Repetition might seem like a laborious task, but when it comes to toddlers it’s invaluable in their learning process. Most parents will recognise that doing things over and over again can benefit their children but there is always potential in day to day activities. Here are just a few examples of how repetition can be an asset to your little one:
Repetition for perceived safety: Repetition and a firm routine makes toddlers feel safe because they know what to expect at a given time and how their day is going to play out, even without knowing how to read a clock. Break from this repetition and any parent will recognise that toddlers suffer as a result. The insecurities created by altering with their ‘norm’ manifest as tantrums, crying and rebelliousness. Lather, rinse, repeat makes for a much happier child.
Repetition for learning: Verbal repetition helps your toddler to learn things like the ABCs, how to count and to sing songs. While this may get tiresome for you, know that every time you count to ten, sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider or say your A-Z, you are cementing these vital building blocks together to help them flourish in nursery and school.
Repetition for play: Many games and toys rely upon the young player repeating an action- think jigsaws, wooden puzzles, board games and train tracks. There is a sequence required to make it work or fit together. By encouraging your toddler to play with such things, they will learn to enjoy them more. With every new opportunity to put an item together, it takes less time and is much simpler with practice.
Repetition for practical skills: Many early life skills are reliant on repetitive actions such as getting dressed, eating and drinking and going up and down the stairs- to name just a few. Watching your child try to put on their shoes, use a fork, crawl up your steps or drink out of a cup can be frustrating when you’re in a rush because you can do it faster than they ever could, but having the patience to watch them do these tasks themselves will pay off in the long run.
Repetition for reading: Repetition is a common theme in toddler’s books and there’s good reason- to help develop your child’s reading skills. While they may not be able to read some of the words, the regular pattern of dialogue or similar scenarios within the story means they will become familiar with the concept more quickly.
Repetition for healthy habits: If you do the same things with your toddler every day, they will naturally incorporate these into their routine as their independence grows. For instance, a healthy breakfast at the same time each morning should instil this habit in them for when they come to live on their own. A bedtime that rarely shifts should encourage them to view rest and sleep as a priority when they are an adult. Some regular exercise each day means they are more likely to want to do some kind of physical activity when they are in charge of their own fitness.
Repetition for good behaviour: Toddlers are curious about their environment and giving them things to do that have a cause and effect will help them to understand the world around them more. For example- behaving badly results in time on the naughty step, saying ‘please’ will get them what they want and putting on a coat means they can leave the house. These small acts of repetition when used consistently will help them to learn that certain actions have positive results. To deviate from this would encourage a less favourable outcome so it’s in their interest to do the tried and tested version.
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