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Repetitive actions - normal toddler behavior?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
My 15MO has engaged in repetitive actions for as long as she could control her movements it seems. For example, tonight I gave her a metal jar with a plastic lid and wooden spoon while I was cooking. She sat on the floor and repeated the following sequence 25-30 times:
1. take top off jar
2. put spoon in jar
3. take spoon out of jar
4. put top on jar

She did it in exactly that order with exactly those motions, until finally I flicked the spoon from her in a joking way to see what would happen. She thought it was funny and wasn't upset by my breaking her pattern. But then she went right back to doing it, picking up from where she left off.

She does these competitive patterns frequently - we have one where I pick her up near our front door and she turns off the light, then on, then opens the latch, then rings the bell, over and over and over and she wants to do it in that pattern exactly.

I hadn't considered that this may be abnormal, but my husband tonight said "does she have OCD or something?" and then I was thinking maybe it wasn't. Is that just normal toddler behavior or something weird? This is her only weird thing - she's very outgoing and normal otherwise. Thanks!
post #2 of 5
Very normal. Sometimes it is referred to as a drive for mastery--kids will repeat something like that over and over until it becomes easy, then they're done. Especially since you mention that she laughed about a deviation in the routine, it doesn't sound like anything to worry about.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reassurance - now that you mention it, I'll notice she does the thing over and over until she 100% "gets" it. Thanks!
post #4 of 5
I agree w/ PP. Everything is brand new to her, and it's her job to figure out how her world works. I've got a junior scientist here, too (although he's now 3.5yo). I remember when my DS was about 18mos old, and he started to realize that keys open locks. We'd spend 15-30 minutes (until I'd had enough) down at the mailboxes while he tried our key in everyone else's box, or would just open and close our own box repeatedly.

For your own sanity, delay introducing TV/DVDs as long as possible...or you'll face watching the same movie 100 times in a row (b/c each viewing experience she'll focus on something new). =)
post #5 of 5
Toddlers do indeed have OCD lol... but it's perfectly normal. I think it's amazing how much focus DD can have doing the same thing over and over like that.
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