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Move Out Skill: Help Teens Start Making Appointments Over the Phone

Has your teenager ever picked up the phone and made an appointment—doctor, dentist, haircut, oil change? Yeah, we thought not. For some reason, making a phone call to make an appointment is a very daunting task for many teenagers. But being able to set up an appointment over the phone is an important move out skill teenagers will need once they leave home … unless you fancy calling health services on behalf of your sick college student. Nope, we don’t either.

Here’s how to help your teenager gain this important move out skill.

Tips For Teaching Teens How To Make Appointments

1) Don’t be frustrated by the fact that your teenager thinks making a phone call is embarrassing.

You may have spent hours talking on the phone when you were a teenager, but our teenagers live in a world of texts, photos, and videos. No talking required. They’re not used to it, so it feels awkward, even scary. They’ll get over it.

2) Model it for your teenager a couple times.

Next time you’re making an appointment, ask your teenager to listen in, ideally on the other line, but nearby works too.

3) Start with what they want.

“You want to get a haircut? Great. Here’s the number to make the appointment.” “You want to get your eyebrows waxed? Pick up the phone, honey.” A tip from a mom whose teenagers resisted even this: “Ask your teenager to dial the phone; then feign busyness so your teenager is forced to do the talking.”

4) Toward the end of high school require them to do the important stuff.

By the time your teenager is a junior or senior in high school, try to be in a place where he’s making the kinds of appointments he’ll need to make at college and beyond—especially with health-care providers. Getting a lot of resistance? Use something they want as leverage. “Sure you can use the car Friday night, just as soon as you set up that doctor’s appointment I’ve been asking about.”

Diana Simeon is an editorial consultant for Your Teen.

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