A Dumb Question, but Please Help Me Decide

Updated on January 22, 2013
M.O. asks from Highland Park, NJ
30 answers

So Mr. Kid, who is usually pretty good about keeping track of his stuff, managed to come home from school today minus a sweatshirt, a karate glove, AND a homework packet. The packet is important b/c it contains a week's worth of homework and because it's used for communication btw parents and teachers - e.g., to tell them that he'll be in after-school. And I can't effin' decide: do I put him on the bus and let him figure things out for himself, or will he just wind up in a hopeless muddle? He's 6 and in 1st grade.

I am all about natural consequences, but I can foresee this snowballing into a mess. It'd be a pain in the butt for me to drive him in,, and make me slightly late for work, but it's doable.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the reality check, everyone. I had been feeling like I hadn't been giving him enough responsibility -- in terms of putting his things away, etc., at home, and that thought sort of spilled into this other thing. I brought him to school, and he was overwhelmed by this new and different problem in life, so clearly I needed to be there. Thanks to all!


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answers from Appleton on

Don't you wish you could buy something like a Batman utility belt to keep his stuff together.

OH ya -- they have a back pack!!!! I think my kids had a secret drain in the bottom of their back pack where all the stuff would go between school and home. Some of it ended up in the galaxy next to all the missing socks.

Call or email his teacher and tell her about the missing stuff. Then plan to go to school sometime tomorrow to go through the lost and found box and hopefully at least part of it is there.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

He's only in 1st grade. Mom, you do have to teach him. Let him just suffer the consequences of getting on the bus and go to school like normal.

He needs to go to school and the school give him consequences of perhaps not having recess and working on homework or some assignment he didn't get done on time since he is just 6 and isn't perfect yet...lol. he may not be able to do this perfectly until he's, well, I still occasionally forget stuff.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

I gave my daughter two rescues oper school year, in which I would bring forgotten assignements or items to school for her. Once those were used up, she had to take the zero. She leraned quickly that keeping up with her belongings was HER responsibility, not mine.

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answers from Dallas on

Mr. Kid needs help. You have a long way to go with helping Mr. Kid.
Believe it or not, even the most together kids and moms you ever knew, have this going on all the time. This is life. Your job is not to punish him for being forgetful and scattered but to train him to handle things.

If you forgot something for work, you would have a back up plan or a plan to remember tomorrow. You would put something in a place that you wouldn't forget it. Those are the things you are going to help him with, for years to come.

Consequences are good tools but compassion makes you family. You are his advocate, his cheerleader, his teacher. The rest of the world will be his critic.

15 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Beautiful words from Beenthere: "Consequences are good tools but compassion makes you family. You are his advocate, his cheerleader, his teacher. The rest of the world will be his critic."

I think my answer would be to 'trade' time with my son, which I sometimes do. For example, if he can't find his hat for school (it's cold!), I will agree to help him look for it, and that in exchange, he will help me with something for an equal amount of time.

So, in this case, the natural consequence of his forgetfulness is that you will help him and that he will help you. It is natural to barter or trade goods for services!

(I'm in agreement that at six, there's a lot of points to 'figure out'.... I work in my son's school library, with the first graders-- many of them have to check with us up at the desk to see if they have returned their previous books so that they can check out new ones--they just really don't keep track, even if the book was returned earlier that morning. It's pretty typical that they don't have it 'all together' at this age. And if your son were eight or ten, I'd likely be advising you differently. :) )

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

He's 6 so cut him some slack. The grace and compassion you show your son will come back to you when you forget something important for him. And don't you know, all us moms forget stuff so it won't be long before the tables are turned.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Hopeless muddle. He is 6 and is NOT going to figure this out for himself. If he were 10, that would be different, but he's barely out of kindergarten. He had an off day. Help him out.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I can relate, I have a DD the same age. I think 6 is too young for natural consequences in this situation. Help the poor little dude out!

