My toddler watches the same movie over and over again. This song is going to get stuck inside my head.
And even though we try to persuade him to watch something different, watching the same movie on repeat actually does have some developmental benefits.
I have to call it now that my son will become an actor. He completely acts out his favorite movies, scene by scene and recites the lines. It’s impressive how he can memorize dialogue so fast. Among his favorites as Cars, Cars 2, Secret Life of Pets 2, The Grinch, and his new favorite, The Lego Movie 2.
It might drive us crazy, but here’s why toddlers watch the same movie on repeat isn’t bad.
Repetition Helps Them Learn
Ever since they were babies, repetition one of the ways they learn new things. Do something over and over again and they will learn that behavior. Watching the same movie then helps them learn behaviors displayed in the movie.
They Are Increasing Their Vocabulary
But it also helps as well as new vocabulary to increase speech skills. According to one study, kids learn more words from hearing the same story again compared to hearing a story from a different book.
And Their Comprehension Skills
Toddlers might need to watch a movie on repeat to comprehend what is going on. The more they watch the movie, the more they can understand. This includes everything from the context in the conversations to the emotions and feelings associated with what is occurring in the plot.
Because of their developing brains, they are not able to comprehend everything they see at once. The brain cannot keep up with the speed of the movie so each time they watch the movie, the more details they can catch. After watching it again and again, they are finally able to grasp the ideas of the movie.
It Allows Them To Predict
Once they know a scene, they will also be able to then predict what is coming next every time they watch that movie. And this is something the brain does on its own. Then they are rewarded with pride and happiness when they can see that prediction play out.
In this way, movies on repeat help them develop cause and effect and promotes logical thinking.
Repetition Makes Them Feel Safe
Playing the same movie, again and again, provides that familiarity that toddlers need in a world where there are many things unknown. It provides that sense of safety since they know what to predict. In this way, they feel more control and secure.
So next time your toddler asks for that movie again for the 5th time in one day, you don’t feel so bad knowing that this a not only a common thing but also good for their development.
Horst, J. S. et. Al. (2011) Get the Story Straight: Contextual Repetition Promotes Word Learning from Storybooks. Front Psychol; 2: 17.