We chose the middle ground, not too early, not too late. Cooper got his own phone this past Christmas in the middle of sixth grade. We had made the conscious decision to wait a bit longer with him since he wasn’t hankering for one. This would help set a precedent with Greta (his 10-year old sister) who, in reverse fashion, kinda expects one sooner rather than later. We can now tell her she’ll get a phone at the same age — for her, the summer after 6th grade.
Cooper ended up being one of the last in his class, which is only 16 kids so we didn’t really use that as a barometer. We did, however, realize his hockey team was starting to communicate a lot via phone. He hadn’t said much but one day, with a few tears, he let us know how much it meant to him. He explained that connecting was a bit harder for him since he doesn’t live/go to school with the rest of his teammates.
So… since that time and with phone often in hand… he’s discovered more about friends and dialogue. He smiles more, is almost giddy at times, and his group chats are (we think and expect with the good group of kids he’s connected with) positive. And, then there’s the girl thing.
He previously hadn’t expressed one iota of interest in girls. Until the phone… and now he’s got a special friend. They don’t just text either, they do the old fashioned phone conversation thing! I honestly didn’t know kids did that anymore. I think he gets his phone talking prowess from my dad who can drone on for hours and amazingly without much return dialogue. Just a handful of “um-hum’s” and “really’s?” can keep him going. Cooper has that same “gift”, and often doesn’t have a sense of time or purpose when phone chatting. The conversations with my dad can lovingly drive me crazy, but with Cooper it’s just all-out cuteness. I love that he now has fun group chats with his hockey buds; that he has a special friend; and that he has kept a Snapchat Streak going with his mama. All told, though… we really have no idea where the phone deal will go with his uber-sweet, shy, but impressionable little sister. Luckily our middle-ground precedent has given us another year and a half to prepare.