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Where does it all go? 

My kids have lost enough water bottles, lunch boxes, mittens, and hats to outfit an entire classroom.

And once it’s gone, despite the 30 minute effort of fighting through the lost and found, it’s usually gone forever.

This has got to stop!

After many failed attempts using praise ( a cookie for every time they brought all their stuff safely home) or punishment (No waterbottle? I guess you will just have to drink from the fountain), I decided there had to be a more didactic way to achieve this goal.

How in the world did I do this?

I’ve been using these 4 simple tricks to teach, remind and assist my two boys to successfully never lose anything again. And so far….it’s working!


#1 Make a Laminated List

Create an inventory list of what goes to school (camp, sports, overnights), and more importantly, what needs to come home from there.

Copy and laminate two lists and put one at home (by their hook or where ever they keep their school/camp stuff) and bring the other to school/camp and attach it to a safe place such as their desk, locker, cubby, or on their backpack (something that they are less likely to leave behind). Remind them to check their list every morning. Every day when the bell rings to go home, they are to look at that list and take inventory (if you pick them up, ask “did you check your list?”


Bottom Line:

We want them to succeed- so let’s give them some tools to help them do so.

#2 Everything Has a Home: And it lives there unless they are using it.

How something is never misplaced: if it is always either in their hand/on their body or in its home.

When they take off their jacket, hat and mittens, there is surely a dedicated place at school where they are to be placed. That is their home. They live there until they need to use them again.

What about when they are not at school? Make a place at home for all those easily lost items so they have their own HOME!

go home

Same goes for camp, playdates or traveling. When they are done playing with their favorite spiderman toy or ipod, it needs to go back in their backpack or whatever the designated home is for that trip.

Help remind your kids. “You need to put your jacket in its home!”

#3 Say Goodbye To Your Chair

This is a fun tactic for you and your kids to use in order to take a moment and double check that they have everything before skipping off to their next activity. They stand up, turn and look at their chair, airplane seat, taxi seat, or playground bench and say “Goodbye Chair”

You might be wondering what this has to do with losing things:

This deliberate acknowledgement of leaving that space for good, will give them the awareness to double check for any belongings they may have overlooked.

Take anywhere tactic:

This works wonders when traveling. If your kid leaves something behind on a train, plane, or taxi...this extra step will ensure that there won’t be a lost and found to go searching through.

This may be a little crazy...

But this is a good practice for the adults in the family as well. You can obviously say “goodbye chair” silently in your head though. Practice this together and you will be surprised how little you and your kids leave behind!

A big shout out to Emily Henderson  who so creatively thought up this one.

#4 Label Everything

One last tactile tool that will help those wandering items find their way home if by chance they do grow legs and walk off on their own is...labels. I love labels!

Water bottles, hats and lunch boxes all look alike. You can’t blame your kids if someone accidentally takes their identical looking snow boots or they bring home a very similar looking jacket. Help win the fight against the lost and found...label it, don’t lose it!

It gets better:

To help you with labeling everything is offering 20% off their personalized name labels THIS WEEK ONLY. Get them here.

There you have it...four simple things that will take but a moment of your time and will save you so many hours, dollars, miles, and grey hairs. My kids have now mastered the art of bringing things home. Now I just have to institute these four tricks with my husband.

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