July 02, 2015

Q: How do I help my 9-year-old son with being so forgetful?

A: Typically I recommend using the same kind of tools with a kid that you would use to help yourself remember things (i.e. lists, calendars, planners).  Keep in mind that you may have to start by doing these things with him for a while in order for him to begin using them on his own.  Having said that, what you see as “forgetful” may be more than that.  Kids love to say they forgot to do things that they just didn’t want to do.  In these cases you may want to consider offering a positive reinforcement system for when he completes tasks without having to be reminded.  Finally, chronic forgetfulness can be a symptom of ADHD.  If your son is having other behavior problems at home and school or seems easily distracted/has difficulty concentrating, you may want to have him evaluated by a mental health professional to make sure there is not something else going on.

Answered by Jeff Palitz, MFT