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My 22-month-old has recently taken to assigning ownership to everything. She'll grab whatever she sees laying around - books, clothing, whatever - declare whose it is ("it's daddy's", "it's mommy's"), and then insist on giving it to that person (even if the person is not present). She doesn't seem to understand that the owner of an object may want the object to stay where it is. :)

This is out of curiosity and not worry, but do most kids go through a phase like this? I'm trying to figure out if it's widespread, or if it's just her nature (there's a pretty strong "meticulous" streak in my family).

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My 22-month-old son is doing exactly the same thing (minus the giving :P... tug-of-war with "daddy's belt" is one of his favorite games). Everything belongs to mommy, daddy, the kitties, grandma, or, much more frequently, is simply "mine!". My dinosaur. My water. My book. My stinky toes. – Beofett Jul 10 '12 at 12:21
up vote 4 down vote accepted

All three of mine did this, and I think all the kids I have babysat for did as well. It is a useful development milestone which seems to fulfill some of the learning points around giving up an item you hold, which can be very difficult for a toddler at first.

Encourage this behavior, and steer it constructively: we incorporated it into helping with tidying up, and being enthusiastic when they correctly identified who owned an item and where it should go.

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Absolutely common yes! In addition to Rory's suggestions, when an item is where the owner wanted it to be and she want's to give it to that person and the owner isn't around, You can say things like, "Yes, good that IS Daddy's and you know what? HE left it there. I bet he wants it to stay there so he can find it later. Thank you so much for helping!" – balanced mama Jul 11 '12 at 3:23
Good idea - I'll have to try working in the "where does it go" part. – Kricket Jul 11 '12 at 12:29

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