Toddler Obsessed With...

Updated on April 16, 2011
J.O. asks from Brooklyn, NY
11 answers

My 2 year old son is obsessed with lights and doors. It is all he ever cares about when he is not being consumed by one of his toys or a show. He wants to open and close doors for hours, any door, even my fridge. And we had to get him a stepping stool so he could turn the light on and off all day. Is this normal behavior? or should i be concerned? The doctor says he is very smart and that he is advanced but im still concerned... help!

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answers from Lake Charles on

Haha yes this is normal. Nice to see we're not alone, my daughter screams her head off when she passes a light switch and can't reach it!

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answers from Washington DC on

Totally normal. Toddlers are like little mental patients - they walk around mumbling to themselves, having conversations with imaginary things, and doing odd behaviors. He is fine. Enjoy it. (make sure he can't pinch fingers or shock himself.)

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answers from Chicago on

Thanks for you post, it gave me a good chuckle when I think about the funny stuff my kids have been obsessed with. I don't think there's a thing wrong with it, it's natural for kids to be curious with the goings on around them, think about how many times a day you yourself turn on a light or open a door, he's small and maybe can't reach these things so it becomes fascinating! Enjoy.

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answers from Dallas on

I understand your concern. My mind would go immediately to "OMG, my child is OCD!" But realistically, my kids become "obsessed" with things because they are fascinated and want to know more. For example, when one of my daughters went through a "boobies" phase, I finally sat her down and had a length discussion about boobies, what they are for, why women have them, when she will get hers, etc., and she was finally satisifed. Her obsession passed. My other daughter had a toilet obsession so my Dad finally brought her in the bathroom and showed her all the mechanics of the toilet, even how to fix it if it overflows, how to shut the water off, etc., and she stopped obsessing!

I think really intelligent or advanced kids (like my older daughter) tend to be a bit more "OCD" (not literally) than other kids, because they have such a desire to learn about things they don't understand.

Show him how lights work. Show him how doors work. Have Dad or Grandpa show him how to take the door apart and put it back together. Show him how to unscrew a lightbulb, screw it back in. Make sure that he knows it's not safe to do when the light is plugged in, etc. I bet that will make his obsession pass.

If not, then you may be looking at something more serious, but... I doubt it.

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answers from Chicago on

cause and effect ... it's fun!

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answers from Lexington on

Eventually it will turn into an obsession with taking apart e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g!!!


answers from Los Angeles on

Sounds normal to me.
We have a light switch right by the front door with a small end table under it...and its next to a huge window. She learned to climb the end table and flip the switches. She also learned that one switch made the lights go on and off inside and she noticed through the window the same thing was happening outside with teh porch light.
This started when she was around 18/19 months, and now at 2 she leaves them alone. She thought it was the funniest thing.
Now her new obsession....imitating me folding clothes. Carries a pile of her clothes from one room to the next, lays them out on top of each other, tries to fold them. So she has her own little pile for play and the rest can stay folded.
Hope this helps.



answers from New York on

I would say that if the behavior is so obsessive that he can't do anything else (for example, fun toys can't distract him from the door) and he really spends his day opening and closing things, I would also have a little concern and would consider an early intervention analysis. I would not encourage him to do it- I would try to distract him with other more appropriate games/toys. My son used to spin things really well and fast at a very young age. It wasn't obsessive, but the more family members applauded it, the more I became concerned. We had him evaluated and it turned out there were some sensory issues and now that he has some early intervention help from an occupational therapist, the spinning is completely gone.
best wishes!



answers from Chicago on

My son is 20 months and also is obsessed with lights. His favorite word is "on" and points to every light for me to turn it on! He calls me 'mama" but if I ask him "what's my name" sometimes, he'll say "on"! I wouldn't be concerned at this point - it's probably a phase and will pass and then you'll have some funny stories to tell him later!



answers from Omaha on

Perfectly normal! We can buy kids the most expensive, complicated, toys and they will have just as much or more fun playing with the flaps on a cardboard box or banging a wooden spoon on the pots and pans! What we find to be insanely mundane and repetitive is exciting to a child because it is his first discoveries of cause and effect and how the world works around him. Indulge your son in these moments as long as common sense and safety allows. Hope this helps!



answers from New York on

My 26-month-old daughter is also obsessed with doors & light switches. After we put her to bed at night, we often find her opening and closing the door to her room and switching the light on and off, sometimes for a couple of hours. Eventually she falls asleep, usually with the lights on and door open (we put her to bed with the lights out and door almost closed). She also does this with other doors in our house (she's even gotten lucky and been able to occasionally open a couple of doors that have the childproofed handles) and in other places like our synagogue, stores, and other peoples homes. The light switch obsession does seem to only apply to her room. Everyone who has seen her do these things has told me that it's totally normal and a stage that she will outgrow (hopefully soon!). Good luck with your little guy.