As every parent knows, any song, rhyme, or book their child enjoys is going to get repeated at least 1,000 times. Finding out that your child adores a particular book or that one song calms them down, no matter what is a major win. The promise of this repetition also acts as the perfect distraction when you’re trying to get the little one to take a nap, eat, or get dressed.
If the repetition is starting to tire you out, here’s another reason to keep going: This habit is a critical part of childhood language development. Rhyming helps children understand how sounds and words work and connect. As they learn rhythms and repeat them, it’s a way to practice clear pronunciation. Voice modulation and recognising similar sounding words are all a part of developing speech skills.
Rhymes also help develop the child’s imagination with mental pictures, while songs add excitement and fun to the hard task of learning to speak. They can provide a fun context for a word. And, that makes reciting an essential part of speech therapy for children, too.
Repetition Provides a Sense of Security
If you’re getting just a little weary of reciting The Ants Go Marching for possibly the 73rd time in a row, understand the child psychology behind the endless requests.
Children love mastering new information and having a sense of accomplishment. Once your child learns a rhyme, they enjoy it more because they know what’s coming next. Gesturing and doing actions with the rhyme is fun because it’s familiar and also because your child finds it easier to remember things if there’s a physical component.
Going over the rhyme, again and again, reinforces the memory and makes the child feel like they’re in control of what’s happening in the narration. That’s also why children love making up their own versions of songs. It’s a powerful act of creation and control when you’re young.
Encourage Learning with Reading
One of the best ways to learn is by reading books. When you read aloud to your child, pointing to the words and corresponding images helps the child recognise letters. Images also help with language processing, setting up associations between the spoken word and its depicted meaning.
Many children’s books involve rhymes and poems. It makes the story easier for children to follow and it’s fun!
Even after listening to you read a book many times, your child may want to point to the same pictures and ask the same questions. They’re practising their information processing and speech, plus enjoying a positive interaction with their family member.
Verbal Repetition is Everywhere
We think of music and poetry as the primary places for repetition, but language is everywhere. Children often become fascinated with words that they can identify out in the world, pointing out every stop sign or discovering the word “mum” on greeting cards or magazine covers.
You can encourage this type of repetition with simple letters and words placed around the home. There are ABC magnets for your fridge and blocks for playtime. A preschooler loves a custom children’s t-shirt printed with their own name and will proudly read it to anyone who’s around.
Repeating the Rhymes is Building Brain Synapses
Each time you repeat a rhyme, remember that your child’s brain is building new synapses. As they grow, memorising new things will be a lot easier – and need fewer repetitions. So, if the next time is the 422nd time you’re reciting Five Little Ducks, think of it as an investment in your child’s language and learning skills.
The mission of Better Speech is to help people communicate better by providing affordable online speech therapy anytime, anywhere. We work with all ages from toddlers through adults. Our clients are matched with the best therapist for their needs and get affordable therapy at the comfort of their home when it’s convenient for them (even on weekends or evenings).