What is it with children and keys?

When they’re babies, keys are shiny, mirrors, and noisy.  A distraction from teething, crying, chewing.  Something to hold and tug on instead of jewellery.  N wasn’t really given keys to play with at that age as he had plenty of other things he liked to fiddle with and chew.

Toddlers like keys, again for the noise.  Also for sticking them into places they shouldn’t…plus sockets maybe?  Thankfully N didn’t really get into prodding things into sockets.  He preferred removing and replacing the actual plugs where he could, and the cable from my laptop.

But now as a pre-schooler, keys have become even more important to him.  Keys are part of role play.  They mean something to him and that’s about feeling like he’s doing what daddy does – using the keys to start the tractor, the quad bike or mower.  and being like mummy, driving the car.

This is all very well, but I don’t really understand why a toy key doesn’t suffice.  N had a cosy coupe key that floats around the house.  He also had a wooden magnetic one from a fishing set which fits perfectly into his tractor ‘ignition’ hole.  But these aren’t the ones he used.  No, it has to be the proper car keys (along with the keyring with my mum’s house key and my work locker key).

A couple of times I’ve had a panic on the way out of the door in the mornings, wondering where on earth he’d left my keys the night before.  Of course, they’re never left in the tractor.  Cue me trying to get him to remember where he’s left them.  The OH tells me to put them out of his reach, but he can climb to reach things high up, he goes into my bag to get them, and if I hide them somewhere, I’ll forget where they are.  I must find some way of reducing his interest in them as I do waste a lot of time trying to find them.

keys being used with toy tractor

Of course, keys still mean a lot to children as they grow up into adulthood.  Teens getting keys to the house means freedom and independence, through to leaving home (possibly, hopefully), and having your own house keys symbolises growing up and responsibility.

Here’s hoping my son finds his own keys to use soon enough so I can permanently retrieve mine from his clutches.

It seems that toddlers quite often get obsessed about something, and that love for a topic or item can continue for years. Although scientists suggest most interests phase out between 3 months to 5 years.

Do your children like keys?

27 Comments

  1. My son has a key obsession as well. I have been so afraid to just hand it to him and watch him play with it.

    • Darren Graham

      My child also has a facination with keys and locks…he carries them about with him like a jailor…my child is 13 and autistic ..i asked him why does he like locks and keys so much ?his reply”dunno just do”
      I found this answer facinating because he just likes them end off so why ever question it again.

      • That’s a fair enough answer. I’m sure there’s lots of children who can’t explain why they do or don’t like something

  2. I don’t have kids, but I’m taking care sometimes of the 2 daughters of my best friend. They love shiny things, but not my keys. For them anything pink and shiny, earrings and necklaces are the best attraction factor.:)

    • Girls are definitely safer from the dangers of keys it seems. Although my son does also quite like putting my powder on himself and his teddies so maybe just nothing that belongs to adults, is safe from little hands!

  3. I think tots have affinity with shiny and interesting objects like keys. Though my daughter didn’t get fond of them. She preferred carrying one very soft towel until she was 13! I had to hide the towel and told her it was lost and we must have left it somewhere in our trip abroad. She threw a hissy fit for what seemed like an eternity. And yes, she was 13 then 😉 Now, she couldn’t even remember what the towel looked like.

    I think kids just tend to get attracted with random objects and yours happen to like keys. They’ll outgrow it. Mine just took some “parental intervention.” hahaha

    • lol. We have comforters too – although mostly when tired thankfully – not quite sure how we’re going to get rid of his thumb though!

      Yep, keys is obviously a current phase. He has gone to nursery today with his red magnetic key so hopefully mine will be safe for a while
      Thanks for popping by

    • Ooh, the on purpose hiding. That’s not good. Hope you have a list of all the obvious places!

  4. Hello! I work with children and I think it’s amazing how they want to recreate their world around them to make sense of it all. The keys must mean a lot in the lives of your family, or must have a special significance to your kiddo. Maybe he’ll be an engineer or technician later on… endless possibility!

    • I’m not sure they’re that important to us, apart from being stranded if I can’t drive the car with no keys. Guess I really need to find a proper key that’s an old one that he can play with to hopefully get him weaned off using mine. Didn’t work with an old tv remote as he’s not stupid, but worth a try.

  5. All of my kids played with kids as babies.. my youngest he loves playing with my husband’s key.. because I have this nice superman key chain on it.. he loves chewing on that thing.

    • Yes, attractive key rings probably don’t help (although I can’t claim to have that). The magpie tendency comes into play!

  6. tonygreene113 @ 113tidbits

    My youngest son used to have the “hide daddy’s keys” thing going on until I explained to him why we couldn’t go to the park one day. Needless to say, the keys were always where I could find them afterward.

    • Now that’s a good way of getting them put back afterwards. Maybe I need to try that as well. I’m not sure N hides them intentionally, he just has a very poor memory (about some things, anyway!)

  7. lol I didn’t know Nissan released their newest model already! Yes kids love keys for lots of reasons, they’re shiny, they’re noisy can’t imaging why they would they want to chew on them though

    • Lol.
      I know, chewing metal can’t be nice, but I guess mostly teething babies will shove anything in their mouth. Grim!
      Thanks for commenting

  8. Aisha Kristine Chong

    I don’t have a kid yet but my niece is not fond of keys of sort – I guess it depends on the child hehehe.

    • We live on a farm, so we can’t really avoid muck and germs very much. It’s more the losing them aspect I worry about. Mind you, even if I did put them out of reach, he’d find them…he’s v proficient at moving chairs to use as climbing frames

  9. YES!!! I remember the days when my kiddos were this age and loved the keys! I don’t know how many times they went missing too. lol

    • I guess it’s that 3yo stage. Let’s hope it’s a short phase.
      Thanks for popping by

    • Definitely think boys seem worse than girls when it comes to playing with keys.
      Thanks for commenting.

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