“Let’s Do It Again” – The Importance of Repetition for Toddlers
If you’re a toddler parent, you probably hear the word “again” almost as much as you hear the word “mum” or “dad.” After telling a joke… after reading the same story you read the night before… after making the same breakfast you’ve made for a week straight… While doing these activities for the umpteenth time may seem silly to you, there are many reasons that toddlers love repetition so much – and it’s a crucial part of their development!
So to help you understand why your little one wants to watch that movie for the twentieth time, here’s a breakdown on what benefits repetition provides toddlers.
How repetition helps toddlers learn
Children are born with a drive to learn and explore, but it takes a whole lot of practice and time to develop these new skills. This is where repetition comes into play. It’s only through repeated experiences that the brain grows and connects efficient and effective message pathways that optimise brain development.
Think back to when your baby first started solids. They may have had trouble picking up food or missed when bringing their food to their mouth. But as they repeated these motions every day at every mealtime, they got better and better at self-feeding. It was the repetition that helped strengthen their brain’s neural processors for learning this new task!
Now that your toddler is older and talking more, they’ll use repetition more blatantly to learn, like repeating the same words over and over or asking to be sung the same nursery rhyme. Each time you repeat the nursery rhyme, or read the same book, your toddler picks up on new words and information, which is what makes the tenth time reading a book just as exciting as the first!
Repetition is also apparent when toddlers play with toys. When a toddler wants to play with the same toy over and over, it’s helping them learn and master the skill that that specific toy helps to develop. For example, putting the same puzzle together over and over excites them, because they get quicker at it each time and know what the outcome is going to be.
Here are the benefits of repetition when it comes to learning:
- Repetition helps toddlers’ brains make and retain connections
- Repetition helps toddlers with language development
- Repetition helps toddlers to practice and master knowledge
- Repetition allows toddlers to practice and master skills
- Repetition strengthens a toddler’s movements and coordination
How repetition helps comfort toddlers
While repetition helps toddlers learn knowledge and master skills, it also gives them confidence and a feeling of self-control when they are able to anticipate what happens next in their daily routines, stories, movies, games, and more. If you’ve ever strayed from a storyline in one of your toddler’s favourite books, you may notice that he’ll correct you – this is because toddlers find comfort in knowing what’s coming next, and want to be reassured that things are the way they’re supposed to be.
Repetition can also help build a toddler’s sense of security. Since there are so many things that they don’t understand in the world around them, the predictability of repetition helps them feel more secure. You may notice that your toddler’s sleeping, eating, and mood patterns can quickly change when even just a small interruption to their routine happens. This is why developing and sticking to daily routines can help your toddler thrive. They’ll know what to expect throughout the day, which means they’ll have more confidence in taking on the tasks.
Here are emotional benefits of repetition:
- Repetition helps toddlers develop confidence
- Repetition makes toddlers feel more in control
- Repetition gives toddlers a sense of calmness
So the next time your toddler asks to go to the same park you always go to or read the same book you always read, just remember that this repetition is what is helping your toddler learn and providing them with a sense of control in this hectic world!