Picture a toddler, sitting in a high chair during a family meal. He drops his sippy cup onto the floor and looks at his mom. She brightly exclaims, “Uh-oh!” and bends down to pick up the cup. Moments later, he deliberately lets go of the cup again. “Uh-oh,” he says with a smile.
“Uh-oh” is one of my favorite stages in child development. Our children become young scientists, learning more about the ways of the world through repetition.
On the other hand, they also become obsessed with their favorite color, their favorite show, their favorite book–wanting the SAME stories, the SAME snack, the SAME toy…each and every day.
It’s one of the frustrations that come up when I ask parents about their read-aloud routines with their children: “I get tired of reading the same books over and over again.”
We certainly went through the same phase where we read the same Caillou book to our toddler for weeks in a row.
While it’s aggravating for us as parents, there IS a scientific reason why our children are so drawn to doing the same things again and again.
Repetition is an important strategy for the brain development of our young children (babies, toddlers, and preschoolers) and has many benefits:
- teaches cause and effect
- builds anticipation
- establishes connections in the brain
Children’s Books Featuring Repetition:
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Every time our children read (or hear) a familiar book, they learn new vocabulary, observe more details in the illustrations, and develop a stronger memory. Teachers and authors know how important consistency can be for young children, which is why so many “classic” and beloved children’s books feature repeating lines, such as:
While reading the same book again and again can become tiresome for us, you can be confident you are helping your child become a more confident, successful reader–and surely, that is what we ALL want for our kids!
Here’s a tip if your child is “stuck” on one book:
Read the book he or she is requesting, as usual, along with two other books. Choose one favorite from the past (that YOU love) and a new book that you wouldn’t mind becoming the replacement favorite.
(And then record yourself reading the book you’re tired of, either on audio or video, so your child can replay it on demand. Read more here.)
Need some new book ideas?
Be sure check out our 25 “Must-Have” Read-Aloud Authors List!
Grab our FREE Guide for Parents of Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers!
Raising children who love reading doesn’t just happen. So let’s be more intentional together, okay?
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Great article (I also love the graphic you made with the quote). I like the idea for recording yourself reading. For kindergarten age students it would be neat to have a little reading center with the recordings, the books and some headphones.
Yes, I loved the listening center when I was in school! Great idea, Devon!
My 17 month old is entering this stage, and it’s been driving me crazy (the “uh-ohs” specifically, are MADDENING! It’s not an “uh-oh” if you dropped it on purpose, kid!). It helps to hear that it’s actually helpful to his development, though… that makes it a little easier to handle 🙂
Yes, Chrissie…I agree! Understanding child development gives us more patience, I think.
Yes! This is so true and so important for people to understand. It can be exhausting reading the same book over and over again (my daughter is going through a “Fox in Socks” phase again), but it is beneficial to them in so many ways! Plus, I try to remind myself that it just means she is enjoying reading!
I remember those days. Our first experience with this was Mr. Brown Can Moo by Dr. Seuss. I still know it by heart and she’s 16 now!
Ha, ha! Yes…same with Sandra Boynton’s Snuggle Puppy for us.
Even now with my five year old there are certain books that we read over and over again. She is in love with the Llama Llama books and thank goodness I enjoy those ones! Repetition is definitely beneficial and cannot wait to do it all again with my little boy!
We are currently in the uhoh phase with our 1 year old. He loves playing the drop things on the floor and watch me pick them up over and over and over again. We aren’t quite at the point where we are reading the same stories again and again, but I love the tip about recording myself reading one of the stories when we do get to that point! Thank you for sharing all this info!
Recordings have made a huge impact on our auditory learner! She still loves her playlist, and she’s been reading independently for a while now.