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Any tips for disorganised and forgetful types?(21 Posts)
We’re three weeks in and Y7 DS has lost loads of stuff already. It’s driving me insane. He’s always tearful and apologetic when he loses something but he is just not programmed to remember day to day stuff (although he seems to be able to remember anything to do with numbers).
Any tips on how to mitigate this? He just leaves various belongings behind him in his wake. He even forgets to go and look for them the next day in spite of me writing it in his planner and on his hand, or can’t remember where he’s been to retrace his steps.
Laminated pictorial check list of what he needs in his bag.
1) decent size bag
2) before he leaves somewhere looks round for belongings
3) everything named
4) don't take more than needed
5) write everything in planner
6) pencil case at home and school bag
7) PE kit tied to school bag
8) decent A4 plastic wallet for lose sheets of paper
9) buy spares
Don't send anything extra. One pen, no coat, only the pe items needed. Know where to get new pe kit in a hurry. Name everything with prominent labels where your kid or anyone else who finds it can see it ie proper name tag in the neckline not biro on the hem. I have some surname /phone number labels for valuables.
How does he get home? I've sent my DS back in to fetch stuff before.
No tips at all but I feel your pain and am following with interest. DD has lost 2 coats so far (we've found one again). Plus her bus pass (made her pay £5 for a new one) and her planner with timetable in (so that morning had no idea what lessons she had that day).
Today I feel in despair about it all. She realised as she was about to leave the house this morning that she'd lost her brand new replacement coat (only wore it one day without losing it). We needed her to get out of the door and on to the bus so played it down a bit to avoid a snotty meltdown. Then she got to the bus stop and realised it was a mufti/languages day thing. She'd got her clothes ready ages ago (and it was in the calendar but I hadn't set an alert so didn't look this morning). Couldn't bear the thought of her having a crappy day about that too so I ended up leaving DD2 (Y5) to get herself to school while I drove DD1s clothes in to school and met her off the bus. Now we've gone up to the secondary after school and found her new coat, still no sign of the old one.
We were worries she might struggle academically but so far that's been fine - she's just incapable of remembering to collect all her belongings as she's moving around school. She's on a waiting list for a locker but I think that might make things worse as she'll have no idea what she's left in there.
She doesn't have enough money to pay to buy a new coat, and she can't not have one as if we go out as a family we'd all have to listen to her being wet and freezing so that's not an option.
We want to help her to help herself as much as possible, and try and instil good habits. So each evening we remind her to sort her books for the next day (and PE kit or anything else she needs). She does that bit by herself.
But how the hell can she learn to not just leave her shit all over school? Like yours OP, she gets very upset and beats herself up about losing things (but not enough to actually not lose things the next time)
DD has a pac-a-mac in her rucksack in case it rains and only takes a proper coat when it gets cold.
Photocopy timetable have one up at home and another in blazer pocket.
Bigger bag might help - her coat is huge so a pac-a-mac thing is a good plan. We now have timetables (and copies of her passwords that she also lost) everywhere
Thanks for the replies. I will try the pictorial laminate and I think we do everything on the list given except for (2) because those are both things that he has to remember to do or look at for himself without anyone reminding him, which he never does.
I remind him to pack his bag the night before hoping that it will become a routine for him. I don’t do it for him on the basis that if he gets it wrong experience will be the best teacher for him (he hates getting into trouble) and after a couple of months I will stop reminding him to pack his bag to encourage independence. I can’t get him into a routine of doing something at school though - no one is going to remind him in the early days.
Wilkos has been my friend for cheap stationery. I think with coats, uniform etc I’m going to go second hand/charity shop if possible- I just can’t afford new at this rate of attrition. He wore his football boots once before leaving them somewhere. I don’t think he even wore his shin pads or socks at all.
You have my sympathies Plipplopps!
Completely agree on the charity shop thing - if she loses another coat there's no way we can keep buying new ones?
Has he got a phone or Ipad? could you set reminders for the morning at home to check his bag for X and Y.
Doesn't help for school I guess
We don't bother with a coat as he has a shirt, jumper and blazer. Will probably do the mac thing if and when it gets colder
Tell him you aren't going to buy replacements and that if he gets into trouble, that's his problem. With the the bag packing, personally I'd do it with him for a few days then get him to do it and you check it and move up from there. It really depends on the schools - some will clamp down on the Y7s and some take a gentler approach (then seem to moan at parents' evening.....). My DC's school does the latter which I don't think helped!
Routine, routine, routine.
I swear it’s the only way. Make it a routine to repack the school bag with the right stuff for whatever subjects she has the following day, the night before.
Make it a routine to check said bag the next morning.
Make it a routine to check every room as she leaves it for anything she might have left behind. (Do this at home too so it becomes engrained)
Rhyme off the essentials she needs to remember (what you would put on a laminated sheet) and make it a routine to rhyme them off in her head each time she moves to a new room/end of each period/end of lunch etc.
My DD is 11 and in the last year of primary but this has been ongoing for years with her - I think we’ve finally cracked it and I do believe she will be fine at secondary because the routines have become so engrained now.
For her, the essentials she rhymes off are:
glasses, pencil case, water bottle, lunch.
bag, sweater, coat.
She says it in that order to herself, in a kind of rhythmic way - like with a beat to it, and mentally ticks them off to ensure she has them all (or doesn’t if for instance she had school dinners instead of a packed lunch that day) Because the rhythm stays the same she doesn’t accidentally miss things out.
Sorry, just realised it’s a DS not a DD you have and I’ve written my whole post referring to her - apologies.
As you were.
My eldest is exactly the same. By this time in year 7, he'd lost his ENTIRE games kit (foots, trainers, shinpads and indoor and outdoor kit), and his coat...
He's year 10 now, and I've just accepted that he's always going to be wonderfully disorganised. This acceptance has actually helped.
He has a proper rucksack, with a back support, and carries everything with him. He panics about having the wrong books, so would rather carry everything.
I've just got used to topping up or replacing his pencil case every half term.
Games kit does eventually come back, so we have three sets. Cheap coat.
Despite this, he's never forgotten his homework, and is extremely conscientious.
For wallet, jumpers etc train them not to put anything down. If it is not in their bag/pocket/wherever it's kept it should be in their hand.
If a jumper comes off it goes in the bag or is tied onto themselves. Don't rely on putting it on a chair back , it will be lost. If they are holding a wallet/travel pass and need both hands, put the thing away in pocket or bag, NEVER down. Treat it like a variant of the "floor is lava" game until the behaviour is second nature
Good tips about doing the ‘training’ at home which I hope at some point he’ll replicate at school.
Mixed day today - found football boots and shin pads, lost school jumper. Swings and roundabouts.
Might try nd come up with a saying or acronym for tempering things too - good idea. The trickiest hurdle are on more ‘unusual’ days (eg, PE or guitar lessons).
I’ve got a lanyard and I might glue a note on it saying ‘find school jumper’ for tomorrow and he’s not allowed to take it off until he’s found it if st least retraced his step and asked at the school office (I’m embarrassed at how often he/I have had to go there looking for list stuff).
He’ll probably lose the bloody lanyard mind.
Is everything named?
Your posts are full of “I’m going to do this” and “I’m going to do that” - sit him down and ask him how he is going to be responsible. What checks is he going to put in place. What checklists is he going to write?
Tell him he gets 3 points a week, one taken away for anything that gets lost, but put back on if he then finds it within the week. If he has 3 points by Friday evening you make him his favourite dinner or go out or something. Just sit back and relax - let him do the checking and looking around. The more work you do on this the harder he will find it to manage himself.
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