30 answers

My Son Wants Me to Repeat Everything He Says!

My 2 1/2 year old son wants me to repeat everything he says! I am proud to say that he can count to 13 and knows the entire alphabet, however...when he is playing with his letters or counting something, I have to repeat the letter, number, animal, etc. before he will move on. He just keeps saying it over and over until I repeat it. After a while this gets really old. It wouldn't be so bad, but he LOVES to play with his alphabet set all the time. Why does he do this and can I make him stop? HELP! It's really starting to annoy me and drive my husband crazy.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks so much for everyones responses. I am very proud of my son and I try to teach him new things everyday. I never thought that maybe he was trying to "teach me" and show me how much he knows. We just need to devote time to it everyday and stick to it so that is doesn't seem that we are doing it ALL the time.

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What happens if you go on to the next letter or number? When we played the ABC game I would name and animal, fruit or object instead of repeating. "A" apple,ape. B banana, boy..etc. Hope you find something that works, have fun.

My daughter does the same thing!!! She goes to a great day care that I am happy to say helped her learn her ABC's and Numbers. What she is doing when she is getting home is taking on the role of the teacher, and she wants me to be the kid. As with anything with kids this age, all you can do is distract them or redirect them into playing something else instead.

Tell him you don't want to do that anymore and refuse to do it again. He should eventually stop, but he will probable keep asking until he realizes that you mean what you say. You are the parents and he will get over it. This is apparently a game to him. My daughter (now 17 years old) did something similar to this when she was around 2 or 3. I think this is a way of exploring the type of power they can have and how far they can go with it.

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If your son is so intelligent, it is because you have given him the attention and time to teach him. With a newborn, he may feel like a protector or 'teacher' to you now...or is just seeking the attention he once had all to himself before his sister came along. Having you repeat is rewarding to him and it also takes more of your time..for him. It sounds as though you have good communication skills...don't lose it...by the time he is 15, that will change and you will have to pull information out of him or listen harder to what he says to his friends. You don't mention your age...and 2 children are time consuming and it could be that you are overwhelmed.?? Does your husband come home every night? Or is he overseas? If you have family or a close friend in the same situation, maybe you could 'trade' a night out for just you and your husband...if only to just stay home for a quiet night together...candlelight dinner perhaps...and then return the favor. Get together with other Moms for a play day starting with an hour and building to a few hours...your son could learn socialization skills and you will have time to talk and compare notes with others. Patience and time ...
lots of hugs and kisses...they grow too fast..
By the way ..What does SAHM mean?
Good luck and take it a day at a time...phases like the "terrible two's" go away...only to be substituted by other 'charming' trials and tribulations..
S. T.

1 mom found this helpful

Hey M.,
I am a kinder teacher and it is great your son is doing so well. Keep encouraging him by playing along with him. He is looking for your reaction. This is how they learn. Encourage him to learn the next number or teach him a song, etc. It may be annoying but what a great thing it is.



Hi M.. The reason kids repeat everything or ask you to say it over and over is because that is how they learn. Repetition is key when children are learning. If you notice, most kid's songs repeat the same verse over and over again. My daughter is 4 and asks to hear the same song over and over again and before I know it, she knows the words to the entire song in a few days. Be patient and so thankful that your son loves to learn. You may have a budding genius on your hands.


What happens if you go on to the next letter or number? When we played the ABC game I would name and animal, fruit or object instead of repeating. "A" apple,ape. B banana, boy..etc. Hope you find something that works, have fun.

Girl, I would just play along. It might get annoying but they are only little once and it is for such a short time. Enjoy every moment, annoying or not! I think it sounds super cute. He sounds very smart as well. You must be doing a good job. My daughter is 2 1/2 and she cannot do what you are saying your child does. Good job mama!!!

D. Mattern
The MOM Team
Raising your income and your rugrats at the same time!
"The only thing that counts is faith, expressing itself through love." Galatians 5:6

Hi M..
It sounds like your son is pretending to be "the teacher." We always ask our children to repeat what we say to them, and then, at some point in their lives, they will want to "play teacher" and have us repeat what they say. I'm sure it is just a phase that will quickly pass.

Hi there!

