my 18month old put his toys in straight lines, is it normal?

Amber - posted on 01/23/2010 ( 84 moms have responded )

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jayden likes to line all his toys up, then he wont play with them.. hes only been doing this since left his father.. who had adhd, do u think its normal.. then if the toys arent straight he will fix them..

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Kristen - posted on 01/24/2010

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I agree with lining up toys as being normal I mean look at everyone else who posted that there child does the same thing. My 3 year old son has been lining up his favorit toy which is cars since he was about a year and a halve and looks at them as if inspecting them and if he is tired will get upset if they are disturbed or I ask to help put them away mainly because he is tired and want to do it himself just like everything else. And if I try doing something for him because he isn't doing after several times asking or distracted he has to go back and do it over. I think he didn't quite know what to do with them but drive ALL of them around in his big dump truck or drive them and park them. So I hope this has been helpful and good luck with everything it sounds like you have a wonderful child!
With the cars I think he needed more things to do with the cars so I got a parking garage with ramps and hot wheels race tracks and a matt with a road to drive them on.

Jill - posted on 01/25/2010

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Another reassurance, from a mom who was raised with an autistic brother and works in the field, lining toys up on it's own would be perfectly fine in the absence of "atypical behaviors." As long as your little one enjoys social interactions, uses speech, has imaginative play (pretends to read, feed others, hugs stuffed animals) there shouldn't be anything to worry about. But as always, talk to your pediatrican if you still have concerns.

Maggie - posted on 01/25/2010

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My son is the same way! He's perfectly normal. First children especially are very particular about things like that. My son would like up cars or blocks and re-adjust the line over and over until it was perfectly straight. I've seen tons of kids do this. I think it's part of learning about organization. BTW, my son had no traumatic event, he just did it because he liked to.

Jessica - posted on 01/23/2010

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My son will be 4 in March and does this with his Lincoln Logs and tells me he's building a bridge. I think it's perfectly normal.

Kristie - posted on 01/24/2010

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if he adhd he would not be able to focus like he does. we have no history of adhd in our family and our son does the same thing. he is very maticulous (sp?) even when he was a baby eating in a high chair not even talking or anything yet, if we put his sippy cup in the middle of his tray he would move it to the cup holder. everything has to be JUST right with him. our other son is completely different. that is just the way he his. there are four major groups of personalities and out of those many personalities branch from them. that is why people are so different from one another. i wouldnt worry. i think your son is fine. just likes things the way he likes them :)

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Lorarenauro - posted on 06/07/2012

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My son has Asbergers. There are lots of other indications.
Tantrums (extreem)
OCD
Hand flapping
Walking on his toes
Perfect communication
Doesn't like to be snuggled
Happily spends lengths of time awake in crib.

Lining up toys is a normal behavior for children..but, if it's combined with other signs there may be a concern. Even if a child has Asbergers or Autism...they are special and important...they just need extra help overcoming patterns that they could become "stuck" in.

Stacey - posted on 02/28/2012

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My daughter is the same way she is very smart and has to have things in order with lining everything up like her blocks her weebles even her kitch toys and she will give u the same cup and spoon to play tea with every time even if its weeks apart and she puts things back the best she can to how she got it. She has to help me with everything I do like laundry or cleaning she yells at me that she wants to help. I think its she wants to be helpful and organized and she likes things to be consistant, like with our dog the 1st time she gave him a treat he was laying down in a room and just about everytime after she makes this big dog laydown b4 he gets his treat in the same spot everytime. And if we didn't wipe her highchair off all the way she tells us ewww and goes and gets a wipe and will clean it off b4 we can put he in it..I call her my lil clean freak but me and mhy husband are not clean freaks like her lol I organize and he messes it al up lol

Patricia - posted on 02/05/2010

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Get some blocks and see if he does the same thing. Is it just the trucks/cars or is it everything? Try to get him to stack. I had my daughter evaluated bc she wasn't talking at almost 2 1/2. We had to teach her to stack bc all she knew how to do was line them up. She is fine now with speech therapy but she nedded nudging. I think you would worry more if he was only spinning the wheels. That's what I remember Jenny McCarthy saying her son would do.

