Having a forgetful child can make all parts of life more stressful. It is normal for all children to forget things from time to time. If forgetfulness is something that happens frequently, you need to develop a plan to help your child.
It is important to keep your patience when dealing with this issue. Your frustration can spill over to him. This will not help and can actually hurt. Feeling the pressure from you can make it harder for him to focus. Instead, create good habits. Allow plenty of time before leaving the house. Ask him leading questions, such as “Do you have everything you need for soccer?” before leaving. Help him develop the tools he needs to overcome this problem.
Make Sure He Knows What Is Expected
The first step in helping improve your child’s memory is to make sure he understands what you are asking. When you give him directions, start by mentioning his name. If he doesn’t respond, don’t assume he heard. Repeat his name until you have his attention. Make eye contact with him while you are letting him know what he needs to do.
Strengthen Organizational Skills
If your child routinely forgets things he needs for school or sports, set him up for success. Create a landing zone for these items. It should be as close as possible to his main exit. If that isn’t feasible, put it by his bedroom door. Make sure the landing zone makes sense. It is easy for this area to get piled up with miscellaneous jackets, shoes, and toys. Make it clear that the only thing that goes here are the things he needs when he leaves the house.
When he gets in, remind him to return the items to the landing spot. If a sports uniform needs washing, it should go straight to the landing spot from the dryer. Initially, you will have to remind him frequently. With patience, he will develop the habit of using the landing zone and checking it before he leaves the house.
Everyone Benefits From Lists
Adults aren’t the only ones who need lists. Help your child develop his organizational skills by encouraging him to write lists for himself. If he needs a packed lunch for school one day, have him write it on the calendar. Keeping lists of homework assignments and due dates, things he needs to take to school, and anything else he needs to keep up with can help him remember.
Build Good Habits
One common behavior of forgetful kids is neglecting to do their homework until bedtime, or even in the morning before school. This is a problem for several reasons. Of course, it is frustrating, and he may not get the work done. It is also an issue because staying up late to do the work or trying to complete it quickly in the morning sets him up for failure. Instead of focusing on getting ready for bed or getting ready for school, he is rushing through his work. He is then more likely to forget what he needs to do to leave for school.
Make it a point to have time to complete homework every evening. It should be early enough that it doesn’t spill over into bedtime. Always ask your child if he has homework. If he does not, he can spend the time reading or working on something quietly. Building this study time into the evening routine helps ensure he doesn’t miss any homework assignments.
Check His Sleep Schedule
While forgetting things is normal, you want to make sure there is no physical reason your child may be doing so. Lack of sleep can lead to forgetfulness. Gradually move his bedtime earlier until he wakes up easily in the morning. Children often need more sleep than you may assume, particularly during periods when they are rapidly growing.