The SMARTY guide to your child’s first phone

So, the time has finally come. Your little one’s not so little anymore, and this year’s Christmas list has something rather daunting at the top.

A mobile phone.

But don’t worry, there’s no need to stress. With the help of parenting expert Anita Cleare, we’re here to offer five top tips that will guide you in the purchase of your child’s first phone.

1. Offer your child a phone on a trial basis. This gives your child a chance to show they can be responsible and it gives you a chance to work out how they’re going to use it and what rules you need to have in place. A flexible SIM-only deal can be really handy at this point.

2. Make sure you can contact them at all times. If the main reason you’re giving your child a phone is so they can get in touch with you in an emergency, make sure they have unlimited calls and texts so there is no danger of them running out of credit or racking up a huge, unexpected bill.

3. Find a plan that fits your family’s lifestyle. It’s hard to know how your child will use their phone if they’ve not had one before. They may stick it in their bag and not touch it or burn through data watching cat videos. Don’t tie yourself into a long contract that won’t adapt to their changing needs.

4. Start with a simple phone. We all know that children lose and drop things. A lot. Don’t set them up to fail with the best handset out there. Start off with a hand-me-down or second-hand phone. They can always upgrade later (or do jobs around the house to earn an upgrade).

5. Look for value. When you’re looking for a SIM, minimise the hassle by searching for a brand that offers great all-year-round value, rather than a too-good-to-be-true seasonal deal. Transparency is key if you want to avoid hidden costs and surprise bills.

The takeout? Look to a Which? approved brand like SMARTY for a great value SIM deal you can rely on. We’ve got loads of plans to suit all different types of users, and they all come with unlimited calls and texts, great coverage and no contract. Sorted.

More about Anita Cleare…

Anita Cleare (MA AdvDip) is a parenting expert, writer and coach, and who co-founded the Positive Parenting Project in 2012, a social enterprise which aims to bring the benefits of proven evidence-based parenting strategies to as many parents (and children) as possible.

Her book, The Work/Parent Switch (known as The Working Parent’s Survival Guide in USA) is a positive parenting guide for working parents (international editions available in German, Polish, Chinese and Romanian).

Happy shopping,


  • SMARTY Team
  • December 9th, 2021