Advice desperately needed on dealing with forgetful & upset 8yo!

(40 Posts)
NoThanksIAmBusy Tue 05-Nov-13 20:30:53

DD is 8 (nearly 9) and is a lovely, funny but extremely scatty child. She constantly loses her belongings, forgets where she's put things etc. If you ask her to go and put her shoes on she will disappear for 5 minutes only to re-appear looking dazed and shoeless!

Sweet as she is, it is starting to drive me, her and her teachers mad. I am losing patience with her as I just can't afford to replace things (school uniform, swimming goggles etc) and feel she needs to be more responsible. She has just had a meltdown of epic proportions because I told her off for forgetting her PE bag, an important form and her jumper (I didn't collect her from school today so couldn't remind her) She was sobbing and said she gets told off constantly at school for forgetting things, falling over etc. She is worried the teacher doesn't like her now (her teacher is fab and thinks she is lovely so not a concern for me) and is clearly getting anxious and distressed.

I don't want to make this worse and have just reassured her that I think she is totally wonderful and special, forgotten jumper or not. However I have no idea how to deal with this issue ongoing. I can't just shrug off the constant forgetfulness as it impacts on so many things.

Any ideas wise mumsnetters? She is all snotty and upset and I feel crap for telling her off about something she is already upset about (I didn't know she had been in trouble at school too)

SecretRed Tue 05-Nov-13 20:43:12

Sorry no advice but watching with interest as my 7yo is exactly the same.

Sorry. Also watching with interest. Just read this out to DH and he asked "did you write that?!" DD (6) is exactly the same. 4 jumpers she's lost so far this school year confused

NoThanksIAmBusy Tue 05-Nov-13 21:08:17

Well I'm glad I'm not alone!

I'm considering stapling her clothes onto her in the morning. She is still sniffling and I still feel crap and lacking in any solutions so hopefully someone with a child they cured of carelessness will be along soon!

Littlefish Tue 05-Nov-13 21:09:06

How often does she fall over? What is her co-ordination like? Is she able to follow a list of 2 or 3 instructions, or does she get lost after the first one? What is her handwriting like? Can she ride a bike? Tie shoe laces?

Sorry - lots of questions! I want to offer some support, but it would really help to have a fuller picture of your daughter.

NoThanksIAmBusy Tue 05-Nov-13 21:37:41

Hi Littlefish, she probably falls over once or twice a week but often bashes into stuff, stubs her toe etc.

Not great co-ordination really. She can ride a bike but no good with shoelaces yet (although we haven't really taught her to be honest) Her handwriting is very good and she is good at making quite detailed things (cutting out etc)

If I ask her to do several things (get shoes on, brush teeth and get coat for example) she will often come back after the first thing and ask what else I wanted her to do.

I suspect she is hyper mobile as is mega bendy and I did wonder if this contributed to the falling over. She has quite a wiggle when she walks if that makes sense? Also a bit pigeon toed.

DorrisM Tue 05-Nov-13 21:42:17

DS aged 10 is like this, he was seen by someone (not sure who) and tested. He scored very high in all areas except his memory which was very poor, he's truggles with two commands. I'm not sure how to help, but do sympathise.

Littlefish Tue 05-Nov-13 21:47:03

I'm going to put a list below which it might be worth you having a quick look at. Do many of these statements apply to your dd?

By 7 years old

Difficulties in adapting to a structured school routine
Difficulties in Physical Education lessons
Slow at dressing. Unable to tie shoe laces
Barely legible handwriting
Immature drawing and copying skills
Limited concentration and poor listening skills
Literal use of language
Inability to remember more than two or three instructions at once
Slow completion of class work
Continued high levels of motor activity
Hand flapping or clapping when excited
Tendency to become easily distressed and emotional
Problems with co-ordinating a knife and fork
Inability to form relationships with other children
Sleeping difficulties, including wakefulness at night and nightmares
Reporting of physical symptoms, such as migraine, headaches, feeling sick

NoThanksIAmBusy Tue 05-Nov-13 22:04:27

Hmm, she's slow at dressing but mostly because she is messing about, talking distracted etc. Also, the 2 or 3 instructions thing is relevent to her. She sometimes complains of tummy aches and has an upset tummy more often than my other child.

I can't say the rest of it sounds like her though. She is doing very well in school, great reading/writing/friendships. Sleeps like a log, v good at drawing and articulate. No flapping etc.

I definitely don't think she is on the AS if that is what you were thinking of?

I would look into dyspraxia, I am dyspraxic and I was somewhat like this.

sittinginthesun Tue 05-Nov-13 22:11:08

My eldest is the same - he loses everything, forgets to hand letters/homework in, think he'd forget his head if it wasn't screwed on.

But he's bright, hard working, quite a perfectionist in most ways. Except with his belongings. It drives me mad.

Mummyoftheyear Tue 05-Nov-13 22:13:55

Long shot here, but I'd get her assessed / screened for difficulties relating to working memory (any difficulties with literacy, learning times tables, months of the year, etc.?) or and for dyspraxia (it can express itself as clumsiness, disorganisation, falling over, etc. ).

Mummyoftheyear Tue 05-Nov-13 22:15:45

and. / or

Littlefish Tue 05-Nov-13 22:15:48

Like TheAlyss, I was thinking about dyspraxic traits. The dyspraxia foundation has a good website (that's where I got the list from).

With regard to the forgetfulness and difficulty following instructions, you could try making a list using post-it notes so that she removes one instruction at a time when she has completed it. It means that you won't get frustrated by having to repeat the instructions, and she will have the opportunity to be more independent.

