My Fourth-Grader Is Forgetful
By Dr. Lisa Hunter, Child Psychologist
My fourth-grader is so forgetful. He will either forget to bring his homework home or forget to turn it in. I found homework over a week old in his backpack after he specifically told me he turned it in. What am I going to do with him?
It sounds like your son needs extra assistance from both you and his teacher to remember his homework assignments. Here's how you can help him:
- Review his homework with him every day after school,
- Remind him to put completed assignments in a homework folder in his backpack
- Check before he goes to school to make sure that he has his homework.
It is important that you consistently engage in this "Review, Remind, and Check" process with your son to help him develop a routine for remembering, completing and handing in homework assignments.
At first, it may seem that you're doing a lot of work to help him. But with time he should be able to remember and turn in his homework with less assistance from you.
As you help your son with his forgetfulness, don't forget to praise him whenever he does remember his homework. It may be helpful to set up a reward system that will enable him to earn points every time he remembers his homework. These points can then be traded in for a reward at the end of the week.
Your son will also need extra help from his teacher to remember his homework. His teacher can help him by making sure assignments are posted, and personally reminding him to bring homework home and turn it in. She could also set up a reward system for him.
If you do not notice any improvement in your son's forgetfulness regarding homework after a month of consistent help from both you and his teacher, I would recommend an evaluation by a psychologist to make sure his forgetfulness is not a symptom of broader attention difficulties.
Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.