Kindergartners With Cell Phones

As your child gets ready to go out in the world, maybe for the first time when you send her off to kindergarten, one of the top concerns any worried mom or dad has will be about security.  And while most schools are run by qualified education professionals and campuses are secured, it might give you a greater sense of security if you were able to “arm” your child with a cell phone “just in case.”

Of course that desire to let your little boy or girl carry his or her own cell phone to kindergarten may be more related to moms insecurity about being out of touch with the child for several hours.  If you know she has a phone on her and knows how to use it, at least you know she can reach you if she needs to hear your voice and that you can reach her if you need to know your baby is doing OK especially in those first days and weeks at kindergarten.

Giving your child a cell phone to carry in his back pack or her purse may seem like a simple and harmless little step that will give the child and mom and dad some sense of connection and security during the day. After all, who would even know that it’s there?  It’s a tiny device that wouldn’t bother anyone.  But if your baby needed to call home during recess, it would be there.  Not only that, if there was an emergency where you needed to reach your family, you want them instantly accessible and a cell phone makes that possible.

But there are some reasons to think this decision through in a little more depth. If you have not equipped your five year old with a cell phone so far, it will be a toy and something new to figure out if you give it to her and pack her off to school.  Children are fascinated by technology and the odds that your little one will have that cell phone out during the day, playing with it and possibly distracting the other children with it are pretty good.

But even if your child is used to carrying a cell phone, you should check the rules at the school before giving your kindergartner one before sending her off to school.  Many schools have rules about the children bringing any form of electronic device into the classroom.  This is so the teacher doesn’t have to fight a battle with kids who would rather fool with electronic toys than pay attention.  So if that is a rule that is you’re your child’s kindergarten class, you don’t want to create a situation where she could get in trouble.

There is a rule we teach our kids not to take anything into a public place that they would hate to lose.  And a cell phone would be a device that would be very attractive for other kids to want to play with, to “borrow” for an hour for the day or for the week or to out and out steal so they can have their own phone.  And if that happens, your child will be devastated and outraged and it will become a major incident for you, the child and the school to deal with that really never had to happen.

Realistically, no kindergartener needs a cell phone at school.  If your child had one and it was unusual, she would appear to the other children like a spoiled child and possibly be isolated because of jealousy or resentment in the other kids.  There are other ways to help your child get over that sense of separation and isolation from you.  In fact, the one thing you want from this first year at kindergarten is for your child to start the path toward independence.  Giving her a cell phone only slows that process.

So while it is a huge temptation to give your child this simple and inexpensive device, for the most part it is probably a temptation worth resisting.  By having her leave it home, you prevent a lot of problems that could happen.  And you teach your child self reliance.  And that is one of many great lessons you want your kiddo to learn at kindergarten.