Could you take pictures of, or make a list of all the things she needs to bring home each day so that she can check it off each day before she leaves school.

Whether it is dyspraxia or not, it would be worth you having a look at some of the brilliant strategies suggested on the Special Needs threads. the posters on there are fantastic at sharing ideas.

NoThanksIAmBusy Tue 05-Nov-13 22:19:17

Thanks - have just read up about dyspraxia but really doesn't sound like her at all.

My feeling is that she is just a bit away with the fairies and forgetful/careless. I just don't know the best way to tackle it and help her. Telling off just upsets her, I have tried making her pay for the things she has lost herself but that hasn't helped either. I suggested writing stuff on her hand every morning - worth a try?

I'm trying to come up with a reasonable punishment after DS has lost yet another big thing ... His coat. He's nearly 9 and it's the not caring or thinking about things that drives me mad. I don't know what to do. It's making me really cross with him. I'm thinking of making him work for the cost if coat and he has to go buy another one?

difficultpickle Tue 05-Nov-13 22:22:28

Maybe hypermobility.

NoThanksIAmBusy Tue 05-Nov-13 22:24:57

Sorry cross posted.

Mummyoftheyear - no probs with literacy, she is well above the expected level. Times tables not good though. She is much more arty/wordy than maths minded. How would I go about getting her screened? GP?

Littlefish - I like the post it idea. Also the pics could work. Maybe I could laminate a little card with pics of stuff she has to remember and she could keep it in her bag (or lose it! grin)

Thank you all so much. I really appreciate it.

NoThanksIAmBusy Tue 05-Nov-13 22:27:11

Sauce - I have tried the paying for it thing but she wasn't bothered in the slightest. It's extra hard when it something expensive isn't it? Can you imagine what it will be like when they have phones etc?!!

Bisjo - yes I think she is hypermobile. Would that have an effect on memory etc though?

DS didn't seem bothered when I told him he would work to pay it back. Maybe make him pick up leaves all weekend? Without a coat .... Now I sound mad.

I'm so cross with him. I'm fed up of reminding him to do the basic stuff like teeth, shoes ... Etc. we've lost school bags, goggles, coats, jumpers, ties - all named. Where do they go?

I'm no help sorry.... Let me know what works!

NoThanksIAmBusy Tue 05-Nov-13 22:37:01

There must be a mountain of school jumpers/goggles/important letters somewhere - we just need to find out where it is!

I made DD go without gloves for a week after she had lost her third pair. I couldn't stick to it though as her little hands were blue! She still lost her 4th pair. I might go back to putting them on elastic!

funambulist Tue 05-Nov-13 22:45:02

One of my DCs has major problems with organisation, keeping track of things, remembering instructions etc. He was diagnosed with dyslexia aged 10. It can be hard to spot in bright children as they are good at compensating. I would recommend getting your daughter seen by an educational psychologist to see if there is something like that going on. Symptoms of dyslexia which my DS has in common with your daughter include:

1 Finding it difficult to learn to tie shoelaces.
2 Being unable to remember several instructions at once.
3 Not being able to remember where he's put things
4 Forgetting to do things at all.

My DS also used to fall over frequently when he was younger. He often tripped over his own legs! He doesn't do that any more but does often walk into things.

Whether or not your daughter has dyslexia, these are some things that have worked with my son:

1 Label everything, including goggles, so that it comes back to you.
2 Teach your daughter to put clothes etc straight into her school bag/PE bag/swimming bag as soon as they are given to her. So if she is hot during the day and takes her jumper off, she must put it into her school bag straight away. If she is given an important form, she must put it into her school bag straight away. When she goes swimming as soon as she takes her goggles off then they go back into the swim bag straight away. Once I got my son to do this things stopped going astray. Changing rooms are chaotic places and even an organised child can lose track of their things in the jumble of clothing surrounding 30 children getting changed.
3 Give comprehensive instructions to the person picking your daughter up. Eg DD should have with her her school bag, PE kit, lunchbox and coat, please check with her that she has remembered her homework.
4 Give your daughter one task at a time. Eg "Go and find your shoes then come back and I'll tell you what you need to do next." Or, if this gets a bit tedious then write a list for her:

Eg
1 Find shoes
2 Put shoes on
3 Brush hair
4 Brush teeth
5 Put coat on

Ask her to leave the list with you or in the room where you are (otherwise she'll lose the list!) but get her to come back and tick things off as she does them so she can keep track of what she has to do without you reminding her.

I have lists for all my children near the front door with what they need to bring to school each day. All they have to do is check the list before leaving the house.

If she's struggling at school she could have a list there as well? In her drawer/locker or by her peg with PE bag, school bag, homework, coat, jumper written on it so that she has to stop and check she has all those things.

Tell her teachers that you think she has a genuine problem with organisation and enlist their help and hopefully a bit of understanding.

Ledkr Tue 05-Nov-13 22:49:39

My dd is exactly the same and she's 11.
Just have no idea really but it drives us nuts.

funambulist Tue 05-Nov-13 22:52:45

Sorry, OP, just noticed that your DD has problems with times tables. That can be another symptom of dyslexia. How is her spelling? Is it in line with the rest of her abilities? Does she stumble over words or miss them out when she reads aloud?

NoThanksIAmBusy Tue 05-Nov-13 23:00:47

Funambulist - thanks there are some fab ideas there. I am going to try the lot!

Her spelling is very good and her reading is excellent (she read a chapter of Harry Potter to her brother out loud yesterday, no stumbling etc. v fluent) It's just maths that are more of problem. Can you have dyslexia if it's just numbers?!

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