While it may be difficult sometimes to fathom your toddler’s love of repetition, it is actually a vital part of her mental development and should be strongly encouraged.
During these crucial first few years the connections between the brain cells of your child will be actively connecting with each other, forming networks and facilitating the learning of skills and information. Repetition, in particular can assist with this as hearing something several times is the best way for a toddler to learn and store new information.
Whilst to an adult reading the same story tens of times would become dull and predictable, to a toddler it is incredibly exciting as she will be able to anticipate what is coming next, quite an achievement for someone with an as yet limited memory. This accomplishment is hugely satisfying as the pleasure of being able to master a story or nursery rhyme is a relatively new one and can award enjoyable feelings of pride.
With this knowledge it is important to not only tolerate, but encourage repetition of stories, games and songs in order for your child to reach her full potential. Although it may be against the instinctive urge to encourage moving on to new skills, the advice to patience-thin parents is this: The next time your toddler repeats Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for the 50th time on a long car journey and your tolerance is swiftly diminishing try taking a deep breath, smiling beatifically and saying ‘Well done darling, now let’s hear it again’.
Four really repetitive activities and games
1 Baby Ball
Try kicking a large, light ball back and forth between you and your toddler as if you were passing a football. Encourage her to kick it back to you and experience her satisfaction when she learns to aim accurately and hears you praising her new skill.
2. The Hokey-Cokey
It would be difficult to find someone who doesn’t have fond memories of this classic singing game from their childhood. Any number of children can stand in the circle and follow your lead, putting limbs in, out and shaking them all about whilst copying your tuneful vocal efforts.
3. Little Piggies
A toddler’s ticklish little feet are the perfect gateway to silly fun and learning a new song. Work your way through the toes on one foot singing the classic nursery rhyme and give extra tickles when you reach the piggy who went ‘wee wee wee all the way home!
4. Singing Stairs
Start on the bottom step of a staircase with your toddler, singing the lowest note you can manage. Gradually ascend the staircase, raising your voice by a single note with each step until you reach the top and are creating a cacophony not unlike a cat at a Celine Dion concert. Now come back down singing lower notes, eventually reaching the key known as Barry White.