The Finder of Lost Stuff

This is a photo of a chest of drawers.One of our family mottos is nothing is every lost…missing permanently…but never lost forever. I AM the finder of lost stuff. I usually find whatever it is that is missing in a place where someone (usually me) stashed it for “safekeeping” or I moved the item when we were having a party or something.

Preschoolers and kindergarteners lose stuff all.the.time. I should have labeled everything with a Sharpie pen, but I liked to sell or consign the kids’ clothing. Consequently, I was a frequent flyer at the lost-and-found piles at the kids’ schools. One day, I searched the elementary school, followed by the middle school, before finally tackling the high school lost-and-found stack. And no I didn’t find any of of my kids’ stuff, but the piles were neatly stacked after I left!

Less stuff got lost as the kids get older. Over and over again, I talked to the kids about the cost of items, how sad they would be to lose a special shirt, and how much work is it for their teachers to have to find missing items all day long.

For elementary schoolers, I introduced the concept of money. For instance, “Grandma bought you that fuzzy sweatshirt. You know it cost money. So you need to keep track of your stuff. If you want to take off your sweatshirt, put it in your backpack right away. I would hate to go to the Lost & Found shelf and not find the sweatshirt.” As with anything with kids, repetition was the name of the game. My youngest was so sad…and so was I…when he lost my Isotoner glove at recess. Why did he have my glove? He was using it as a receiver’s glove during recess football games!

For middle and high schoolers, I didn’t have to worry as much about them losing any clothes, shoes, or jackets as they had either purchased with their own money or been given the items as Xmas/birthday gifts from grandparents.

Now, we had a major issue with expensive electronics. I told my kids that they weren’t allowed to take any electronics to school. I told that the items were costly and cannot be replaced. But, by the time the kids were in 6th grade, I had caved and got each of them a cellphone. For some reason…maybe because I drummed in to them that they should keep track of expensive items…the kids have never lost a phone.

Parents can look at a child losing items as a way to teach the child the value of the money used to purchase the item. When my 1st grade constantly left/forgot her composition book at school, I would drive the kid and younger siblings to school to retrieve the lost book. One day I realized that I wasn’t helping the kid at all so I told the kid to call a friend and have the friend repeat the 20 spelling words due the next day. Not surprisingly, the kid only made 1 phone call to a friend!

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