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Toddler's Obsessive Behaviors - How to Help Them?

Updated: Jun 30, 2023


Decreasing Stereotype or obssesive behaviors

Stereotype behavior or obsessive behaviors in toddlers can be identified when your child seems to always go back to play or want the same toy/ character/thing/order. Their fixation on their preferred item or activity prevents them from exploring new toys and activities, and their on-task behavior for all others is limited.


They seem stuck and teaching them new things seems challenging. This makes playing or completing activities, that do not involve their particular interest or fixation, a difficult task. Moreover, they may also engage in problem behaviors or resist playing with toys and activities when their “favorite” one is not part of what is being presented.


This pattern of behavior can be gradually broken early on through consistent Early Intervention ABA Therapy sessions. I will list a few recommendations.


1) The first step is establishing joint attention and collaboration between the child and the caregiver or therapist showing interest in the same toy or activity. You can learn more about joint attention here.

2) Joint attention leads to establishing a good rapport between the child and caregivers.

3) You may be asking yourself; how do I do this? Well, I suggest starting to connect with your children through their preferred items/ activities.

4) Once the child appears to have a desired to play with the caregiver or therapist, then we have achieved some control and we can start introducing variants of their preferred activity, gradually breaking their playing pattern.

5) I always emphasize that we need to assess the toys and activities we present to the child, so they are always age and skill-appropriate, as well as attractive.


I hope you found the information useful. If you need help with children who exhibit obsessive behaviors that lead to challenging behaviors, I will be happy to help.

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