Sounds to me like you have a teacher in the making. I have always believed that each of us are either leaders or followers. Your son sounds like a natural leader. While part of this is his natural instinct, he is also being taught in this way. His confidence and comfort level in this area allows him to attempt to school you in return. In the same way you possibly taught him the alphabet he is now rerturning the favor. Have you been through the, " What's that, " stage of his learning. Well you will probably remember how old that got and fast? With his mind growing leaps and bounds at this age he will soon move on to other things. Remember you are his first teacher and as you move on to teaching him others things, his interests will change. However tiresome it feels, I say good job mom!!! You should be very proud.

Keep repeating! I know you are getting annoyed, but believe it or not, you are building both your son's reading skills and vocabulary. When you say it, he compares how it sounds to when he says it and is getting reinforcement for what he knows. He is also getting reassurance that what he is saying is correct. Now that he knows the letters, move on to the sounds each letter makes or get flash cards and ask him to tell you colors, numbers, animals etc. This will change it up a bit for you and will prepare him to become a reader very soon. Keep talking and repeating new words...make him say words after you (turn the tables) and increase their difficulty...it bothers me when adults say "I can't pronounce that word." I make sure my kids can say anything..just break down the word into syllables. \

Pteridactyl = "Terry" then "Dack" then "Tull" and have him repeat those. Then say them together a little faster each time until he can say Pteridactyl! I did this with my daughter who was reading by three and who skipped kindergarten, so it worked for my kids. There is nothing my 2 1/2 year old can't say now and everyone compliments how smart he is...it is the difference between not talking to them unless you have to, and being there constantly talking to them (or repeating to them). You got a smart one there Mama, make the most of it!

Tell him you don't want to do that anymore and refuse to do it again. He should eventually stop, but he will probable keep asking until he realizes that you mean what you say. You are the parents and he will get over it. This is apparently a game to him. My daughter (now 17 years old) did something similar to this when she was around 2 or 3. I think this is a way of exploring the type of power they can have and how far they can go with it.

Hi M.,

I know this can be very frustrating, but this is how our children engage us/play with us and know that we are being present with them. It is also a great way for them to learn. Please know he isn't trying to annoy you or your husband and attempt to enjoy this time with him. They grow so fast and the way i see it, there will come a time when they won't want to talk to us so much!:-)


I agree with pp. This is very normal. I have a 3yr old daughter that also did this. I also used to watch my cousin's little one who is 3mo older then my daughter. They both did this, together. I understand your frustration. LOL.
I just got down on their level and told them that from then on if they wanted something, they could only ask once. If they asked more then that then they would not get whatever it was they were asking for.
As far as the learning, I again got on their level and asked if they could sing it all by them selves, "like a big girl" (These have always been the magic words for my daughter.) Toddlers respond well to challenges. They like to show off. I think the key is to get on their level and look them in the eye. This gives them the attention they so desperately crave. When he does it the way you want, be sure to make a big deal about it. Now my daughter will even say, "Remember when...not anymore. I'm a big girl now." LOL.

My son used to do something similiar and the good news is that I think it's a temporary issue. I started telling him, "Ok, we will play this for five minutes and after that it will be Mommy Time so you will have to find another game to play." I think he was just so proud of himself and such a leader type personality that it fullfilled his need to "teach" as well as it was reasurance hearing us repeat what he said. I just found that once I set the ground rules up front, he knew after five minutes that game was over and moved on. Just a suggestion....hope it works.

I would play along each time for awhile, and then just tell him that you and he are going to do something else for awhile. Meet his needs and help him learn, but you be the leader and don't let him manipulate you.

My daughter does the same thing!!! She goes to a great day care that I am happy to say helped her learn her ABC's and Numbers. What she is doing when she is getting home is taking on the role of the teacher, and she wants me to be the kid. As with anything with kids this age, all you can do is distract them or redirect them into playing something else instead.

It could be manipulation. I used to do it to my mom as a child. She was very compliant. It didn't serve me well. I learned a hard lesson later about the fact that people don't do exactly what you want them to do all the time. I really thought they were suppossed to. It was very hard for me to learn that I couldn't always have my way. Just be careful. Everything in moderation. Make sure he has boundaries in other areas at least. I used to argue until my mom just gave in and said yes just to shut me up and not have to listen to me anymore. I don't think she knew anything about giving children consequences. It was just too much trouble for her.