Cindy - posted on 02/05/2010

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There's nothing wrong with your son. When my son had to take speech classes that is one thing they looked for other things that he could do above avg. putting all his toys in straight lines, maybe putting them from big to small...ect sounds like you have a smart lil man there to be doing it at 18 mths. My son is 4 and still does things like that when he is trying to do things it has to be neat and straight. But if you are concerned talk to his doctor and let her know what is going on at home and she could tell you signs to look for with a child that may be having problems with their parents split. I'm not sure if a 18mth can pick up on things like that or not.

Nicole - posted on 02/05/2010

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I suffer from ADD, and i know how scary a parent feels when their child starts doing things like what you are describing. My mom took me to my pediatrician, and gave me a lot of love. Just show him you love him and make sure you talk to the doctor.

[deleted account]

It helps to talk to your pediatrician...my son was fine up until 3....he then would play by himself and stop talking and lining his cars and everything up....he was diagnosed at 4 yrs. old with Developmental Delays and High Functioning Autism...I filled out a questionaire at his dr.'s office and then got more testing...but, overall kids all are different and if you have any gut concerns definitely don't ignore your gut and see your dr.

Crystal - posted on 02/02/2010

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It may be perfectly normal, but because he has never done it until now. It is a good idea to just check it out. Being that his dad does have ADHD, there is always the worry that he may have it too. Keep an eye out for signs at home first and then if you are still worried take him to a dr. My Ex has ADD and I worry about if my daughter will have it when she is older. I don't look for signs, but I do notice when she is doing something she has never done before. Last month she started sucking a binkie she hasn't had one since she was 3 weeks old. I had one for her to chew on while she was teething. She stared sucking on it after I left her daddy. Kids do things we don't understand. They find comfort in things we would never think of. I'm not telling you that it is wrong, just saying that it may need to be watched. I think he is just doing it to get back some control in his life.

Shannon - posted on 02/02/2010

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My son, 27 months, does this, too. My husband and I both live at home and my son has not been through anything disruptive in his life. I think it's perfectly normal.

Crystal - posted on 02/02/2010

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He may be doing this so that he can feel some since of control in him life. He gets to make his surroundings the way he wants them to be. I think it is ok. He may just be the type that likes things organized, but i think it is just a why for him to have some control over something. Try and move the toys and see what he does. If he really freaks out than their might be a reason for concern, but if he just gets mad than I am sure he is ok. Also try and get him to play with the toys in another way like sorting in to bowls by color, shape, or type. My dad mentioned something to me. Does he line up his toys like a wall? Are you on one side and he is on the other? This may be a concern. He could be separating himself from the real word into his world, where things are not as they are in the real world. I know he is young, but these little humans know and feel a lot more then we can see or even know. If you are unsure Then take him to a dr.

Sara - posted on 02/01/2010

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My son is 30 months and he has been doing that for a very long time especially with his truck and cars. I don't worry about it I look at it that he is helping me clean up!

Samantha - posted on 01/30/2010

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my son is 17mnths old and has just started to line things up...mostly tubberware and will continue to fiddle with them until they are straight. I think maybe he is just developing a new skill, like stacking rings.

Anne - posted on 01/30/2010

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as for him being too young to diagnose autisum , the signs of it are visable from aroung 6 months. if he has shown no other signs then the lining up of toys i wouldnt stress as he is probably just using it as a coping device from the loss of his father not being there. but if you are concerned then go see a specilist.

Catherine - posted on 01/30/2010

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My son has done the exact same thing since that age. I heard that it is normal and nothing to worry about. It is just their way of organizing the world!

Donna - posted on 01/30/2010

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Like other Moms that have posted replies, my son still likes to line up his toys - like a train. (Gotta love Thomas and Chuggington) I wouldn't worry too much. Children all have different ways of learning things - even if they are too "focused" at the activity at hand. In some ways, he was just like me as a child - everything had to be just so. Being a mother is hard enough - just enjoy the time with his learning progress - I do! Good luck, he sounds like a great kid!

