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DS 9 - chronically forgetful. Costing me a fortune / grey hair. suggestions?

(31 Posts)
ErnestTheBavarian Thu 21-Aug-08 16:21:52

OK, so he's not 9 till Saturday, but his forgetfulness is doing my head and purse in.

Everyday he forgets to bring stuff home from school. He started back at school yesterday. His lunch card is lost, despite me asking his teacher last year to look after it. I sent a note in yesterday - he forgot to hand it in. Ditto today.

He lost his coat, shoes & sandals, so big things I HAVE to replace, can't just let him learn from 'consequences'.

He loses lunch boxes, bottles, pencil cases, everything. Forgets to write homework in his diary, so forgets to do it, and I can't keep a check on it.

So what do I do? It's costing me a fortune, I get really pissed off with him, tho I don't think he can help it, but almost 9 he needs to start coping with it.

What do I do?

eclipse Thu 21-Aug-08 19:25:44

Ernest, it might be an attention problem rather than memory per se. Most of us have an 'automatic' alerting system that allows us to notice when we should have something with us and haven't with little conscious effort. It is probably not something he can help. Is he well organised in other aspects of daily life?

ErnestTheBavarian Thu 21-Aug-08 19:46:03

No, he's a complete disaster. I must find ways of helping him before I have a heart attack/go bankrupt. He's forgotten to bring his lunch box home, he lost his one last term (had for 31 days), now I haven't got a container for his lunch tomorrow cos he's lost them all, and he can't have school dinner cos he's lost his lunch card, and owes the cafteria money, which I haven't paid because he forgot to tell me & give me the notes & reminders!!!

juuule Thu 21-Aug-08 19:47:27

Who picks him up from school?
I usually check that mine have everything before we go home. If they've not then either I send the child back into school or we both go into school to look for whatever is missing.

juuule Thu 21-Aug-08 19:49:02

I presume he's at primary.
Don't you send dinner money in at the beginning of the week?
If one of mine has forgotten a lunch box then I've sent them with their lunch in a carrier bag to transfer to their lunch box once in school.

eclipse Thu 21-Aug-08 19:59:36

It sounds like he needs lots of help to structure and organise himself. There are lots of advice pages on websites discussing children with something called an 'executive functioning' difficulty, which at its simplest means they find it hard to plan and organise tasks, maintain attention and monitor their environment. It might be worth doing a search to see what strategies are suggested. Organisational difficulties often improve with maturity but helping provide structure with charts and lists will be invaluable for him. If he gets used to using lists to guide him through the day, remembering things will become more automatic out of habit so that he does not have to try to remember them - well, that's the theory anyway.

ErnestTheBavarian Fri 22-Aug-08 07:45:22

Hi juule,

he gets the school bus home, so I unfortunately can't check he has his stuff. Obviously hometime is very busy for the teacher, and while I have asked for help/strategies for him, it hasn't had much effect, but as I said, it's so busy for the staff at that time, it's inevitable I guess. The cafeteria issues each child with a lunch card, which is a bit like a debit card - we have to transfer money onto the card (minimum £20!) and they swipe it as payment, so the child and school don't handle any cash. I have asked his teacher to hold onto the card for him (they do this for the younger ones) but somehow between her and him it's still got lost...

While I am annoyed/frustrated, my main goal is to find coping strategies for him. I tired writing a list for him of the things he had to remember to bring home - I even wrote it directly onto his bag so he couldn't loose it - and he still forgot EVERY item on the list hmm

I just wondered how other people cope with such chronic absentmindedness (ps his dad isn't much better - forever forgetting/loosing keys, phones, laptop, coat etc)

ErnestTheBavarian Fri 22-Aug-08 07:50:17

sorry, meant also to thank you eclipse, I've never heard of that before, but checked out a web site & recognise me a lot in that, esp keeping track of time, estimating how long things take, general scattiness. I guess the poor child has no hope with 2 such dopey parents, but the things is, I have developed quite sofisticated coping mechanisms, routines, lists alarms etc to minimise any problems, I'm just trying to help him to the same, but none of what I do seems to work at all

SauerKraut Fri 22-Aug-08 08:19:37

<waves madly from across the river> Do you think a concrete reward scheme would work- ie., if you bring everything home this week I will give you such and such,or take you to such and such a place? Not as bribery but as recognition that he's managed something he finds really hard? You could start small- a treat for tea if he's brought everything at the end of one day, for example, and gradually increase the amount of time he's expected to think for himself for.
Hip and Hop are merrily leaping round your rabbit cages- ta very much again for that!! Will e-mail soon.

SauerKraut Fri 22-Aug-08 08:20:45

and concentrating on one thing at as time- week one, homework; week two, homework and lunch card...

ErnestTheBavarian Fri 22-Aug-08 08:30:47

hello you

so beatings def won't help?

SauerKraut Fri 22-Aug-08 08:38:08

only if savage enough!!

