Why do toddlers and babies like repetition?

**waves arms up and down**

“More, more”

“Again, again”

……As you repeat the same silly thing for the 8th time.

Even though it’s rewarding when I hear that giggle or see the ear to ear grin, there is actually a very good reason why another cup of tea has gone cold…

Repetition is extremely important in cognitive development.

Could you repeat that?

Not that Jack knows why he is so desperate to see me disappear and then reappear from behind the tea-towel but he finds it extremely funny. (Ok, it’s also great knowing can still entertain someone) but seriously, the repetition is reinforcing cognitive capability. It helps Jack to understand just how I manage to completely disappear behind such a small amount of cloth and reappear moments later with a silly over exaggerated noise!

Science it up

The growth of neural connections in the brain, is strengthened through repetition. A one-time experience is not enough for a neural connection to form and stabilise. It is only through repetition that this becomes possible.

At no other time in our life are our brains as active as they are in our first few years. When we teach ourselves new skills as an adult we are usually just combing existing connections. For example if you chose to take up football in your mid 30’s you are mostly putting together skills you already know running, walking and kicking a ball. All those skills require awareness and control of your own limbs but these are skills that babies are still developing.

So much has already happened in Jack’s short little life so far, with so many things, sounds, sights, textures meaning so many connections in the brain, it can be very reassuring when he is able to predict what comes next.

Really want to science it up? Try getting your head around this journal article.

Learning through repetition

Structure and predictability is key for learning, development and growth it helps form neural connections. Although it might get a bit tiring and sometimes frustrating repeating the same thing over and over again, it is helping your baby or toddler to make sense of their life.

Think about nursery rhymes and songs, they contain a huge amount of repetition weather it is the lyrics in, ‘Old Mac Donald’ or the melody in ‘3 Bind Mice’ the repetition is present in so many baby and toddler led activities.

The classes you take your little ones too should seem similar week in week out. It builds trust and familiarity. Even if it gets boring for you, you are helping to teach your child more than you can imagine.

**waves arms up and down**

“More, more”

“Again, again”

……As you repeat the same silly thing for the 36th……Wait, haven’t I already said this?

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