Repetitive actions - normal toddler behavior? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
Thread Tools
#1 of 5 Old 11-10-2008, 10:36 PM - Thread Starter
KLM99's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 948
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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!
KLM99 is offline  
Sponsored Links
#2 of 5 Old 11-11-2008, 01:00 AM
COVegMom's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Colorado
Posts: 89
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
COVegMom is offline  
#3 of 5 Old 11-11-2008, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
KLM99's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 948
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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!
KLM99 is offline  
#4 of 5 Old 11-11-2008, 11:08 AM
fritz's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 406
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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). =)
fritz is offline  
#5 of 5 Old 11-11-2008, 02:35 PM
tankgirl73's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: NB, Canada
Posts: 2,773
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
tankgirl73 is offline  

Quick Reply
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off