Have you ever watched your child so engrossed in something and thought ‘why the hell are they doing that?’ not only why are they doing the specific thing, but why are they doing it over and over and over again…
Why? Just, why?!
It’s hard to imagine that you don’t know anything and everything is new to you.
There may be things that you think children have been aware of for a long time, but they haven’t. This is more common with children with additional needs.
I am speaking directly from the mouth of one of these children.
I don’t have any severe needs, in fact I don’t consider myself to have any at all, I’m borderline dyslexic (great career choice there Amy!), but as I grew up I learnt to adjust and most importantly I learnt to laugh at myself so mistakes get brushed off as an ‘Amy-ism’ as my mum calls them.
However, when I was a child being a ‘slow learner’ put you in the additional needs club, and being diagnosed with dyslexia at sixteen years old in my first year of college suddenly made sense.
I have no ill feeling towards the system, you have to learn as you go and dyslexia is now recognised and there are lots of resources available
(I’m going to write a post about dyslexia, how to spot it and how you can help children create coping mechanisms at a later date)
So, what are the reasons children like to be repetitive?
Firstly, it’s not just children, but here are #5 reasons to help you understand why, and the importance of allowing children the opportunity to be repetitive.
#1 – Thinking Time
I don’t know about you but if I need down time to either get out of my head or think through something on my mind I need to do something familiar and repetitive:
- A great movie or TV show that I’ve seen a million times
- Create something; Colour, Draw, play with make-up, sew
- Swipe through Pinterest, Instagram, etc.
- Go for a run
Children are no different and it is important that they are given this down time and opportunity to process.
Without it children may become overwhelmed and stressed in the same way that children need to play independently, which you can read about here.
#2 – Testing Their Limits
Testing the limits of the objects around them…structure of the ball, the wall, if I bounce it in different places does it bounce back the same?
When children play they see something that you don’t.
They are looking for things that you aren’t thinking about.
In short, what you see as repetitive behaviour, could be an intricate scientific experiment being played by the next Einstein
Don’t underestimate it.
#3 – Practice
They just learnt a new skill
Practice makes perfect!
Children like to challenge themselves and prove to others and themselves that they can do what they put their mind to.
When they acquire the said skill, it’s a mix of wanting to perfect it and pride that they accomplished it, which makes them want to repeat it.
#4 – Wonder
They are seeing something that you are not.
For example, if a child is painting a piece of paper, they have covered the whole sheet and they keep painting it over and over.
They are involved in an observation, look at the marks the brush makes. Each stroke is different.
They are also involved in an experiment…
How long can I paint it before the paper tears?
How thick can I make the paint?
How long can I do this before the boring adult stops me?
#5 – It’s New
Everything is new to a child, there is so much information and new experiences they are having everyday.
This is exciting and also overwhelming so,
When children find something new they want to practice and perfect it but also process what it is and how they can manipulate it!
I hope you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with like-minded people and ask any questions you may have in the comments.
Last week I discussed why children need to experiment with risk during play, so if you’d like to read that please click here.
Last weekend me an my friend spent the weekend in Seoul for their birthday!
We had such a good time exploring the streets of Seoul, even though Korea is quite ‘same-y’, it’s still cool to be in the capital, with the other 10 million people living their best life!
This weekend was my last weekend in Korea, which I spent in Busan, my favourite city!
How did you play today?