Haven't we ALL forgotten important things at one point or another? Humans are imperfect beings, and 6 year old beings are all the more susceptible to being forgetful and scatterbrained.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I would have, (depending what time it was), called the Teacher at school, tell her his homework packet is lost. I assume, the homework packet thus has his name/classroom number/Teacher's name on it.
And give her a head's up.
AND tell the school/Teacher, that his sweatshirt and Karate glove, is lost, too.
HOPEFULLY his items has his NAME on it.
My kids' school has a HUGE BIN of kids' stuff that is lost or forgotten daily. But the items don't have names on it. So it is tossed by the school because it goes unclaimed.

He is 6. My son is 6 and in 1st grade too.
If that happened with my son, I would have, written a note to the teacher, put it in my son's backpack and tell him to give it to the Teacher tomorrow morning. BUT I would have, also.... e-mailed the Teacher about it.
And I have done that, when my son had, forgotten or lost something at school.
My boy is 6. He is really good about things, but there is a HUGE margin of error, in kids this age and being a boy. Common. They forget things or misplace it. It happens everyday.
I don't "punish" my son for that. Because... he did NOT do it, on purpose. It was an honest mistake. And the Teacher knows him and knows he is not like that, everyday. She doesn't punish him over it, either.

Even I, forgot my grocery list once and didn't know where I put it... and I was already AT the grocery store to grocery shop. I did not punish myself.

You need to, send a note with your son, in his backpack, for the Teacher tomorrow. Or yes, you go and take your son to school tomorrow.
Or, isn't the Teacher able to be contacted by E-mail? That is how many teachers do things nowadays.
Tell your son, to give the note to his Teacher tomorrow.
Explain, that he forgot or lost, his homework packet/his Karate glove and Sweatshirt.
But if these things do not have his name on it, then there is no guarantee it will be found. Hopefully it is all just there in his classroom still.

I wouldn't punish my son about this.
My son HAS forgotten to bring stuff home from class before. But it is not habitual. It was honestly forgetting. He and his teacher and, I... know that.
And it did not... snowball into a mess.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


He's in the FIRST GRADE...HELP HIM...if he were in the 6th grade? I would say let him figure it out.

If it's not too late - call the Do Jang to find out if the packet is still there.
Let the teacher know, via e-mail, that the packet is missing.

Because of his age, I would rather help him on this one than let him suffer the consequences....

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I thought you were talking about a 6th grader. He's too young for you to be expecting him to figure this out himself.

Some kids are good at this (girls more than boys.) Some are dreadful at it (boys more than girls.) You have to help him, Mira.

Sometimes you have to stop doing so many activities with them because they just cannot handle it all. Maybe that's part of his problem. More likely, he just can't think through it yet.

Natural consequences may not help with the problem, and they may hurt his self-esteem so much that he stops trying. You have to find a balance so that you don't shoot yourself in the foot in trying to teach him a lesson. Quite frankly, I started doing this when my sons were in about 5th grade. You're WAY early to be expecting him to act so "old" right now.

ETA - Rev Ruby, what you wrote was SO funny and SO good. Ah, nice laugh I had!

Good luck,

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Seriously? He's in first grade.
Think about it.
How much "life experience" with regard to being organized does he have?
I have a 4th grader and its all about natural consequences now.
First grade? Not so much.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

Can you get hold of the teacher from home? E-mail? Phone call? Go ahead and do that. Then you'll need to tell your boy to talk to his teacher about having lost his packet.

If the packet is in his desk, they'll find it, and he'll have learned something important. Could it be at the karate school? You might give them a call, because they probably have as large a lost-and-found department as the first grade!

You say your son is usually pretty good at keeping track of his stuff. So this isn't the same situation as a sixth-grader who loses things every day because his brains have fallen out. Your boy may be older than he's ever been, but he's still pretty young. You want to help him LEARN what to do. Stay on his side. You're annoyed right now, but this is just a part of being a mother with a first-grade son.

