Oh, don't us parents all get overkilled by repetition:
- “Mom, can you read that book AGAIN?”
- “Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are...” (for the twentieth time)
- “Mom, we're not done playing London Bridge”
- “Dad, draw another aeroplane... another one... and another one....”
It can be wearisome. But however tiring it gets, we cannot run away from the fact that children learn through repetition. We cannot change that. What we can change is our attitude as parents to encourage instead of impede such learning.
So I've decided that next time my son asks “Mommy, I watch Lion King?”, I'm going to say okay BUT limit his watching to once a day. Then I'm going to rejoice in the fact that he likes to sing the opening song, repeat some of the dialogs and roar like a lion.
Another plus for repetition is the fact that our children's confidence grows when they engage in things and activities that are familiar (for example familiar songs, friends and predictable plots). I realized the more bored I was getting with Lion King, the more my son seemed to enjoy it. And why not? Compared to the first few times, he now can sing along and predict what is going to happen. Sign of increased confidence.
We are not the only once that have to put up with repetition. Our children do too. Consider how we dish out our instructions. We have to succumb to repetition as well:
- “For the hundredth time, pick up your toys.”
- “How many times must I say don't climb on the table?”
- “Don't let me call you again, come and wear your clothes now.”
A good tip I acquired was to keep our instructions short and to the point.
Say: “Clothes, laundry basket, now!”
Instead of: “How many times must I tell you not to throw your clothes on the floor.”
Keeping the instructions simple does 2 things:
- It keeps us from getting too emotional. Repetition is necessary, don't fight it. No point draining ourselves with negative emotions.
- We avoid attacking our children's self esteem. Our negative comments only make our children feel incompetent. Keeping it simple allows us to focus on praise when they do it right instead of harping on what they did wrong.
There will be difficult days when you just can't handle the repetition. Breath in, breath out. Remember repetition is part and parcel of our children's growing up years. Just acknowledge it, accept it and live through it with a smile. So Baa Baa Black Sheep for the hundredth time anyone?