Why does my toddler choose the same book or toy over and over again?

It’s bedtime. You let your child know they can pick out any book they’d like for a bedtime story while you’re silently hoping it’s not the same book you’ve read for the past 1,987,963 nights in a row. They come toddling over, and OF COURSE – it’s the SAME story you’ve read nearly every night since you began a bedtime story routine.

Why does this happen? Why is your child choosing the same story over and over again?

Or perhaps it’s not a story. Perhaps your child is seemingly obsessed with the same toy or activity. You feel like it’s time to move on to something else. So they can learn more, but also for your own sanity.

In this week’s Montessori Monday training, Rachel chatted with us about the REASONS your toddler is choosing the same toy or book over and over again and why that repetition is actually a good thing. If you’re curious about this topic, tap the video link below or keep reading!

(Also, if you don’t want to miss these trainings LIVE where you can ask questions in realtime be sure to join our free Montessori Toddler’s Facebook group where these trainings take place).

1. The same book, toy, or game satisfies your toddler’s need for order.

If you’ve ever heard of a sensitive period, the need for the same book, toy, or game could be your child demonstrating that they are within the sensitive period of ‘order’. (In case you’ve never heard of sensitive periods or need a refresher, tap here). Of course sensitive periods can vary, however, the sensitive period of ‘order’ tends to peak around the age of two. This just means that your child craves routine so they can make sense of their world.

It’s important to keep in mind that the sensitive period of ‘order’ is actually occurring from birth to age four or five years. Just keep in mind, two to three years of age is where you may really begin to notice it. Your child CRAVES predictability.

2. Repetition provides mastery and builds confidence.

If a toddler has a book that they love, odds are there’s something in the book that has peaked their interest. Maybe there’s a super funny part of the story. Maybe there’s repetition of words or phrases in the book that they love. Perhaps there’s an exciting part of the story. Whatever the reason, there’s SOMETHING about that book that your child loves which is great. The reason this is so wonderful, is that research shows that your toddler’s vocabulary actually improves when they read the same book over and over.

This is because, it generally takes a child hearing a new word multiple times, before they truly internalize it. Every time your child experiences the same word, it cements their understanding of those words. They then become words they child can use in their own language development. All of this leads to mastery of that word. Naturally when our children master a word or concept they become more confident. The more you do something, the better at you become and the more confident you become. That confidence, in these seemingly small things, allows for confidence in other areas of our children’s lives. Who DOESN’T want a confident child!?

If you think about it, nursery rhymes or songs you sing with your child often become so internalized that they’ll even begin to pick up on the intonation of words or songs.

3. Predictability and a sense of control are important for two to three year olds.

Ever heard of the ‘terrible twos’? The two to three year old stage can often be a challenge for parents because their children are in that sensitive period of ‘order’. This means they want control of the situation and want to know what is going to happen next.

The world is kind of crazy for toddlers if you think about it. They’re learning SO much in such a short amount of time. They’re learning to jump and run. Learning new words every single day. The speed of the learning during the first 5 years of life is greater than any other period of their life. Which means, toddlers are waking up to something new to them every day. So it makes sense why they would crave some sense of predictability and control. If having control over what they’re reading or playing is something that gives them comfort – let it be. This is a perfect example of  “choosing your battles”.

In conclusion, as frustrating as it may be to read the same book or play the same game with your child over and over again, remember that it is not only developmentally appropriate, it’s also benefiting them socially and academically.

So tell us in the comment section below; Is there a toy or book your child comes back to time and time again? If so what is it?

Also, if you’re interested in learning more about the sensitive periods mentioned above and how you can observe and follow your child to ensure they’re hitting developmental milestones in a Montessori manner, we’d love for you to join our FREE 4 Days to a Montessori Home Challenge!

We start Monday, August 22nd and you’ll have a chance to win a FULL scholarship to The Montessori Learning Center. (Everything you need to practice Montessori at home, WITHOUT the overwhelm). We hope to see you in the challenge!

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