[deleted account]

It is developmentally normal to line things up. However, if he is really fixated on having them perfect and gets upset and bent out of shape if things are moved you do want to be aware and paying attention to it. Not to say people should be overly paranoid, but I do have a son on the spectrum and he was diagnosed at 18 months because we did NOT ignore the little signs that we were seeing. If there are no other "red flags" then it is probably just part of his development :)

Jo - posted on 01/30/2010

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my daughter was doing this about the same age, i had just moved into a new house, so it could b there little way of doing something for themselves n getting our attention saying how clever they are. sometimes i think we are so busy that they just make up their own little games cos its fun for them!!!my daughter is 3 yrs now and is a very clever little girl, she loves routine and things where they should b but i think its all part of growing up :-) .... i wouldn't worry urself too much ... good luck with everything x

Christy - posted on 01/29/2010

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My son would do that too. He would line them up and not only not play with them, but wouldn't let anyone play/touch them. If I would move one he would immediately walk over and fix it. I do not feel it has anything to do with adhd; I think they are just experimenting. If you are still concerned though it wouldn't hurt to call your pediatrician to put your mind at ease!

Celia - posted on 01/29/2010

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Bri Adkins and Jill Robinson's replies are the best. Keep in touch with your pediatrician. You can always research typical behavior vs. autistic behavior on the internet, or contact your local Early Childhood specialists, usually through your local school district. They can screen your little guy for typical development for free (our taxes pay for it).

Bri - posted on 01/29/2010

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lol It's good to be paying attention and observe things in your child. I agree with other moms that what you're seeing is a normal behavior typically found in most children. But I also agree with paying attention and asking a professional (pediatrician, etc). You asked for others input, take it only as a guide and reference- our input is based on our experiences and every child is different!

Our daughter was so meticulous at age 1-2, lining up her chalk by color AND size/lids had to be put on the right color markers/etc, that we joked (sorta) she might be OCD (both parents have type A, perfectionist tendencies). But her father is ADD so we also joked (sorta) about that because she also could go from activity to activity or hyper-focus on things. She loves to be very active... but she can also sit and color or read for an hour or more. She's social and plays with other children... she can just as easily play by herself.

What we discovered through reading was that she definitively fits "Spirited Child"... and we don't see enough other "symptoms" of ADD, OCD, autism or anything else that we've worried about. We keep reading up on Spirited Children simply to seek other suggestions on dealing with her "quirks" both for ourselves as well as teaching her how to cope so she'll be better prepared as she grows up.

Keep up the observation- it's scary how many parents don't pay enough attention to their child to see these kinds of things. But also don't let yourself get stressed out- your child is walking, talking and otherwise seems normal (as best anyone can define children!), not banging on things or socially inept.

Patricia - posted on 01/29/2010

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my son is four and he did and still does the same thing talk to your doc though it is a sign of autism but could be other things and there is more to autisn then just lining things up i work with kids with autism so there is way more than just lining things up good luck though

Jasmine - posted on 01/29/2010

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but stay alert...and if other things u feel are strange appear...check into signs of autism...!!!

Jasmine - posted on 01/29/2010

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its normal due to the fact that he probably feels the lack of his father's presence...!!! all children have different ways of handling or dealing with situations...!!! when i moved to NC with his dad being in VA... my 17mo old started... hiding things alot...!!! but i'll tell u wat it is... a good habbit for him to be so young...he'll be very neat in the future...lol

Ieasha - posted on 01/29/2010

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Maybe his father side blessed him with a special gift, I would test him myself to see if he places them things in order, color, by size. But I don't think anythings wrong with him and if you do get him tested DO NOT let them give him any medication. NONE. who's to say you may have a little smarty pant on your hands.

Chantelle - posted on 01/29/2010

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I think it's great that you are seeking some professional advice on this matter. It could be just a phase but best to check it out to ease your own mind. I also think it's a good idea to document these sorts of things with your gp/paediatrician because if it is something more serious all the information is on record. My son lines his toys up still and he is 7, he doesn't play with them often at all. Just stares at them and makes sure they are all straight, colour co-ordinated etc... he was diagnosed with aspergers syndrome 2 years ago. If there is any other odd behaviours he is displaying make sure you mention them too. Lots of people have been misdiagnosed with adhd when really they have autism, so you never know. Possibly your husband had autism and not adhd. Hopefully though it's just a part of him growing up and he will stop doing this eventually.

