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The Name Game

At 22 months, Peyton Sexton, of Piedmont, OK, had the names of her family members down pat. In fact, one of her favorite pastimes was to pick up her play phone and say, "Hi, Mommy, Daddy, Nana, Grandpa!" over and over. Sometimes she'd add her grandparents' dog, Shiloh, too.

Why do toddlers love to rattle off names repeatedly? They're not only practicing language skills, but reassuring themselves. At this age, children grow increasingly attached to those close to them  -- from grandparents and siblings to pets and loveys. Chanting loved ones' names helps them feel safe in a world that's new and confusing, says George Zeo, Pys.D., a clinical psychologist, in Bethlehem, PA.

Repeating the names back to your toddler will comfort her even more. Or, follow mom Michelle Sexton's lead, and turn it into a game. She'd ask Peyton, "Who do you love?" and Peyton would quickly, happily, run down the list.

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