It is temporary, but if you don't try to curb it, it will drag on forever! After several times (when I feel myself getting pushed over the edge :-), I tell them "OK one more time, let's make it good. Then you have to let Mommy rest and say it to yourself (or your teddy bear...)." Give them eye contact and undivided attention for that time specifically. That usually works for them. They want more, but are satisfied that you did it again and you're not just cutting them off in frustration. They also need a Mommy who is not irritated with them all of the time, which means you have to cut some things off. They also need social skills as well as the language skills.

Mother of 3 and language teacher

If he already knows the alphabet and can count to 13, I would go further so it does not bore you or him. ;-)

I have heard of kids learning to read by age 3. ;-) I was tying my shoes at age 2 and doing some other unique things early. So I would encourage you to keep going with him but just change up things. Introduce writing letters with holding his pencil correctly, cutting out big circles and squares while holding scissors correctly, putting the letters together to write his name. Kids are like sponges and while they are excited to soak up things...we need to encourage it. Soon enough he will go to school and you will have a QUIET house. LOL

I wanted to throw one other tidbit out there. Some kids are also auditory learners (I have one). He processes everything verbally. That means when he was in first grade I had him write his spelling words to see how they looked on the paper, but to learn the correct order of letters he needed to say them. So everything he learned has been 'talked out'.

It means he talked a lot when he was little, but that is just how his brain works. I have another one that needs to 'do' things so most of what he learned was from action- writing, building, walking, etc. ;-)

Maybe your child is an auditory learner and is therefore processing his world through speech, which is not neccesarily a bad thing. My child like that is extremely bright and above his peers academically. ;-)

Hi, Mabe you could try a fridge phonics by leap frog,this game is just great. It will say everything with him and he can sing along with it. Or if he is to advanced for this one you could try the word wammer to have him start to build 3 letter words its really fun too. Your son is very smart. I hope this will help you.
Good luck.........

Play along for a little while, but when it gets to be too much distract him with something else. Try a favorite toy, tickle him, etc.

My daughter does this too, she is 3. It was getting annoying also until I realized, that is what I was doing to her over and over to make her learn! So, I play along. I like the saying from doctors, see one, do one, teach one. So my daughter has seen, done, and now she is teaching me and my one year old! Be glad that your child is smart and interested in learning. Have a great day

My son did a lot of the same things at that age. I used it to teach him phonics (letter sounds) when I said the letter "yes that's B, B says bu like Blayne (his name)and gave a familiar word that started with the letter. Now my son is almost 10 in 4th grade and reads at a very high level. He started reading by age 5 and now he flies through books. He easily reads 10-15 books per 6 week grading period. He is a straight A student. Take advantage of your sons thirst for knowledge.


Is this how you taught him? To repeat you when learning how to count or say ABC's? That's what happened with my 8 yr old. She was 2 at the time and that is how I got her to say ABC's and count. Then she turned it on me. She wanted me to repeat everything. Like she was now teaching me! It starts off cute then can be annoying. Just tell him, Mommy is proud of you. Set up some stuffed animals or something he can "teach". Hope it works.

Is he looking for some affirmation? (ie, yes, that's an A). Try offering some praise instead - "You really know all your letters - way to go!" Whatever you do, even though it's annoying, don't discourage him from learning his way. Do you have any of those electronic letter toys that repeat the letter for him? Leapfrog Fridge Phonics is a good one, also we have a VTech "Alphabet Town" that has alphabet games. Both are under $20. They repeat the letter for you! Also, try some books that come with CD's. My daughter loves following along with books that read to her. Also My First LeapPad has counting, letters, etc. I know I've seen them often at the resell shops for cheap, or ebay. Try borrowing some of these items from a friend before you buy to see if it helps your son. But maybe he is just craving more interaction from you and his daddy... try to come up with games you can play together - flash cards, workbooks from the dollar store which use numbers and letters. Good luck!

