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Our son turned two a month ago. We spend a lot of time with him and give him many different toys and books to play with and learn. He used to be interested in all of it; until ~3-4 months ago. Now, his conversation is dominated by trains, planes, helicopters, cars and busses. We can not talk about anything else with him, after every few words, comes a sentence about sitting in a train, or him pretending his hand is a airplane or interrupting us with "toot-toot traaaaain Choo Chooooo!". At this point, he makes 4-5 word sentences, a couple of sentences at a time; but all about the same things.

At first, we were just happy he could talk at length (in his limited vocubulary, with many repeats) about the various modes of transportation, but now we fear that it has reached a point of obsession. How do we temper his love of all things with wheels? Or, is this a phase that he will grow out of?

We took away all his cars, trains etc and provided alternative toys that were new to him (this didn't help); A week later, we gave him lots of vehicular toys to see if the obsession dampens (no signs of that happening so far). We also try distracting him: He absolutely loved looking at all the animals at the zoo, but the next day we were back to talking about trains. We regulary go out to cycle on his balance bike - again, he loves it, but will try to zoom across the road if he sees an airplane or a bus.

We would love for him to learn about and explore other things, and, not have repeat conversations about the same topics again and again and again.

  • Our 2.5yo daughter loves anything with lights and sirens, planes, trains, and boats. She waves at planes that fly over and goes on and on about fire trucks. Seems normal to me... – acpilot Aug 20 '18 at 23:19
  • My 2 year old was obsessed with fans. That gave way to the Statue of Liberty. What I’m saying is, I’d prefer vehicles. Count your blessings. – dgo Aug 21 '18 at 1:58
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Welcome to having a toddler. Every toddler I've ever known has done this to some degree. For some it was vehicles, others was baby dolls, etc. And after a while, they all move to something else. They still enjoy other things in the interim, but they all had their "obsession".

For example, my nephew was into "trash trucks" for quite a while. He loved garbage trucks, would always point them out when he saw one, always wanted to know if we would see one, etc. And then after a while that faded and became farm animals. Then dinosaurs. Then butt jokes. Then...

It's a phase. It's normal. Don't worry about it.

  • Same for my kids. And my brothers and sisters' kids. They fasten onto one thing and that's all they seem interested in. It'll pass, maybe giving way to an obsession with something else. We try not to pay too much attention; don't pander to it except maybe for birthdays and Christmas, but don't give him a bad time over it. It even paid off for us with my son once. My husband, who loves music, wanted my son (who was in a Star Wars obsession at the time) to learn music. The first thing the music teacher taught him was the Star Wars theme song :) – Francine DeGrood Taylor Aug 22 '18 at 20:25
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    Our son was big into trucks back when he couldn't pronounce "tr" and it came out "f". – David Thornley Aug 22 '18 at 21:56
  • @DavidThornley - I hope this has been captured for future generations to enjoy. – dgo Aug 24 '18 at 14:06
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I’m going to address something that I think is perhaps in the background of your concerns.

Between the ages of 2 and 5ish, my son would get fantastically obsessed with different things and it would last forever. There was the period of fans, The Statue Of Liberty, The Titanic, Robert Wadlow (really - he was the tallest man ever), etc.

My wife and I began to get concerned that he had something “wrong” with him. I think that that becomes the basis for many of the concerns we have for our children at that age.

Eventually we went and had him tested for being on the autistic spectrum. We had resisted testing him for a long time because we didn’t want to confront the reality of finding out something. The tests concluded that he was mildly on the spectrum, and they gave us some resources, and we used them.

And - he’s almost 8 now - and his symptoms have diminished immensely. Whether our intervention helped or not will never be known, but, it didn’t hurt, and it gave us something concrete to work with and a language to express our concerns and frustrations.

I don’t know if that is a concern for you or not. I’m not necessarily suggesting that it is - but I think somewhere in the background there is some level of anxiety about something in this vein.

If you are worried about something like that, I will offer you this advice (which is probably good advice irrespective of the circumstances):

  1. Don’t pretend everything is perfect if you really think something is going on. At minimum, express your misgivings to someone in your life; and if you want to give yourself something tangible to work with, find out the resources for getting help with childhood behavioral issues in your area.
  2. Don’t suppress the enthusiasm for whatever it is, and don’t take the toys from him. If he does have some kind of sensory processing issues, it’s quite likely that his “obsession” gives him comfort or relieves some anxiety. Taking it away from him is the last thing you want to do.

A lot of times when we post stuff on here, we don’t have the right words to express exactly what is happening or to get people to fully appreciate the depth of the issue.

If you’ve been comforted by other posters, and feel that maybe you were making too much of his behavior, great - go forth and enjoy the insanity of toddlerhood! However, if you feel that there is something beyond the normal obsessions of toddlers, I invite you to research some of the resources in your particular locale. At worst you will meet some people who have very good resources for interacting effectively with your child when he is driving you mad; and if his behavior is truly normal and you've been concerned, having an "expert" tell you it's completely normal will go a long way towards relieving your anxiety. Whatever you do, I wish you and your child the best. Good luck!

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