The Power of Repetition in the Early Years
What is your child’s favourite book at the moment?
Do they like to listen to it over and over again? Do you sometimes cringe when they bring it to you, because you just ‘cant be bothered’ reading the same book againnnnnn?
We get it!
It can be pretty hard to psych yourself up for the millionth time to read exactly the same story. To repeat the same nursery rhyme over and over again.
To do the same activity you did last week, and the week before, and the week before that.
But there is a reason why children in the early years love repetition so much. It is more than just doing the same thing twice. What seems monotonous and boring to us, is a world of new learning and the reassurance of something familiar to a child faced with a world that is anything but.
Play. Learn. Repeat.
What is repetition to a child?
To us, repeated experiences can be boring because it is reliving the same thing over. There is nothing new. But in the early years, children don’t find repetition boring because each time they do something, they are experiencing it in a new way.
Repetition is not just the same thing twice.
Think of it like this:
- Young children live in a world that they don’t understand and doesn’t make sense.
- That means their daily lives can be a bundle of overwhelm, uncertainty and confusion.
- While older children may search for new experiences, children in their early years search for understanding and predictability.
- Repetition is important because each time they experience something their understanding becomes greater, which increase their self-confidence and their feeling of self-worth.
The benefits of repetition
In general, the benefits of repetition in the early years are split into two areas:
- They learn something new each time – perfect for development and comprehension.
Each time your child reads a story or does an activity, they learn and pick up on something new, which builds up their level of understanding each time. When a child is first exposed to something new they are often just taking in the experience. It’s very difficult to really learn from it. As they repeat the process again and again, they go from experiencing to anticipating, from understanding basic concepts to exploring the activity to its fullest extent.
- The feeling of mastery brings them comfort and improves their speed, self-confidence and strengthens the connections in the brain that help children learn.
Doing something familiar and comfortable not only provides them with a secure learning environment, but it also strengthens their self-esteem. That feeling of affirmation that “I can do this, I know what I’m doing” is invaluable for every child. The repetition is comforting and reassuring.
Have you heard of the saying “Practice makes perfect”?
Through practice and repetition, your child will also learn key skills such as:
- Coordination and fine motor skills
- Vocabulary building
- Language recognition
- Letter and number formation through pre-writing skills
This is why you need to reframe the way you think about repetition. The next time your little monkey asks you to read a book again or wants to play the same game over and over, remind yourself that it’s a good thing! It’s good because repetition provides the practice that children need to master new skills. Repetition helps to improve speed, increase confidence, and strengthen the connections in the brain that help children learn.
“Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.” (Zig Ziglar)