Children like to do what their parents do, and parents spend a lot of time on the phone. Even before your child is two, he’ll imitate you by using a toy phone, holding your cell phone, pushing the buttons, and making sounds.
When your child is between eighteen months and two years, he’ll want to talk on the phone and, given the chance, he’s likely to listen and nod without saying a word. He’s also likely to hold objects up to the phone so the listener can see them, since he assumes that if he can see something, everyone else can. One three-year-old had his aunt hold on while he got his pet hamster. “See,” he said, holding the animal up to the receiver, “He’s moving around.”
Children like to imitate their parents by being first to answer the phone. Parents who want to avoid this situation shout, “I’ll get it,” but sometimes their child races to the phone also shouting, “I’ll get it!” When a two-year-old answers the phone, he might just hold it, saying nothing. A three-year-old might pick up the phone and say, “Who’s this?” and a four-or five-year-old who’s given a message by a caller will probably forget it.
At these young ages, children’s conversations are all about themselves. Once they’ve said what they want to say, they may simply hang up without thinking about the person on the other end. Young children do this because, at these egocentric ages, they can only think about their interests. “I have new shoes.” “I’m eating ice cream.” “Can you come over and play with me?” They can’t think about what you’re doing or ask with sincerity, “How are you?”
They don’t understand the give and take of conversations, and may not, until they’re close to seven.