Melissa - posted on 01/28/2010

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i would talk to ur doctor abou tyour child might be autism. or something elas.

Christy - posted on 01/28/2010

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I also have a 3 y/o who used to line things up (especially his cars and trucks.) He does not do it as often now, but it is perfectly normal!

[deleted account]

Hi, I see you booked an appointment with your doctor. He/she will be able to ease your concerns but I just wanted to let you know that my older son (4) does and has been doing this with his toys since I can remember. He is perfectly normal. Then take my younger son (he will be 3 in April), he never has played like that. I have to believe as many have posted that it is just different personalities. Although, I think the behavior is normal, as a parent, we always worry about our children. Good luck at the doctors. Everything will work out!!!!!

Cathleen - posted on 01/27/2010

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Usually when a child is lining items they are sorting items out which is the beginning of math skills developing. I though would just watch and see if he gets overly obsessive about them being lined up. Here is another question when he is not "lining his toys up" is he playing with them like other children? Does he get upset if you try to join in with him and play with him while he is lining the toys up. You may want to consider get him evaluated if you have any more concerns (most school districts offer free developmental screening). Also you may ask your peditrition or family as well as their thoughts.

Cathleen

Brooke - posted on 01/27/2010

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It is true that most toddlers seem to do this at some point, however, there are a couple of points which seem to suggest possible Asperger Syndrome. AS has often been mistaken for ADHD, for many years. It is also believed to run in families. "Aspies" are often quite smart with 'things' but have trouble with social aspects of life. Your child is quite young at the moment, and it may be just a phase, however, I do believe it would be helpful to do a bit of research into Aspergers, and see if it sounds familiar. If he does have a problem, it will be easier on you and him if you can find out before he goes to school. Good luck

Sheryl - posted on 01/27/2010

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my boys do it. it normal for the most part. unless there are other things going on i wouldn't worry!

[deleted account]

i'm another mum going to confirm this is very normal, my little boy is 3 and has been doing it for nearly 2 years!..he lines up all his matchbox cars and does it ever so slowly until they are all ina perfect line....says its the traffic....he doesnt play with them, just lines them up.....its all very normal..no need to worry!

Sarah - posted on 01/27/2010

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My oldest does this. Recently we were at a furniture store and he threw a fit because the display candle sticks were not in a straight line. Once we let him fix them he was fine. At first we were worried because it's one of the warning signs of Autism and then we eventually realized that he just likes everything to be just right. He has to stay on a schedule and he ALWAYS makes sure his toys are picked up! I suggest don't worry about it much.

Jodi - posted on 01/27/2010

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My daughter does this too. She appears to be slightly anal and a control freak (like her mother :-)), but it seems normal to me. If you're concerned, mention it to the pediatrician. But, I don't think there's anything to worry about too much.

Liisa - posted on 01/27/2010

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My son does this too, and even color coordinates!! It's sooo weird! I have adhd, I wonder if it is linked??

[deleted account]

It's definitely a normal sign of development. My children did the same thing, but with specific toys, i.e. cars. Now, they are in school and are organized in how they do their school work and such. It is also their way of coping with difficult situations. If you feel better about talking to your pediatrician, then do so. That's a part of their job and it may give you peace of mind. However, don't rush into thinking that your child may be autistic, have ADHD, or some type of other disorder. Some children are just really neat and organized. Trust me, if something was wrong you would know. It's what I call the "Mommy Gift". Your instincts will always lead you down the right path, trust yourself above all else.

April - posted on 01/27/2010

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My son did that for a long time, he is 27 months now and finally growing out of it! Our doctor and many other people told me not to worry as long as it didn't take up his entire day and as long as he didn't get stressed or worried about if everything was straight, if it lasts more than a few months or it seems like he isn't sleeping well.

