Have you ever spent what felt like an obscene amount of time playing peek a boo with your baby because he got upset every time you stopped? Or read the same book to your toddler dozens of times despite having shelves full of other engaging books? Perhaps you’ve watched your young child spend an impressive amount of time trying to do a somersault, and then spend just as much time doing somersaults once he’s mastered it. All of this has to do with a child’s need for repetition in order to learn.
When booking classes on Go Bambino you may have noticed that you can choose to do a single drop-in class or sign up for an entire term of classes. The number of classes per week and the length of the terms vary, but most classes are once per week for about 3 months. While both options are beneficial and fun for your child, there are some benefits for signing up for an entire term that you may not have considered – and it has to do with repetition.
As adults we often lean towards signing our child up for drop-in classes so that they are exposed to a variety of different kinds of activities. We may feel that this allows them the opportunity to learn a lot of new skills and have diverse experiences. This is especially true for babies, because classes designed for babies can seem very repetitive, i.e. singing the same welcome song every week, working on similar skills from week to week, playing with the same equipment, etc. However, this repetition is not due to a lack of creativity of the people who run the classes. These activities are repetitive by design – repetition is essential for learning in babies and children. In order to truly master a skill, a child must have the opportunity to repeat that skill over and over and over again.
You’ve seen this repetition play out with your child dozens of times over the years without even knowing it. For example, when your baby was learning to walk he didn’t just fall once and give up. He continually fell down, stood back up, and tried again. Perhaps there is a time you can remember, right around the time your baby learned to go up stairs, when he went up and down the stairs at the playground repeatedly for an extended period of time. You may have felt impatient and wondered why your baby wasn’t interested in any other part of the play structure or trying new things. You may have even been concerned – but there’s no need to be! Repetition is so important to learning for babies and young children that they have an intrinsic motivation to repeat things over and over until they master them. This is why they continually get back up after falling when learning to walk. What seems boring, and maybe even obsessive, to adults, is actual healthy child development playing out.
The next time you go to sign your child up for a drop-in class consider the need for repetition and sign up for the whole term instead!