Why does your toddler like you to repeat the same story, even though she knows what it’s about? How can you introduce new books to her and expand her interests?
Well, you’d probably prefer not to watch the same TV show or movie over and over again. And even if there is a book that you particularly enjoy, you are likely to read it twice at most.
But your toddler thinks differently. She loves the same book and responds with such delight that you could be lulled into thinking that each reading was the first!
Indeed, the more she knows a tale, the more she enjoys hearing it – again.
(Also read: Toddler doesn’t like reading: 5 tips for parents)
Why your young child likes repetition
There’s something very reassuring about a familiar story – your toddler knows what to expect, what will happen and how it will finish. Therefore, there are no surprises.
Despite her natural curiosity and desire to explore new places and objects, she has a basic psychological need for structure and predictability.
Repetition is comforting, and she expects you to share in her enthusiasm.
Wanting to hear something again is also your child’s natural way of improving her learning. For instance, you memorise a telephone number by repeating it.
This method works just as well for a young child. So, she keeps asking for the same book until she is convinced that she has learnt every detail.
How to get her to read a new story
That doesn’t mean you should not introduce a new book. Sometimes, the comfort of familiarity can turn into a way of avoiding fresh experiences, and that’s not in your child’s best interests.
Help your toddler find a balance between repetition and novelty. Be patient with her and approach this gently.
If you scold your child for wanting the same story again, you may end up with a battle on your hands – she’ll be even more determined to hear it one more time.
A more effective way to encourage new experiences is to suggest them positively.
When she insists that you recite her best-loved fable, tell her you will do so after you have read something she hasn’t heard before.
Leave the familiar book beside you, while you go through the new one with her wholeheartedly.
Make the session as enjoyable as possible for her. Then, read her favourite story. That way, she’ll gradually expand her interests.
A mixture of the old and new is the best way for your toddler to progress.