Sarah - posted on 01/27/2010

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nothing dramatic has happened to my son and he used to do the same with his trains, he would have a massive tantrum if anyone touched them and he would notice if they were slightly out of line, he is now 3 and has grown out of it so i wouldnt worry to much x

Debra-Ann - posted on 01/27/2010

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Amber, as being a Mom and in the military, my husband and I did not have alot of help from family but everyone seemed to have advice. Advice is good but I dislike it when some one would say or your child must have this or that because they were doing something. All children are different. Only you can trust yourself at what is best and if you are not sure seek a professional opinion. Do not let anyone on these chats tell you something that only a professional can diagnose. AND do not worry about anything until you need too......it is just you and your son and he needs you healthy and focussed. Everytime my husband goes away my kids act up and eventually we would get into our own routine. he would come home and we w ould go thru it all again. This was the same whenever I would go away too. Stay strong and all the best with your appt today.

April - posted on 01/27/2010

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My nephew used to do the same thing around that age. He was just learning that he could put his toys where he wanted them and didnt want to mess them up. He still does it sometimes and he's 5 now. He lines up all his cars and doesnt want anyone to touch them..not even himself. It's perfectly normal! :)

Debra-Ann - posted on 01/27/2010

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from what I have noticed with my two kids and many nieces and nephews.......they all did this. One was with pop or water bottles, another three with anything blocks, and my son with his cars. It is perfectly normal and actually a step in their growth pattern that one should see :o)

Terri - posted on 01/27/2010

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Hi Amber. My son was about 18 months when he began lining things up mostly lego and his cars. You dont mention if there is any other behaviours but I would see a health nurse ( we have CAFHS nurses in Australia) or paediatrician to just check he is up with all his milestones. You can mention your concerns and they will be able to tell you whether he is in the norm.

My son was diagnosed with high functioning Autism at 2 years and 4 months. He would do the lining up thing for hours and just watch them. But he had other behaviours which alerted us to him being different, like not talking and mood swings. He is an extremely bright and intelligent boy now and the early intervention really helps.

To me it doesnt sound like ADHD. He wouldnt be able to stay still otherwise lol. But for your own peace of mind if there is other things that worry you about his behaviours, talk to a health professional and they will be able to alleviate your fears. Good luck :)

Katie - posted on 01/26/2010

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Honestly I don't even want to say this, but that is a sign of autism. Autistic children also flap their hands, stare at ceiling fans, bang their heads on the floor, run around in circles...among other things. If your child never plays with toys, and only lines them up or "plays" with them inappropriately (like spinning the wheels of a toy car, but never "driving" the car), I would reccommend seeing your family doctor ASAP. The earlier Autism is diagnosed, the sooner you can begin behavioural therapy. For the record, I hope it's just stress, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Good luck to you and to your son. ♥

Felicea - posted on 01/26/2010

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I think it is normal. My son does the same things with his blocks and he actually has been doing it for a while now. I love it. Shows that they are starting to really learn and to catch on to things

Stephanie - posted on 01/26/2010

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My son used to line things up all the time and not play with them! especially his cars. I asked his doctor and she said it's completely normal. He lined his toys up until he was about 3 1/2 so don't worry! your little one is just playing and learning!

Corinne - posted on 01/26/2010

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I think that as a mother you know your child and if you are concerned then talk to the doctor. 18 months is not to early for a diagnosis and if it is due to change a doctor can also give you advice on how to handle it. Good Luck

Debbie - posted on 01/26/2010

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I would talk to your pediatrician. My son was about 18 months when he started doing this like lining up his toys, flapping his hands when he got nervous, and assorted other odd behaviors. He's been diagnosed with aspergers syndrome. He could be acting out because of his father's absence, but I would talk to a professional.

Amber - posted on 01/26/2010

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My two year old son does the exact same thing. Any of his toys. Its kinda cute to me. Although, in my family we have a lot family members diagnosed with O.C.D.(Obssive compulsive disorder). My mother says that might be something he might get when he's older. Not sure yet. It might be him coping someone.

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