When Kids Keep Forgetting Things at School

By Barbara Greenberg PhD

Kids ForgettingWe’ve all rushed to school to deliver something for our child who has forgotten lunch, a musical instrument or even a signed consent form. Every parent has gotten at least a few of these phone calls or texts from their frantic kids who calm down quickly after you promise them that yep you will bring that item to the main office ASAP.

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So, you can imagine my surprise and intrigue when I learned that one New Jersey school district has decided to stop unannounced parental visits this Fall. Apparently,the school superintendent in Summit New Jersey is concerned about school safety and student accountability.

Do Parents Rush In Too Often?

I have given this position a lot of thought. As a parent myself I understand how difficult it is to have our kids experience any distress. On the other hand, I fully agree that our kids need to learn about accountability and that Mom and Dad cannot always be available to fill in the blanks or, in this case, deliver the goods.

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What about some sort of compromise? How about if our kids each get five passes per semester. They are allowed to have parents bring forgotten items to school up to five times. When these passes are used up then the kids are on their own if they are forgetful. This sets parameters for the child, the school and for the parents. My guess is that this will increase student accountability in a hurry. Hey, we learn if we face consequences; right? And these five visits per semester should be announced visits so schools remain safe and don’t have a wave of unannounced visitors.

Preventing Forgetfulness

I have some other tips about helping your kids with organization so that you and your kids don’t find yourself in this situation too often. Consider:

1. Spend some time with your younger kids organizing their belongings the night before a school day. At all ages, we benefit from organizing our lives the night before an event or the next day.

2. Help your child find a book or organizer that they feel comfortable using to keep track of assignments and other things to do. An organizer that works for one child may not work for another. Most of us have different systems of organization, right?

3. Model being organized and planning. We are our kids’ best teachers!

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About this author

Barbara Greenberg PhD

Dr. Barbara Greenberg, is a teen, adolescent, child & family psychologist and is licensed in Connecticut and New York. After 21 years of running an inpatient adolescent unit at a private psychiatric hospital in New York she moved on to private practice, consulting work, writing and media. She is the... more >>

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