Well it seems that no matter where you live winter is hitting with a vengeance. Now, I am on the west coast of Canada and compared to the rest of the country we get off easy. But, we aren’t used to snow. We don’t know how to drive in it, how to clear it or how to walk in it. So, it’s been an interesting time out here.
But the kids are having a blast. What about your neighbourhood?
Kids forgot stuff and parents roll their eyes and then save the child. Is this quality parenting? I would say no, we need to teach our kids how to remember.
Helping Kids to Remember
It’s around 9 am and in the local school there is a line-up down the hall outside the Principal’s office. What is going on here? Was there a group of kids who got involved in a dust-up in the schoolyard causing them all to be sent to the office?
Not likely. Because, you see, these are parents. They have arrived with lunches, homework projects and gym strip. Each of them is helping their child who forgot to bring everything he needed to school that day.
Some parents find themselves in this line-up almost every day. They will tell you that their child is forgetful and they need to help him by bringing whatever he forgot.
Are these kids really forgetful? Do they forget it when you promise a treat after shopping or extra computer time on the weekend? I bet they remember those things.
Kids who are forgetful need motivation to remember. It’s part of thinking ahead and planning what they will need for the rest of the day.
The first thing we can do to help them is to stop being the person who rescues them. Buy him an app for his phone or a big wall calendar that will allow him to list everything he needs to take to school each day. He can list all his assignments and appointments and also create a to do list each day.
Then let him know that you are confident that he can now handle remembering on his own and you won’t be making special trips to the school with forgotten stuff.
Don’t label him forgetful because that just reinforces his belief that it’s part of his personality and it’s what you expect from him. So instead of saying, “Don’t forget your lunch, homework, violin…” either say nothing or if you must say something use the term remember, “Please remember your lunch, homework, violin…“
The first time you need to step back and not rescue him will likely be more challenging for you than for him. But if he has to live with the consequences of his behaviour, he will learn very quickly.
If she’s gotten into the habit of forgetting her homework, let her know that her homework is her responsibility. You’re there to support but not remember. You can tell her that you already completed Grade 6, now it’s her turn.
Then talk to her teacher and let her know that you’re handing the responsibility for remembering and completing homework over to your child. You want her to learn to be responsible and become dependable. Hopefully the teacher will cooperate and allow your child to understand that she will now bear the consequences of chronic forgetting. You should then tell your child you’ve had this conversation with the teacher.
Kids thrive on routine so create specific routines to allow them to more easily be responsible. If they know that each evening they should pack their backpack and place it by the door, they will then remember. Work with them to create a list of required activities including checking the schedule to see if they need something special that day such as sports equipment or a particular school project.
Sometimes forgetting is simply a way of saying, “I don’t want to. ” If he routinely forgets to carry out a responsibility such as feeding the dog, you need to work with him to either figure out why he dislikes that chore so much or create a logical consequence when the dog dish is left empty.
Different kids will handle forgetfulness differently. We just need to help them to become kids who remember. It might be a list, a large wall calendar, a routine, or an app that helps them to get their life in order.
You help them determine the most effective tool for them and then let them become kids who always remember.
If You Live on Vancouver Island Kathy will be coming to your community.
I am looking forward to speaking at the Connecting The Dots conference for parents. It’s being help at Royal Bay Secondary School in Victoria.
As always my presentations will share a basic value that I call
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
Digital Books Make Parenting Information More Accessible.
There are times when digital is the perfect answer and let’s face, on a holiday having access to hundreds of books on one small tablet is ideal. I will have my kindle with me on the trip.
There are lots of times when a busy parent would like to be able to simply read and my books are digital and make it easier for you to take a look.
Two of my parenting books started as print versions but the third is only digital. The first two are also now in digital format. Who’s in Charge Anyway? talks about roots. It provides a clear road map for parent to focus on the tough but rewarding job of raising children to be responsible, self-disciplined adults.
But Nobody Told Me I’d Ever Have to Leave Home talks about raising children to become capable young men and women.
I am told the books are down to earth and common sense as well as easy to read. If you want some basic parenting tips and information these books are a good place to start.