It's wonderful that at 2 1/2 your son can count & say the alphabet & name numerous animals. I understand that it may get tiresome repeating everything he says, but I think he just LOVES to make mommy & daddy proud. I would encourage his enthusiasm for learning & continue to interact with him when he is playing with such positive toys. I wouldn't see this as a problem, I'm sure you get annoyed at times, but just try & remember that at such a young age his brain is a sponge & he will continue to learn so much right now & he really NEEDS mom & dad's encouragement.

Does he say other things? My son has a great deal of interest in the alphabet and numbers. He expects me to repeat him. My son is autistic. M-CHAT is a checklist of 23 yes/no questions to see if your child has austism. The first link is the test. The second link is how to score it. The test is nt a diagnosis tool. It is a step to tell you if you need to seek out further help.
http://www.dbpeds.org/articles/detail.cfm?TextID=466 http://www.firstsigns.org/downloads/m-chat_scoring.PDF

Well, my kids do this, but I just always thought that they were needing interaction, but just didn't kow how to do it. So, when they start doing this, I start telling them things and asking questions and teaching them how to converse and interact with others. Basically your son wants to "talk" with you, but he doesn't know how to say, "hey mom, how are you today?" and start a conversation. So, when he starts in with the letters, I would scoop him up and play with him, but I would say things like, Had fun at the store today. Enjoyed eating lunch withyou today. Did you like your lunch? pause I did too. I think I want hamburgers for tomorrow. what do you think? Would you like hamburgers tomorrow? --- that kind of thing. Be sure to look him in the eyes and give him your full attention. Then after a few minutes say, "It has been great talking with you, but I need to go wash dishes now. Here are your letters, you have learned them all so fast." or something like that. Then I get and go do whatever I need. Both of mine enjoy the interaction and time I give and don't begrudge me the time I need to do other things. If they really won't play on their own I find thinggs for them to do, like getting the dirty clothes from the bathroom and carrying it to thte utility room. They have to make several trips, but hey they have all the time in the world. Hope this helps you with the repeats. They drive me crazy too, that why I had to try the talks to get them to stop.

I don't have any advice, but I think this is normal. I have a 2 1/2-year-old son, and so does my sister, and both kids do this all day long! It can drive you crazy, but I think they'll eventually grow out of it.

I know what you mean sorta, my son who is 3 1/2 has to tell you over and over the same think like just a while ago he said he wanted his camera like 20 times in a roll, not playing we have actually counted before and the highest we got was to 22 times the same thing, no matter what we tell him or even if we are on our way to get it for him. I dont know what to tell ya, i dont have any advice just wanted to let ya know i know how you feel, love your kids to death but there are the times where they are annoying. Good Luck, if you find something that works let me know, maybe it will work for my son also.

Hi M., I am a 53 year old mother of 3 grown sons and have 30 nieces and nephews and numerous great nieces and nephews. You have your hands full with a 2 1/2 year old and 3 month old...and I would imagine you have had to divide your time between who needs you the most at that moment. You might set up a time for yourself and ask your husband to set time when he is available to just focus on your son and his show me, repeat after me & tell me time. Tell him it is his special time, he may also need to start socializing with other children and his behavior might be his way of satisfying his need to develop his socializing and communication skills. See if there is a mother's day out near you. Many of the churches in most communities have one. If he is already going to daycare, his behavior may be just a need for your complete focus on him, we all need to feel special and lets face it, 3 month olds can take a lot of our time. Hang in there, the fact that you are reaching out shows what a loving and wonderful mother you are! Best regards, M.

He is a smart kid. It sounds like he wants more attention or he is so smart he is trying to teach you all. I know it sounds crazy but the more you repeat things, the more they will learn. Since he knows all of the things you have listed above, my thought is to move onto something else. Like buy the Hooked on Phonics for his age. Get him on the computer and let him learn to do that for awhile. He is craving the positive attention he gets from you all for knowing everything you have taught him. Now he wants to learn more.
Another thought is to get the notecards with numbers, let him learn to add or his colors or whatever. He sounds like he is going to be a very smart little guy. Encourage it!! He could be the doctor we need to find the cure to cancer.....and allow you and your hubby to retire with no concerns..ha!! You can do it...you are the mom!! Go for it!

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