Helping Kids Remember Stuff for School.

Updated on December 06, 2011
J.K. asks from Condon, MT
12 answers

I just got back from delivering my daughter's clarinet to the school for about the 5th time this year. Any suggestions for helping her remember. She only has to take it 2 times a week so it's not part of our every day routine. She also forgets her lunch and homework sometimes. She is 9 so I think she is old enough to be responsible for it herself, but even after reminding her, she will forget.

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So What Happened?

You all have some good suggestions. I did tell her I wasn't gonna bring it, but they are practicing for the Christmas concert right now so I thought it was a little more important that she have it today. The biggest help is just knowing that I am not alone in the problem. I guess it must be something a lot of kids have trouble with. I just don't remember ever doing it when I was in school.

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answers from Dallas on

Don't take it to her next time. Let her suffer the consequence at school and then she will probably remember after that.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Seattle on

You are right, at 9 she is old enough to remember these things. Stop bringing her lunch to her, stop bringing her homework or her clarinet. Let her suffer some consequences from someone besides you! She forgets her lunch? Guess she'll be hungry! She forgets her homework? Guess she'll get a lower grade! She forgets her clarinet? Guess she doesn't get to go to music class. There has to be a natural consequence so that she starts reminding herself or else she will always think that you will run things down to the school for her. Don't let her do that!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

Start having her sit all her stuff together the night before. If the problem is that she does that already but forgets what she needs on specific days since she doesn't need it EVERY day, then make (or have her make) a chart that lists or shows what is needed each day. As for the lunch, since I pack my daughter's lunch, I am responsible for putting it in her bag (she's only 5). So in your case, if you make it you should place it with the rest of the stuff she has gotten ready the night before. You can also try to remind her of things in the morning.

Then, if she forgets, let her deal with the consequences once in a while. For lunch, call and give the cafeteria a credit/debit card or promise to send money in the next day so she can get some kind of lunch but don't run to the school. All other non-critical things, let her learn a lesson once in a while. Then, if it happens once in a while, bail her out.

My 20 year old came home from college to get his suit (he needs it for a presentation at school) because he forgot it last weekend when home for Thanksgiving. As he was leaving Sunday, I got your suit? He turned and went back in the house...sure enough, he almost forgot again!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I so understand what you are going through! My ten year old son is the same way but probably much worse. In the last two or so weeks, he has forgotten to do his homework, forgot his homework at school, forgot his violin music and violin at school, left his lunch bag at school, and lost his coat at school! About three months ago he forgot to take his binder to school so I had to take it to him. I told him that if he keeps forgetting these things, that I will no longer remind him or take them to him anymore. Hopefully, that will finally teach him to be more responsible. Since I told him that, he hasn't forgotten anything so far...fingers crossed. Good luck to you! :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

My mom gave me the one time I will bring anything to school "get out of trouble free card". So ONE time each school year she would bring me lunch money, or my band things, or my pe clothes, or my homework....but only ONE she told me to use it very very carefully.

Boy did I ever use it carefully...because she meant business. I would hold out and use it for a really important issue like if you could go without dressing out for three days before lowering your grade...I would wait until I was at the third time of forgetting my p.e. clothes...or if it was a really big project...

Some years I never even used my free pass...I would take the consequences and keep waiting to use it. I got really good about remembering things.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

OMG, Please let someone answer this with THE 'answer'. Our 11 has the same issue. Today in fact, he left his entire backpack on the desk by the back door which he walks right past on his way to the car. We have stopped bringing his things to school.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Have her get her things together the night before so she's not rushed and has time to think about what she needs.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Oh, Lord! If you figure this out, PLEASE let me know the secret! LOL
This morning, I was dropping my son (8.5) off at school and he was like "PULL OVER! I have a grammar page still to do!" Grrrr......

The best things I have found that help:
Go over the backpack & everything the night before.
Again before school.
Always double check what DAD has done if you're not there when it's getting packed! (OK, this might be specific to MY husband....and THIS morning...)
Mark some special things on the calender (example: my son tutors a kid in math 2 morning per week, so we mark that, because it's something out of the ordinary schedule for him to be aware of)
At some point, they kind of have to sink or swim. I don't go to any heroic measures to find out what the homework is "for sure" if he's not--I don't call classmates, etc.
At his school, they have to stay in at recess if they don't have their homework done, so I probably shouldn't have allowed him to finish that sheet this the car....with a lint-covered pencil nub......sigh.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

HA! I just ran my 9 yo son's backpack to him this morning -- you are not alone! Of course this is a suggestion that I have not implemented myself, but I will put it out there anyway. How about making a weekly checklist to hang by the door that she leaves through. It can have the standard items for each day pre-printed, and if you slip it in a plastic sheet protector you can also use a dry erase marker to write in anything that is one-time or occurs in a rotating schedule. She can look it over before she leaves, or if you attach the dry erase marker to it she can even physically check each item off before she leaves. My sons teacher made a similar checklist for him a couple years ago at school because he was always getting "lost" and distracted during the end of the day routine, almost missing the bus for home and frequently forgetting his homework or other notes that he needed to bring home. It worked really well for him. Hope you find a solution, I know running forgotten items to school is a real pain.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I have a forget-ful nine-year-old, too! It helps to have a specific place for each thing. We're lucky to have a decent-sized mudroom situation, so we keep our bulletin board there with calendar and permission slips tacked up. We have plastic pockets hanging there with each kid's name on it to hold homework so that every evening when the table is cleared of homework that is not ready to turn in, it's kept in the pocket. Once homework is complete, it goes straight into the backpack in order to not risk it being left behind. Every morning my 6 year old says "Quiz me, Mom!" And I ask him whether he has packed his backpack with: his lunch? his planner? his homework? his library book to return? etc. Perhaps you could make up laminated checklist for her to check each morning?
Concerning the clarinet— Could you could designate a shelf or hook near your door that's the home for it when it's not in practice? What about tying a favorite colored ribbon on the handle of the case and circling the days of the week with that same color marker on the calendar for the days it goes to school? "Is this a green morning?" etc. Believe me, I am forgetful myself, so I know the struggles all too well. It's all about creating a system that will work for you and for her and practicing it, just like an instrument! Good luck!
PS I'm all for natural consequences, but I hope that if I can teach my kids some ways of organizing themselves now, that they won't struggle like I have. I think you have to take both approaches in good measure. My 6 year old is just naturally more organized and on top of things than his older brother—some kids need more guidance in this area than others.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My son is really, really forgetful and he's 11. And I agree that things that aren't part of the daily routine are very difficult. So what I've done is set the alarm on my phone to go off and I remember to ask him those days (I have to do that because I can't always remember the days it is!) When that alarm goes off, he grabs his trumpet and puts it in the doorway so he can't get past it to leave for school without remembering it. I have only brought his trumpet once this year and that was a day that really was not in the routine at all. He's getting better at remembering on his own now, and to be honest I think it's because he LOVES band and playing and would really hate to miss it.

****after reading your SWH: I don't remember forgetting that much either as a kid, but I wasn't involved in much outside of school, it was really the only thing I had going on. I had one teacher all day long in grades 1-6, then just two teachers 7-8. So it was easier I guess to keep it together!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

I gave my kids 1 free rescue a term/trimester.

They could choose to use their free rescue, "pay" for a rescue, or take the consequences from the school/teacher.

Paid rescues were usually in the form of compensating me for my time and trouble (extra chores, etc) -- sometimes $ if they had more of that than they did time.

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