SauerKraut Fri 22-Aug-08 08:40:44

never did here, anyway. Plenty of carrot and no stick, although it goes against the grain when all I feel like is administering beatings of the most savage variety wink

SauerKraut Fri 22-Aug-08 08:43:27

Items have been issued accompanied by major threats, mind you- bus pass to the tune of 500sfr, which has to be replaced if lost...

SauerKraut Fri 22-Aug-08 08:46:29

At least that's what he thinks- he hasn't been told you can get it re-issued the first time for 30sfr- that's another strategy. So he thinks if he doesn't keep it safe at all times he'll end up walking to and from school 4 times a day coz we won't shel out again! He's so lazy, it should work!

oops Fri 22-Aug-08 08:49:47

Message withdrawn

bubblagirl Fri 22-Aug-08 08:56:22

i was going to say each night get him to pack bag and write a check list so he can check throughout day he has all on list

hav you tried omega 3 suppliments fish oils which is supposed to boost memory and concentration?

hope you manage to find a resolve must be frustrating for you both cant be good to feel in the wrong all the time and cant be good having to keep buying new things

try to give him some responsibility over it and tell him it will have to come oput of his allowance as you cant afford to keep replacing it

he must look at his check list hopefully it will become habit and he'll improve

ErnestTheBavarian Fri 22-Aug-08 09:12:27

I know oops. I just felt i suppose more depressed that 1st day back such a sense of deja vu. Every morning stress & shouting cos not ready in time, every evening Stress etc cos of losz things.

Yes, he is terribly clumsy.

As a kid I was always labelled 'scatty' and getting told off for losing stuff as well. I only see him a tiny bit now he's back at school and I don't want it to be stressy and grumpy. I wish I could be there to help but I can't so need to find ways to help from afar. Have given him another checklist today, so we'll see it it helps.

So what do you do when they loses a big thing like a coat? He lost 2 last winter! And 2 pairs of shoes this summer.

He claims a iPhone will solve all his problems hmm grin

Jackstini Fri 22-Aug-08 09:19:22

Can you get him a very cheap phone/pda that beeps and tells him what to remember/bring home? Or call him/get him to call you last thing before he leaves school.
Does he have a bus pass? Add list to this & hang it round his neck?!

juuule Fri 22-Aug-08 09:52:57

Don't they have a lost property box or office? Can't he find them the next day?
My children do forget things but usually pick them up from where they left them or pick them up from the office.

Given my experiences with my own children around this age, I find it difficult to believe that he's the only one who can't remember things. Doesn't the school have any system for lost property retrieval?

As for shouty and late in the monrning, it's best to get everything ready the night before so that he's ready to get dressed, pick up stuff and go. Reduces stress all round. Anything he's forgotton the night before give him a list to collect them all before he comes home.

Something like a coat, can't you phone the school and see what they suggest?

ErnestTheBavarian Fri 22-Aug-08 13:08:26

juuule, you have so many great ideas, but I'm afraid my ds is a lost cause.

eg I tell him to get his clothes ready the night before. SOmetimes he does, sometimes he forgets. He (finally) rolls out of bed, gets dressed & comes down in the wrong clothes (not the ones he's already set out) , dithers and despite having a full hour to get ready, it's the same old every morning, almost. He is king ditherer. SO is his brother, but brother (yonger) not forgetful).

There is a lost property thing at school - right next to his classroom. Sometimes his stuff turns up, sometimes not, His coat never did, nor did his sandals.

I can't dock such huge items from his pocket money, besides, I understand it's a real problem for him, so don't really want to 'punish' him, but would like to help him.

Maybe I'll get him to write his own checklist (I've been writing it for him) & try & steer him more that way?

jackstini, I'm afraid only an iPhone will do hmm . In his opinion. imo a scrap of paper will

juuule Fri 22-Aug-08 13:55:29

Does he have a uniform?

If not, does it matter which clothes he comes down in (whether the ones he selected the night before or not) as long as he is dressed?

Until he stops losing things I wouldn't buy anything expensive for him to take to school if it could be avoided. No expensive coats, shoes etc.

The lunch card thing sounds a bit of a pain. Quite a few of the children at our primary school can't remember to hand their dinner money in at the beginning of the week or lose it. I can't see that looking after a lunch card every day would work.

juuule Fri 22-Aug-08 13:56:35

I'd also have reservations about buying a mobile phone. Chances are he'd lose it.

RubyRioja Fri 22-Aug-08 14:01:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ErnestTheBavarian Fri 22-Aug-08 14:03:18

Ha ha. Don't worry Juuule, no way will he get a mobile. I've told him he can have a mobile when he's 25 (horrid mummy) he would definitely loose it. Anyway, he has no need for one at all.
He doesn't have a uniform except the days he has PE when he's expected to go in his PE uniform, so it's just 2 days a week, which makes it more difficult to remember iyswim Otherewise it doesn't matter & he can wear what he wants. I got his last coat from a 2nd hand shop, as he'd lost the one before, so when he lost it, it wasn't the end of the world but it still costs & adds up.

5 will try to be nicer tho, but it drives me crazy

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