< 1 min read
When my son was younger, he was forever losing items of clothing (especially sportswear), school lunch boxes, and even toys and games. It was incredibly frustrating as the items would invariably turn up soon after we purchased a replacement.
A friend recently commented that she has exactly the same problem with her youngest son who is 7.
Did your kids also go through this phase? What did you do to help your child look after their possessions more carefully?
Marked as spam
I really like this question as it is so prevalent for families. For us, I have found the routine (sometimes tedious) of having a place for everything and consciously putting things into their 'spots' really helpful. For example, when we come home from swimming, I ask for help to put the wet clothes into the laundry, then shoes into the shoebox and lunch bags into the kitchen so that nothing is left in the car and every item as its space. Then when it is time to go out, we have less of a fuss as everything is (usually) in its spot ready to go and likewise when we come home again.
We have 7 kids and their personalities play a bit part in how much or how little they loose things. I have a son who really looks after all of his belongings meticulously. I also have a daughter that in one term of school lost 2 hats, 3 jumpers and numerous lunch and snack containers.
I prefer to go with natural consequences for my kiddos that don't look after their things. It might sound mean but they do learn. For example, after little miss lost her 3rd jumper - she went to school with no jumper. She was unhappy with being cold so spent the morning before the school bell rang looking for her lost items. Amazingly - she found one of her jumpers. Also, a few years ago one of my boys lost 2 lunch boxes so for a period of time he had to take his food to school in a plastic bag. He was very unhappy about this but after a week he got the message. When we purchased a new lunch box - he hasn't lost that one since.
I do try to tell the kids to be mindful of their things and by remembering to place them in their bag instead of putting them down somewhere. This is helping to build habits that will help but its an ongoing and slow process. Some kids are just naturally more disorganized but natural consequences definitely help them to learn to be more careful and responsible with their belongings.
This is so relevant, as it was a hot topic for a few weeks in school as to "where the missing Boggs boot is?!" (How does one lose one shoe?!) Anyways, kids losing things is all too common.
We use a Sharpie marker on clothes. It's the best and cheapest way to label things. You can find labels that are very durable and can be printed with your child's name on it, but they cost more money.
It's been a challenge to teach them this skill. But when we lost the boot, I had my son ask his teachers to help him if he didn't think he could find it on his own. I also had an email out to her, too, with more details, but I wanted him to go through the process, too.
We buy a lot of secondhand stuff, so when it is lost, it's not as painful for me to see money down the drain. If they ask for new things (toys, clothes, etc.) I try to emphasize that they might not be ready for new things until they can keep track of their stuff better. The best trick that we have is to have a place for everything. We set up a rack in our coat closet that is easy for the kids to reach so they can hang up their stuff promptly when they get home. Now, this doesn't make them NOT lose things, but it does help them have a bit more respect for their things if they have their own 'home'.