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Tuesdays with Jane:Does Your Child Lose Things Constantly? (Reframing)

“How could you possibly lose something as big and as important as a jacket?” my mother lamented—more than once. I lost sweaters, raincoats, even my winter jacket. How? Well, to wear it home, I’d need to remember that I wore it in the first place. I was seldom aware of such realities as a grade school child, whereas my mother never misplaced anything in the first 80 years of her life!

In Kidtelligent terms, I’m on the Intuition side of personality type—paying attention first to hunches, connections and analogies. I then look at reality to see what support I can find for my ideas. The more Intuitive kids are nurtured to trust, yet test, those hunches, the more likely they’ll reach their full potential of thinking outside the box, drawing connections among seemingly unrelated ideas or events, or solving problems in unusual, yet effective, ways. But, along the way, they may lose a few sweaters, since they’re lost in the world of ideas.

My mom, on the other hand, is on the Sensing side of personality type—paying attention first to what her five senses can garner and what she has learned from past experiences. Everything had a place in our house (although with four of her five children on the Intuitive side, keeping everything in its place was a challenge, to say the least).

None of us will forget the night we five had been home together watching television. Not three seconds after Mom came in the door, she declared, “There’s water running somewhere. Lots of it.” We laughed at her—and then spent the rest of the night mopping the basement when she discovered that the hot water heater had burst. Her keen attention to reality picked up what the rest of us had missed. This happened time and time again as she found errors in our spelling, planned for vacations, or helped us think through events at school or church that we’d volunteered to lead. And, she was our “checker”—asking how we’d remember to bring home those jackets or turn in our homework.

As I parented my Intuitive son, I wasn’t surprised when, at five years of age, he came home without his prized Chicago Bulls jacket, at the height of Michael Jordan’s fame. Parents more on the Sensing side might declare, “How could you be so irresponsible?” Instead, reframe that behavior as, “Oh yes, my child is more Intuitive—great at the power of ideas. I’ll need to help with the power of reality for a few more years!”

Here are some suggestions:

  • Find fun routines. If your child needs to remember to bring two things home, each of you can hold up a finger and say the first item, then another finger and a second item. Ask, before they get in the car at the end of the day or as soon as they walk in the door, “Do you have both fingers?”
  • Check sooner, not later. To save yourself trouble, be aware of what might go missing and go through your checklist before you leave the pool or school or wherever else things go missing.
  • Set meaningful consequences. If my children forgot something they needed for school and I had to make a trip to get it there, they cooked dinner that night (this school gave zeros for late assignments, no grace period). Once I put that rule in place, they pretty much stopped forgetting!
  • Keep things simple. Since the most costly item is most likely to go missing, simply have your Intuitive child take fewer things when they go places!
By Jane Kise, Ed.D. – Educational Advisor and Consultant, 
Jane  writes an insightful post every Tuesday for Kidtelligent. Jane is an educational consultant, specializing in teambuilding, coaching, and school staff development. She is also the coauthor of more than 20 books. Jane’s website  is http://www.edcoaching.com/