At some point every parent has to face that moment when all his/her child wants to do is watch the same movie, listen to the same song, or read the same book over and over. I know it can get pretty boring and annoying for us adults, but your little one feels more secure with the story or song s/he already knows. As babies get older, you will see more evidence of this type of repetition, like the four-year-old who can’t stop watching “The Lorax.”
Each day your child is seeing new places and learning new things and that can be scary for him/her. Experts believe that repetition offers security and a sense of control to children. If your child loves a certain bedtime story book and wants to hear the same story every night, read her/him the story and gradually introduce new stories (Curtis & Schuler, 2010).
Repetition plays a big role in language learning in your little ones. To facilitate your child’s language through repetition, you can set aside some time each day to encourage the repetition of songs, lullabies, stories, and other activities.
I run an Early Intervention Group (0-3 years) twice a week at work and we start our day with a good morning song followed by circle time. During circle time, we sing 3-4 songs; we pick from a list of about 15 songs over and over. These kids hear the same songs pretty often and it really helps them learn. I often see kids who come into these groups with no language and leave with lots of words they learn during circle time through repetition in the songs. The best part is the smile you see on their little faces when they finally get the words right to their favorite song.
We always encourage book reading in this blog. However, your children don’t have to own a ton of books to learn new words. You can read them the same books they enjoy and you can always check out books from the library too. According to Senechal and Cornell (1993), multiple readings of the same book provide children with opportunities to encode, associate, and store information about new words or information, resulting in stronger memory representations. Horst, Parsons and Bryan (2011) looked at the effects of repeatedly reading the same story to young children and they concluded that repetition is important in learning new vocabulary from books.
Curtis, G., & Schuler, J. (2010). Your bab’ys first year. (3rd ed., p. 455). Cambridge, U.S: Da Capo Press.
Horst, J., Parsons, K., & Bryan, N. (2011). Get the story straight: Contextual repetition promotes word learning from storybooksget the story straight.Frontiers in Psychology, 2(17),
Sénéchal M., Cornell E. H. (1993). Vocabulary acquisition through shared reading experiences. Read. Res. Q. 28, 361–374.