How many times have you read your little one’s favorite book? Sang their favorite song? Played the same game over and over? It can drive us big kids crazy, but they still want more! Why? Here’s some info on how repetition helps development!
Repetition is key to learning and mastering anything. Any new skill, (learning to roll over, walking, clapping hands, doing back-handsprings, knitting, driving, reading, etc.) takes repetition. When doing something new for the first time, your brain is working so hard to figure out how to perform all of the complex requirements of this new skill. The more you repeat the same skill, the more your brain rewires itself to not only know what is needed to complete the skill, it also learns the most efficient way to do this skill.
For instance, picture an infant learning to roll over. At first, they figure out to reach an arm or leg over across their body to the other side. Later they need to move this arm/leg further over their midline to shift their weight to the opposite side. And then they roll back onto their backs looking like an upside-down turtle. Try again. This time the arm/leg reaches over farther so they are fully on their side-laying body. Now what? Little by little they will figure out to adjust their neck and head to look in another direction, to fully shift their body weight until they are resting on their belly, and to pull out the arm that was pinned under their body. Ta-da!
We watch so proudly as they struggle to figure out how to actually get themselves back to belly. As we cheer them on day after day, their brains are actually working to not only figure out this new skill but also to remember the best way to try again in the future. They may spend time testing out different theories of how they could roll over, usually unsuccessfully, but ultimately their brain learns the most efficient way to roll over. And just like that, they master their new ability like a pro!
This detailed example is just a snapshot of the amazing work your little one’s brain is doing each day! Every time they interact with the world whether it’s with move their own body, using a toy, reading a book, listening to a song, etc., they are newly discovering a skill that needs to be repeated, a lot.
When you come to a Zumbini® class you’ll notice that we do the same class flow and format every time. This predictable routine helps your little one’s brain to not only practice all of the activities that happen in the class but to also give some sense of the structure of what will happen next. After a few classes, they will feel confident about what they can do because they know what is coming up next.
This same repetition is seen in many of the types of dance moves. Have you noticed how much we love jumping, bouncing, walking, swaying arms, clapping, and turning around?
While we do make these skills with more fancy added challenges (like walking backward), mostly we are doing the same movements over and over throughout all of the songs to help your little one confidently develop these skills.
We also sing the same songs for a session of 9-12 weeks. This specifically designed to repeat in this way so that your little one hears the music, learns the words, and starts to interact by either bouncing their head, clapping their hands or singing along. When you listen to the music at home or in the car together, they are getting in more repetition! Not to mention having more fun with you!
So as taxing as it may be to sing that song, read that book, or play that game one more time, just know you are doing the most important work in helping your little one’s development! Before you know it they will be ready to practice things like driving (Aaa!)