My Child Constantly Loses Their School Supplies: How can I Help Them?

My Child Constantly Loses Their School Supplies: How can I Help Them?
My Child Constantly Loses Their School Supplies: How can I Help Them?

Last update: 13 February, 2023

Are your frustrated because your child loses their school supplies every week? We must recognize that this is more than usual for children of this age. There are little ones who forget their pens, pencils, notebooks, and even their backpacks. Generally, they don’t do it as an act of rebellion or much less to draw attention to themselves, but simply because it’s a characteristic of the stage they’re in.

Often, this situation makes parents lose hope that children will return from school with the same items with which they left in the morning. This scenario seems to be an impossible dream, as with each passing day, their pencil case become lighter and lighter as items disappear. However, you should know that all is not lost: Your child can learn to take responsibility for their objects. Here, we’ll give you the keys you need in order to help them.

My child loses their school supplies: Why?

Of course, there’s no single reason for children’s misplacement. The truth is that it can be due to several reasons. First of all, it’s important to take into account that children are usually absent-minded, which leads them to lose or forget objects in the classroom.

Let’s also remember that, in the classroom, there are usually more than twenty students and each one of them has a lot of belongings. More than one of us adults would have a hard time keeping our objects there, wouldn’t we?

Although most of the time, this is a behavior that doesn’t warrant concern, when a child loses their school supplies repeatedly and incessantly, it’s essential to be on alert. It may be a warning of a behavioral or emotional problem such as the following:

Now, in case these possible reasons are ruled out, the panorama changes positively, as you could be facing an expected and habitual behavior. Do you want to know how to approach this situation in a functional way before getting angry with your child?

A mother talking to her daughter about losing objects at school.
Instead of scolding them, it is important to provide tools to the little ones so that they can strengthen their commitment and thus be able to take responsibility for their belongings.

Instead of punishing your child, give them the following tools

It’s annoying to notice that our child’s backpack is emptier every time they come home from school. Buying a new pen every week is annoying. However, this is an expected behavior in children because they’re in the process of developing a sense of responsibility.

At home, for example, you can encourage their responsibility by teaching them to put their toys away after each use or by asking them to help you put the silverware on the table for family meals. At school, however, you’re not there. Your child is with their classmates and their teacher, so they’ll have to make a greater effort to take care of their school supplies.

How can you help your child not to lose school supplies?

Here are some ideas to help your child who loses their school supplies frequently to do it less and less.

1. Label their supplies

As a first step, it’s essential that the objects have a label with their name. This way, it’ll be easier to recognize their items. To instill a sense of belonging, it’s a good idea to involve your child in this activity. You can do it together on a free afternoon, while you talk about the importance of taking care of their materials .

2. Encourage habit building

Remember that what gets repeated, becomes stronger. So, if your child creates the habit of checking every day that all the supplies are in their pencil case, they’ll be less likely to forget or lose their belongings. In this regard, it’s important that you help them remember this behavior and, later, they’ll do it autonomously and automatically.

A child packing his bakcpack.
It’s essential to work on improving organization and encouraging the child to use an agenda or other visual or auditory reminders, such as cards or an alarm.

3. Making use of creativity

With a little creativity, this problem can become a fun challenge to tackle together. You can think of it as a game in which the challenge, for example, is to make sure that no more than three supplies are lost each month. How can we accomplish our mission?

In this way, your child will encourage responsibility while having a playful experience. To do this, they need to make the most of their ingenuity and think of strategies to make it easier for them not to lose their belongings. How about creating a song together and naming the school supplies to make sure they’re all there? How about choosing a personalized label for their materials?

My child loses their school supplies, a group challenge

If your child loses their school supplies, both they and you need to take action. As a mother, you’ll make the decision on how many and which items to buy for your child. In this regard, it’s important to prepare their backpack with just enough to make it comfortable for your child.

It’s easier to take care of a practical backpack without unnecessary materials, than one that’s overflowing with dispensable objects. In addition, it’s essential that children understand that losing things has consequences and that they won’t always be able to replace them immediately.

Also, the child should take some preventive measures to eliminate or reduce this problem. According to their age, the methods will be one or the other, but it’s always possible to work on the sense of responsibility. Finally, if you think that this behavior hides a deeper problem, don’t hesitate to consult a specialist in order to evaluate the steps to follow.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Díez E, M., Guaraná de Sousa, R. El valor de la responsabilidad en los niños de educación infantil y su implicación en el desarrollo del comportamiento prosocial. Facultad de Educación y Trabajo Social, Campus Miguel Delibes, Valladolid, España.
  • Rodríguez Hernández, P. J., González González, I., & Manuel Gutiérrez Sola, A. (2015). El trastorno por déficit de atención e hiperactividad. Pediatría Integral.
  • Urzua M, A. et al . Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in School Age Children in Antofagasta. Rev. chil. pediatr. Santiago. v. 80, n. 4, p. 332-338, agosto  2009. Disponible en <>.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.