Spring Goal: No Lost Coats (or Sanity)

Here we are, poised on the edge of spring; that magical time of the year when most mornings require a jacket of some sort, and most afternoons call for a transition to shorts and t-shirts. As mothers, we find ourselves making desperate pleas for our kids to remember their jackets and sending up silent prayers that maybe, just this once, they will.

When my daughter was in kindergarten, she made a habit of stopping by the “Lost and Found” at school to collect her older brother’s jackets and lunch boxes. As funny as it was to see the two of them standing in the pickup line after school with Jake’s jacket tucked safely under McRae’s little arm, it was exasperating as well. I remember thinking: “Well, at least I have one kid who can keep track of things.”

So how do you increase the odds that your coat closet isn’t completely bare by May? Aside from hoping one of your kids’ little friends does you a solid and leaves their jacket at your house (hey, finders keepers, right?), this mama has a few tricks up her jacket sleeve to help you out.

  1. Make a List and Check it Thrice!

Create a checklist with your kiddo for all the items they’re packing in their bag, whether for school, sports or overnight trips. Teach them to return all items (including their jacket) to their bag and, as they do it, check them off their list.

  1. Encourage routine

Emphasize making sure they have their jacket on before they get in the car. If it becomes enough of a habit, eventually it will be as automatic as putting on shoes before they leave the house. Of course, my son still managed to come home once wearing only one shoe, but that’s a story for another time.

  1. Label Everything

Kids gravitate toward trendy clothing, and there are only so many places to purchase clothes, bags and accessories anyway. This means odds are some other kid at the birthday party is going to have the same jacket as your child. Clearly labeled items can quickly resolve ownership issues, as well as make returning a wayward jacket quick and easy.

  1. Go a Little Crazy

Buy jackets in bright colors or unique patterns. This makes your child’s belongings less likely to blend in. No guarantees, but that bright purple jacket just might catch their eye when it’s time to head home. Or a fellow parent may know it instantly as your kid’s – and therefore may be more likely to get it back to you.

  1. But Not Too Crazy

Resist the urge to buy the expensive outerwear. Losing a $20 jacket versus a $60 one won’t make quite such a dent in your sanity.

I promise—your child does not have a personal vendetta against your more balanced state of mind. But the next time you discover yet another windbreaker has gone on a permanent vacation, take a deep breath and go to your “happy place.” I hear it’s really nice there.

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