“Let’s Do It Again!” Fort Myers SLP Explains Why Kids Love Repetition
Ever wonder why your kid INSISTS on reading the same bedtime story, singing the same song on repeat, eating exact same thing for breakfast morning after morning or playing the same game over and over? As a Fort Myers SLP (speech-language pathologist) can explain: It’s because that’s how they learn!
Repetition is a natural and beneficial aspect of child development. It offers comfort, aids in learning mastery, supports brain development, enhances language skills and fosters social interaction. When we embrace and encourage this repetition, it can actually provide a number of benefits for their overall growth and development.
As noted by child psychologists, children actually develop a preference for familiar things before they’re born. In the third trimester, fetuses can taste, hear, and smell. In so doing, they develop a preference for familiar foods their mother eats, as well as the familiar sounds they hear, such as their native tongue and their mother’s voice. There’s evidence that when they’re read to in the womb, they like hearing those same stories once they’re born. When they’re born, they quickly learn to prefer the familiar face of their mother (and later faces in general).
This trend only continues as they begin exploring the new and unfamiliar world around them. While they’re keen to learn now things, they often prefer to do so with things that are familiar. For example, one study published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Psychology showed that kids actually learn better reading from a book over and over again, as opposed to reading it just once or twice.
Some of the ways kids thrive on repetition:
- Comfort and predictability. Repetition gives kids (young ones especially) a sense of comfort and security. They feel reassured when they know what to expect. Repetition offers a predictable pattern in their environment that can be calming and soothing for them. This is especially true of children with conditions like autism spectrum disorder. They often find the world chaotic and difficult to understand. Repetition is calming because they know exactly what’s coming next.
- Learning and mastery. Repetition is fundamental to learning. Any Fort Myers SLP can tell you kids can master a host of new skills – whether it’s words, sounds, or movements – through each repetition, which allows them to better understand and also to refine their abilities.
- Brain development. Repetition plays a critical role in a child’s brain development. Every time they repeat an action or word, those neural connections in their brain get reinforced – making it easier for them to recall and use that information in the future.
- Language Development. As your child’s Fort Myers SLP knows well, repetition is especially important for language development. Young kids are constantly exposed to different sounds and new words. Repetition allows them the opportunity to internalize it and understand language more effectively.
- Social interaction. Repetition happens ALOT in social interaction, whether during playtime or while reading that bedtime story. These interactions are bonding experiences, and they’re also chances for turn-taking communication. Kids enjoy the repetition of it because it helps them know what to expect – and what is expected of them.
Pediatric SLPs can harness kids’ natural love for repetition to effectively support their communication, socialization and overcome speech-language deficits in various ways.
We often use repetition-based therapy techniques as a foundational component of our speech therapy sessions at FOCUS Therapy in Fort Myers, FL. We often repeat target sounds, words, or phrases multiple times during structured play sessions. We do this because it’s an evidence-based technique that has proven to work with kids.
We mix it up with scaffolded learning, where we maintain the repetitive aspect of the game or activity, but increasingly challenge them a bit more – maybe with more complex vocabulary or social interactions.
Interactive storytelling and reading is also quite effective in speech therapy for kids, and using predictable storytelling is a great way to get kids engaged. They participate because they know what part or voice or words they’re expected to take on. We’ll often use the opportunity to provide visual supports, such as pictures, gestures, and visual schedules to enhance their understanding of these concepts. It’s more likely to “click” because it involves something familiar.
By integrating repetition into various speech therapy strategies, our Fort Myers SLPs can effectively leverage kids’ natural love of repetition to improve their overall language and communication skills.
More Blog Entries:
Pediatric Speech Therapy Service Needs Have Expanded Post-Pandemic, Jan. 5, 2024, Fort Myers Kids Speech Therapy Blog