more about Google Voice by checking out some of our videos.

So what number are you teaching your kids and why? Have you tried Google Voice? Do you think it would be the simplest thing to teach kids?

So which number did you teach five or 10 years ago? Which number would you teach now? How do you choose which cell phone to teach? What about the Google Voice? Is that a solution you would look into? Have you used it? Does it work well? Does it cost money?

32 comments Add your comment

djs_NC

September 8th, 2011
5:44 am

teach them both. and also their address and their parents and grandparents real names.

Beverly Hall

September 8th, 2011
6:26 am

I am not a crook.

Becky

September 8th, 2011
6:27 am

My two are 9 and I haven’t had a land line since they were babies..So cell phone is all they know..Unlike my land line, the cell is with me 24/7, so it only made sense for them to learn that number..They know my number and their Poppys number..Neither one of them know either one of their parents cell phone numbers..

Atlanta Chamber of Commerce

September 8th, 2011
6:28 am

Beverly at 6:26 am –

You may not be a crook…but, you are a kook.

Gtmom

September 8th, 2011
6:36 am

Easy! We use Google Voice – free. I wonder if they will ever charge. We got on Google Voice number for our whole house. It rings our land lines and my husband and my work work phone numbers and both of our cell phones. We give that number as an emergency number to everyone…schools..medical..etc. Our child learned this number. If we ever change service or move and get a new land line.. this number stays the same. I don’t give it out to my friends though since both my husband and I share it and I don’t want to edit each person that calls me to only ring my numbers.

Jeff

September 8th, 2011
7:14 am

I haven’t had a land line in more than 5 years. I imagine google voice would be great if I had multiple people in the family, but as a single dad and my one number, it’s not necessary. But I look forward to reading about the benefits of those of you who do use it.

lulu

September 8th, 2011
7:55 am

My 5-y/o knows my cell phone number and my mom’s cell phone number. We chose those numbers because my husband does not usually have his cell phone with him at work, and we rarely use our land line – my mother and I are the two most likely to have our phones with us and answer them. He also, of course, knows all of our (parents and grandparents) full names, his own address, and a couple of others. I have friends who use Google Voice, but I’ve never looked into it.

RJ

September 8th, 2011
8:00 am

I haven’t had a landline in 4 years, so the cell phone is all they need to know. It’s the best way to reach us anyway because we always have it. The landline was such a waste of money. When my kids were old enough to get cell phones, they never used the landline anymore. It was basically there for telemarketers.

JJ

September 8th, 2011
8:06 am

Cell phones. DUH……we haven’t had a land line in years either. Most homes have cells, so teach them that number.

justmy2cents

September 8th, 2011
8:25 am

No landline here either, so cell phones all the way. My hubby might as well have his surgically implanted as attached as he is to his phone because of work! :o)

oneofeach4me

September 8th, 2011
8:37 am

My daughter knows my cell, her dad’s cell, and my work number. I don’t get cell service inside my building at work, so I taught her the work number also. Being that my son is in Kindergarten I will be teaching him my cell phone and dad’s cell phone number. I do like the idea of the Google Voice number though….I am going to have to look into that one. We use the Google Phone when at home (or my daughter does anyway) but I haven’t dug any deeper to see about getting an actual number for them to call. Actually, what GTMOM said would make a lot of sense, having one number to ring to all the phones and only giving it out in an emergency. When kids are lost or whatnot, they don’t need an overload of numbers to get all mixed up.

Techmom

September 8th, 2011
9:02 am

I work from home so we have a landline and use it; we also have crappy cell reception in our house. Plus half the time I turn my phone on vibrate or leave it in my purse and don’t notice when someone is calling. My son is 16 and we’ve lived in this house for 3 years but I’m guessing he doesn’t know the actual number here since he uses his cell phone to call and everything is stored. A cell phone can be lost, stolen or broken. I’ll have to ask him when he gets home today what our home number is- I’m curious if he knows it. So that brings up a fun question- at what point do you stop asking your kids if they know their home/mom’s cell number?

bessbear

September 8th, 2011
9:25 am

I’m still trying to figure out – for those that ditched their landline, what do you do as your kids are old enough to stay home by themselves? Both parents have their phone with them. Do you have a 3rd cell that acts as a home phone? Wondering what that costs from Verizon. I’m not ready for my kids to have their own phone – oldest is 10. But I do let my 10 yr. old stay home by himself for up to 3 hrs.

MomOf2Girls

September 8th, 2011
9:33 am

My kids know both, but use the cell much more often.

Slightly off topic suggestion regarding lost kids on outings. Anytime we go someplace where the kids can get separated from us, we take a picture of each of them on our phone or camera. It’s much easier to show a picture than to try to describe the child / remember what each wore / find old school pic in wallet.

