A few years back I read a small article about a sign on the front door of an elite private boys school. The sign said something like this, “Stop! If you are a parent bringing forgotten homework, books, or lunches for your child, please turn around and go home.” It caused me to reflect on the times we’ve allowed students to call home to ask a parent to bring their homework, textbooks, lunch boxes, science materials, etc. Some parents are more willing than others to rush to their child’s aid and it is often those children who forget most often. For my part I’ve tried harder to let students suffer the natural consequences of their forgetfulness but I will admit that at times it is the teacher who suffers more than the student. One area that I decided I could work on is the forgotten lunch. If a first or second grader forgets their lunch they may choose which packet of instant oatmeal they would like for lunch. That eliminated stress on my part because I wasn’t trying to figure out how to get the right kind of food into them (everyone likes to share their snacks) and it mildly “punishes” them for forgetting. And, if they don’t like oatmeal they can skip lunch. It will not harm them for a few hours.
I do agree with Jonas, if you’ve solved the problem for the most part, you can let the consequences go. We all forget sometimes.