Help Your Teen Keep Track of Their Belongings

It’s not that teenagers are (mostly) careless with their belongings – their cell phone, the water bottle, that expensive new jacket you just bought them that disappeared without a trace. The fact is that the area of ​​their brain associated with executive functions is not yet fully formed, so they end up leaving things at school when they need them, at home and at home when they need them at school.

Dr. Mark Bertin, a developmental pediatrician, told the New York Times that our teens may need our help to remember to take their belongings with them when they leave:

Dr. Bertin, author of Mindful Parenting for ADHD , explained that executive functioning is a developmental pathway, like language, which begins in early childhood and changes over time. “The part of the brain that is involved in managing life is the last to mature,” he said.

“There is often a perception that adolescents have to figure things out on their own, but executive functioning is like other skills, and sometimes adults need to help adolescents learn this skill,” said Dr. Bertin.

Part of what helps us remember to do certain things or find things is our routine. We put our keys in the same place when we get home, or plug the phone into a charger right before bed. When we complete multiple tasks, do not pay attention and do something outside the routine, we lose sight of our things or forget to take them altogether.

This is why Susan Pinski, professional organizer and author of Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD , tells the Times that we should try to develop a mantra or mnemonic that will become part of our child’s daily routine:

She offered examples of objects singing to the melody of the song “head, shoulders, knees and toes,” such as “glasses, wallet, keys and telephone, keys and telephone”.

This can work for young children too. After my 8 year old son lost his water bottle, then a pair of swimming trunks (?), And then almost the entire backpack at camp this summer, I tried something similar. In a singing voice, I began to sing: “I’m leaving the room, what do I need? I leave the room, what do I need? »Every time I went from one room to another.

I think (I know for sure) that it was a little (very) annoying for him, but he didn’t lose anything else in the camp when my reminder stuck in his head.


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