RJ

September 8th, 2011
9:39 am

@bessbear, my kids have their own cell phone. I never left my kids home alone until they were around 11 and by then they each had a cell phone. Their first phone was a pre-paid one, so I didn’t worry about a monthly bill.

RJ

September 8th, 2011
9:40 am

One more thing, I find that my kids don’t use the phone to talk anyway. They use it for social networks. My son uses his ipod to talk to his friends on oovoo, so he hardly ever uses any minutes.

jarvis

September 8th, 2011
9:49 am

Cell….it’s always available even when I’m at home. Seems like a no brainer.

Seven Sisters

September 8th, 2011
10:02 am

“I ended up making the kids wear lanyards when we went sightseeing with our names, cell phone and the hotel we were staying in written on a card.”

Why not just tattoo the information on them? The world is a scary, scary place for Theresa…. Hide! Be very careful!!!

JJ

September 8th, 2011
10:42 am

@bessbear – Metro PCS for the “home” phone for your kids. Very cheap, and you can get plans for phone only, with no texting, etc……

I started leaving my child by herself around the age of 9. Short trips to the store, etc. But she never stayed by herself overnight until she was 17 and a senior in high school.

oneofeach4me

September 8th, 2011
10:47 am

@bessbear ~ my daughter is 10 and every once in a while is home alone for about 3 hours. She has been taught how to use the Google phone. She is really tech savvy though so it wasn’t hard to teach her. You get a gmail account and then there is a call phone on the side bar you can use. Every time we use it it’s free, but it may cost for long distance, not real sure. So that is how she calls me, she isn’t ready for a cell phone. I have bought 4 pair of glasses on one year…. needless to say she has a hard time keeping up with things.

Seven Sisters

September 8th, 2011
10:58 am

Hey Theresa – take your children down to your local Vet and have the chip implanted under their skin in case they get lost. You’re that nuts.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

September 8th, 2011
11:16 am

both…I kind of took the opinion that if he was smart enough to learn one, he’s smart enough to learn two. He also knows our address. Are there a lot of kids out there with only enough room in their memory for one number?

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

September 8th, 2011
11:21 am

“I ended up making the kids wear lanyards when we went sightseeing with our names, cell phone and the hotel we were staying in written on a car”

I’m surprised you would do that. I would think you would NOT do that because you wouldn’t want the local pedophile to have all that information available to him when he wants to catch up with them later.

lurker

September 8th, 2011
11:35 am

@bessbear if you feel your kids are old enough to be home alone then they should have a cell phone. Me personally would have never left mine alone at 10. 12 is the earliest in my book and that is only if they are mature enough. Have a friend of a friend who left 10 year old home alone and there was a fire and DFACS got involved – the govt. does not feel you should leave your child alone at that age so the parents were arrested.

malleesmom

September 8th, 2011
12:00 pm

We taught ours land line and primarily mom’s (my) cell phone number. I’m pretty sure at least one child knows my husband’s but since he travels so much he’s not as accessible. My advice is to teach multiple numbers and teach them early. I have seen too many children miss the bus at school, get ushered into the office and not know parents real names, phone numbers or address. Once they hit school, they should know this stuff. Too many parents move or change information and the school is the last to know.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 8th, 2011
12:14 pm

seven sister — the kids were 4 and 2 when we were in Hawaii.

MomsRule

September 8th, 2011
12:23 pm

We taught 3 numbers. (home and cells)

Tiger – I love your 11:16 am comment.

JOD

September 8th, 2011
12:25 pm

We just (finally) kicked the landline to the curb, so we will teach cell phone #s.

Related, but slightly off-topic, when did people start teaching phone numbers, addresses, etc.? We’re working on 911 – which is complicated by the cell phone (more buttons to remember) – but I don’t think DD is ready for longer phone numbers yet.

Lady Strange

September 8th, 2011
12:36 pm

I will teach mine my cell phone #. No one ever answers the land line where I live so it’s pretty useless. I’m with JOD – what’s a good age to start teaching numbers & addresses?

Becky

September 8th, 2011
12:50 pm

My two started learning cell phone number at about 5-6ish..The boy learned it a lot quicker than the girl..They both have known all the “real” names pretty much since they started talking real good..They both know my address and my work number..I don’t leave them anywhere alone..If we go out to places, they are always within arms reach of me or my husband..

oneofeach4me

September 8th, 2011
12:52 pm

@ lurker, actually per DFACS a child age 9-12 can be left alone for up to 2 hours at a time. This is why middle schools let out later in the day.

JJ

September 8th, 2011
1:14 pm

Has Father Jane Goose changed his name to Seven Sisters?