How to Teach Kids to Find Their Own ‘Missing’ Belongings

How_to_Teach_Kids_to_Find_Their_Own_Missing_Belongings

When we were kids, it was always amazing to know that Mom could find anything. Didn’€™t know where it was? Mom did. Didn’€™t know how to find it? Mom did. Even if you had already looked under your bed for something, Mom could look there two minutes later and find it.

Now that we are moms, we know it to be true. Moms can find anything!

However, it can feel so frustrating to be asked again and again to find something when our kids could do it themselves. Now, we can start teaching them to do exactly that.

When we were kids, it was always amazing to know that Mom could find anything. Didn’€™t know where it was? Mom did. Didn’€™t know how to find it? Mom did. Even if you had already looked under your bed for something, Mom could look there two minutes later and find it.

Now that we are moms, we know it to be true. Moms can find anything!

However, it can feel so frustrating to be asked again and again to find something when our kids could do it themselves. Now, we can start teaching them to do exactly that.

1. Learn what you are missing.
Take a week and start to notice what your kids are missing on a regular basis. Is it their home-reading or library books? Toques and mitts? What about their special shoes for dance or soccer?
Once you know what’€™s missing, you can move to the next step.

2. Create a place for the missing pieces.
Organization can help cut down on many parenting frustrations. It can be hard to know where to start so use the list you made in step one and create home base places for these things. When library books come into the house, they go in the library basket. Toques and mitts find a home at kid-level very close to the door. Textbooks live where the kids do their homework.

3. Use it and don’€™t lose it.
Build a plan with your kids to use the item near the place where it lives and then to put it back. If this isn’€™t a habit, you have the chance to build and teach that habit. Set the timer when the thing comes out of its place. When the timer rings, it is time to put it back before going on to the next activity.

4. Build an activity list/bag for each activity.
Work with your child to write a list of items needed for each activity. If they can print, get them to print it out. If they can’€™t read, take a picture of what goes in the bag. Keep this list close to the bag and have your child pack it up the night before the activity. Initially do it with the child, going through the list together. Then, have the child get it ready and check on it. Finally, it will become the child’€™s responsibility to pack the bag independently. The natural consequence of a poorly packed bag is that the child learns to get by without the item for that activity. Allow your child the chance to learn this lesson. It will only take one or two times and then responsibility will kick in.

If you are using the same shoes for a couple of activities, build a plan that rather than putting the shoes back into the bag, they go into the next place they are needed at the end of the activity.

As we work through these problems in a systematic way, we are

  • Teaching our kids how to problem-solve
  • Teaching our kids that they are capable of being involved in the solution
  • Teaching our kids the skills that they need for organization
  • Teaching our kids that they are capable and responsible
  • Teaching our kids that we don’€™t need to do everything for them

These are all part of our parenting job. We are also decreasing our work load in the long run. That will allow us time to find our own stuff…because we don’€™t have our moms here to find it for us.

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