It reminds me of how incredibly patient my own mother was when I would lose sweaters, gloves, permission slips, notes to her to bring three dozen cookies for the next class party... I'm amazed I lived to grow up. (I would find all the lost stuff at the end of the year when I finally cleaned out my desk. Did I learn how to KEEP my desk clean? Well, in a word, no.)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

In 1st grade, they do tend to forget things. Both of my girls were like that; surprisingly my daughter who ALWAYS has her act together now (as a 5th grader) was the most forgetful in 1st grade!

I would suggest that you drive him tomorrow, but let him know this is a very nice thing you're doing for him (thank you, Mommy!), and review some strategies with him for next time. Maybe put an index card inside his backpack for him to review before he leaves the classroom: 1) coat, 2) mittens, 3) homework folder, 4) lunchbox (etc). We finally did this for my older daughter in 2nd grade after the millionth time she forgot her homework folder, and it did work. It was actually a girlfriend of mine who teaches 3rd grade who suggested the index card to us - she said she does that at the beginning of each school year with the kids in her class, because so many kids forget things! :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I think he is too young for you to just let him handle it on his own. I'd take him to school, and let him know you are there if he needs you, and let him handle it from there. Then tell him what he needs to do in the future and tell him next time you won't be there. I bet if you just put him on the bus you might get a phone call saying your child is very upset. Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Yeah, 6 is pretty young to be fixing this himself. He'll sometimes need your help with these kinds of things...and for the next couple of years, you SHOULD help him. Of course, discuss with him HOW you're going to solve this and involve him in finding his things.

My 15 yr old son STILL sometimes forgets to take something to school (rare, but it happens). Just like, sometimes, my husband leaves the house without his wallet or I go to play tennis wearing my slippers. It happens to the MOST responsible of us.

But at 6, this situation might be a bit overwhelming for your little guy. Help him, mom.

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answers from Milwaukee on

so what i'm getting from this is that at 6 years old you could do everything for yourself. you could remember everything that you needed and didn't have a bad day. WOW!!! you were good. please help your child.....he is only 6 and to think he has a perfect parent that won't help him follow in her footsteps.....what do parents expect from their CHILDREN. and i'm shouting CHILDREN!!! they are children not adults. i do understand they need to learn but to learn with help!!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

When my children do something that frustrates or upsets me, I always try to think about their intent before deciding how to respond. If it was completely unintentional as with your son I would help him and then work with him on how he can do better next time. If they do something willfully then I allow natural consequences to teach the lesson.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

Help him-he's six-when he gets older, still help him but scream the entire time.

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answers from San Francisco on

He's still little/young enough to need your guidance. He should lose some treats and things for not keeping track (but don't be too harsh). Just make sure he knows why and you EXPECT him to improve. Make a chart so everyone can keep track of his SUCCESS!

Tell him this is his "SUCCESS CHART".

Please keep us posted.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

if he's usually pretty responsible, i'd help him out with this one.
for the most part, i'm with you and letting the natural consequences take place. but everyone needs a little help sometimes.

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answers from Washington DC on

If he's usually good about it, I'd take the path that would give me the least grief in the long run and tell him that like those insurance commercials he might see, this is his ONE "accident forgiveness". It's also a matter of important info btwn you and the staff so it's more than just homework.

And if you haven't already get some nice labels for all his gear so even if he drops it, someone will know it's his. Mabel's Labels are sturdy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I would call the school or teacher asking for a secondary hmwk packet.
Also, ask if they have a lost & found (you'll most likely have to look
through that in person)

I would not let him figure it out on his own. He's too young & still needs
your assistance. It's our job as parents. He'll get it as he ages.

