Parent And Visitor Cell Phones

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Many of the individuals that come to drop-off or pick-up children will have cell phones. What might be typing a quick reminder to pick up eggs on the way home – or sending a text to a boss that they’ll be late for a meeting – can turn into distracted parenting: that is, parents engaging more with their phones than with their children.

Cell phones can be extremely convenient for reaching parents during the day – especially if a member of the family isn’t at home – but requiring a family to have a cell phone number could present a barrier to low-income individuals. If you plan to require a cell phone, consider including information for low-or-no cost phones for those who qualify.

Your center or program might enact a blanket ban on cell phones for adults while they’re in the building, but does that apply to special events, such as taking pictures on celebratory days or events? If you allow cell phones for pictures, how does that interact with your school’s photography policy (and your local licensing agency’s privacy policy?)

When you have visitors in your space – perhaps family and friends for a special performance, or a tour for prospective families – what are the expectations on their cell phone use? Will they be allowed to take photos? What space will they be able to take or make calls in, should they need to?

Who is expected to enforce your policy, and how? Will staff issue gentle reminders to parents as needed, and inform their supervisors if it continues? How will parents learn about the policy and be reminded of it? Will parents be part of the process of crafting the policy, or offered a space to give feedback?

Where To Include

At Playvolution HQ, we recommend programs have three handbooks–a Parent Handbook, a Staff Handbook, and an Operating Handbook. Consider adding this policy to your Parent Handbook. Another option is to include a policy covering parents and visitors as well as staff in your Operating Handbook. (Here’s our sample Staff Cell Phone Policy.)


  • There are lots of apps – both free and for a fee – that allow for secure, fast communication between caregivers and parents without sharing personal phone numbers.
  • Social media can be a free form of advertising for your program or center – allowing individuals to take and publicly share photos could help your program attract new families.

Sample Policies

Disclaimer: These are sample policies intended for use as a guide in policy development. Your program’s policies should be unique to your program and reflect the program’s culture, practices, and the regulations in your area.

Sample One

Cell Phone Policy
There is a no cell phone policy at BCPCC. Unless it is an emergency, please finish your phone call prior to coming into the center to drop off or pick up your children. Communication is key between parents and caregivers. Therefore, in order to assure thorough communication a no cell phone policy within the center is now in effect. This is to include all classrooms, restrooms and play yards. If you are on a call at the time of drop-off or pick-up, please terminate your call before entering the center. If your phone rings while you are on site, please allow your voicemail to answer the call.
Bethlehem Community Preschool and Child Care, Wisconsin, USA

Sample Two

Please refrain from using your cell phones while dropping off or picking up your child.
Trinity Lutheran Preschool and Kindergarten, Nevada, USA

Sample Three

We are asking that you limit the use of your mobile phone to occasional calls for emergency purposes only. If this privilege becomes excessive we will instill a mobile free policy.
Hilltop Preschool, California, USA

Thoughts on this topic? Share them in the comments, we’d love to know what you think.

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