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Why Kids Repeat Themselves

It was cute the first few times Sasha Sokoloff of Mountain View, CA, toddled around with her toy camera and insisted, "Everyone smile!" But when the 2-year-old squealed her demand for the tenth time? Not so much.

When you chortle and clap over preschoolers' new words or phrases, you can bet you'll hear them again and again. And no wonder: Kids love the attention. But here's the problem -- they're not very good at reading subtle negative expressions, like exasperation, so they don't realize that incessant repetition can get very annoying.

If you're living through this, try these ideas:

Explain how you feel about the repetition. Do it in a way your child understands: "Honey, it's funny the first three times, but after that I get tired of hearing it."

Give her a new audience. Tell her she can say it to her stuffed animals or into her toy phone. She won't get the same reward (your attention), and she just may run out of steam.

Tune out the annoying phrase. If she doesn't get a reaction, she'll likely drop it.