They don't get natural consequence at this age & yes I think it will
snowball out of contro. If you help him, he won't get behind in his home-

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rockford on

Glad to see you took him in and helped him w/ this...I have an almost 13 yr old son who I still look out for. If he forgets his homework, I find someone to take it to him. If he's running late, I'll get his clothes out of the laundry. Yes, I need to let him do for himself, but he has ADD and is in 2 sports (his choice) and since I work at home and CAN help, I do.

It's tough because at my son's age, I do need to let him find out what happens when he forgets something, but this year has been hard enough. We have had to change his meds, his grades fell, he lost his glasses (1st time in 5 yrs) and we just haven't been able to get them replaced yet...I guess I look at as, as long as I can help, I will. May not be the right answer, but it's the right answer for our family!

Good luck...sounds like you are definitely on the right track and your son will be better for it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

At six he's still pretty young. First grade is a big adjustment. I would throw in a life saver on this one and help him out. If he were in 5th - 8th grade, I would opt not to step in so quickly and allow him to attempt to figure things out. My 14 year old came home with out her sweatshirt right before Christmas. Apparently, you can lose a sweatshirt at any age. :-)

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answers from New York on

Ah he is six. Save him, but certainly talk to him about trying to remember things. He is six and a boy lol. Now at 8 yrs or older, you are on your own.
Usually once or twice and lesson learned. My granddaughters make me nuts. I go to pick up baby and put 10 year old on bus. Three days in a row, Mom I need a towel. Ok once maybe she forgot. Three days in a row no excuse. I love love my DIL but she just goes n gets towel. Me not on your life!!!everyday, where are our shoes etc etc. now, my grandson is organized n together lol. Go figure. In my house, backpacks n shoes n jackets were at front door everyday!!!! So when young you cut them some slack, older get tough or you will have a 17 ear old who is irresponsible.

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answers from Washington DC on

I'm not sure from your question what you want him to figure out on his own or what you are going in for, but I have a 6 yo in first grade that can't seem to remember anything. Most of the time he leaves things in his classroom. A few times in the gym or the bus (his older sister actually came home with those items). I usually let him figure out where the things went on his own and if there is something important the teacher needs to know I shoot her an email. Almost all times he manages to find what he needs. My vote would be put him on the bus.



answers from New York on

I don't let things take their "natural course" when homework is involved. Other stuff, yes. Homework/schoolwork, no. Why, because that simple little "0"/"F"/"E" can mean the difference between an "A" and a "B+" when it's averaged into a final grade. This means the too that the child could be taken off the honor roll. Grades are important in our family, and by letting things take a "natural course," it would be like telling our DS that grades/school doesn't matter. The other thing is that you are talking about a 6 yro. A 6yro forgets, just like us adults do. No one is perfect. Letting things take a "natural course" or punishing a child isn't going to make that child remember any better. Someting could have happened to distract the child. You need to talk to your son and find out what happened, then come up with a fool proof plan so it doesn't happen again. (It's going to happen again.) It could be that someone was talking to him or he couldn't find it in his desk. Train him to put all the books on one side of the inside of his desk. (left side) When there's homework in that class, he's to move that book to the other side. (right side) The folder should also be on the same side as the homework side. (right side) Then when school's done, all he has to do is to quick grab all the books on the homework side (right side) of the desk. Lowering his chances of forgetting homework again. You mentioned about the karate stuff, where was that? Find out details so you can train your child to be independent rather than relying on "the nature of things" or punishment to try to teach him.


answers from Kansas City on

golllll-y. lol. my 6 year old is in kindergarten, but there are weeks when i have to go "hunting" at the school for things, two, three times per week. he is also adhd. (he's getting better, now that he is on meds). but still. yeah, he's a baby. i would try to make an effort to help him out. sorry lol. it's frustrating!



answers from Kansas City on

I'm glad you took him and helped to get the situation taken care of. I know I probably shouldn't but I still end up helping with my 8th grader!! I will send him to school with instructions of how to handle something and he'll come home having made no progress. After a couple of days of that I send an e-mail or two and things are resolved.


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