Lost and never found: How to stop your child losing things


Kids are known to misplace just about anything and everything. If you’ve ever had a child in your care for more than a few hours you’ve likely realised your suddenly missing a sock or a sippy cup or something else has been left behind. Simply put, this is a parent’s nightmare. Raising a child is expensive as it is without the added expense of having to re-purchase new items a few weeks later. Especially if you’ve chosen your children’s belonging to be in keeping with the rest of your home aesthetic. 

You’ve probably spent a lot of time and effort finding the children their perfect school bag, their favourite tablet or a beloved jumper. But as soon as they leave the house they are never to be seen again! But how do you avoid this? 

Helping your kids not to lose things: Less is more

Simply put, the more things your child takes outside of your home, the more likely they are to be lost. Children are so easily distracted it’s completely natural that they won’t keep track of the four toys they have taken out with them. Therefore, maybe the next time you go on a family outing, instead of your children taking their tablets, phones and teddy why not ask them to pick one for your trip. 

Helping your kids not to lose things: Repeat a Routine

Both children and adults benefit from a routine, so why not lead by example? When you are out with your family make a point of doing a check before you leave. Ask them to think about what they came with and list those items and make it into a game. If you keep doing this your child will remember to follow the process when they are out and about because it’s habit. And will be less likely to leave things behind. A catchy song is a great way to keep this in their mind.

Helping your kids not to lose things: Label your children’s items

This is a classic way to avoid personal belongings going missing forever. It may not stop items going walkabout but you have a much, much better chance of being reunited with them if it’s clear who they belong to. But which labels should you choose? Well, whatever your budget allows for you have plenty of choice. The likes of stick- on clothing labels are a great option because they are inexpensive and durable. You can even get shoe labels which you can place on the inside of children’s shoes like these ones here: 

So, if you do need to make a trip to lost and found then you can clearly see who they belong to. Also, if a classmate or family friend spot your items left behind at a restaurant or park, they know who to give them back to. 

Helping your kids not to lose things: Teach them value

Children might be careless with their belongings because they don’t see them as important. But if there are consequences to an item not returning home then they might be more aware and careful. If they lose their favourite pair of what were expensive trainers don’t buy them the same ones again until they can be trusted not to lose them. This way, they know a replacement is not automatically on the horizon.

If your child prolifically loses items positive reinforcement might also work, teaching them that because they brought items home, they received a lot of praise. A star chart on the fridge is always a handy tool. 

Another way to teach them responsibility is to remember if they lose something valuable which upsets them, don’t solve the problem for them. Children are constantly learning and they learn best from experience so if they are upset because they have lost their ipad for example, don’t go and find it for them. Make it a teachable moment that if they lost the item, then they must calmly and sensibly find it themselves.  

More often, using these tactics will help reduce lost property. But if these helpful hints and tips are not reducing your time spent searching for their belongings it’s perhaps time to think about conditions like ADHD. These kinds of conditions might be contributing to your child’s loss of focus. There are lots of resources out there to help decide if your child should be seen by a medical professional. Afterall, you don’t want to be punishing a child for something they physically cannot control.