Toddler Repetition Compulsion

Notice how kids can do certain things over and over and over again?  We took Violet to a farm on the weekend with some other friends and we couldn’t seem to pull her away from milking this cow!

I try not to interfere with her natural and inherent need to do things repeatedly. After all she was doing very important work. She was perfecting the movement of squeezing and filling up the bucket with water again and again… and as much as I sometimes don’t understand it I really try to let her be when she gets into her repetition mode until she has enough. But, after an hour of standing around this cow, something had to give. There was more to see and do, not to mention there were other kids that wanted to ‘milk the cow’. Eventually, we pulled her away.

What a funny little phase kids go through! According to Dr. Maria Montessori it’s really important to not interfere with this natural need for repetition as she says (if my memory serves me) it gets in the way of a child’s character development. I can see that actually. Imagine you’re at the park and you’re on a mission to climb up a ladder and go down a slide and you’re having so much fun you want to do it again and again. Then, someone comes along and picks you up once you’ve gone down the slide and takes you to the swing, but you’re still thinking about the slide and were just getting into a rhythm. There’s a loss of concentration and power in what it was you were enjoying. There’s a bit of disappointment there, unless of course you really love swings..  😉

So, what do you think, are we messing with character development when we interfere with our kid’s repetition compulsion?

Book: Theories of Development

I’m just about to crack open this book, called Theories of Development Concepts and Applications by William Crain,  and am very excited to do so even though I already have way too many books on the go! But, I’m intrigued.. upon flipping through the book, I  caught a glimpse of the following passage which happens to demonstrate exactly why I am so enamored with Montessori..

Found in the “Montessori’s Educational Philosophy” chapter of the book (on page 80):

Two 6-year old boys’ views on school matters.

Notes the differences in the role of the teacher in the minds of these two children.

1. Who taught you to read?

Regular School Child: “My teacher.”

Montessori Child: “Nobody, I just read the book, and to see if I could read it.”

2. Do you get to work on anything you want?

Regular School Child: “No. But we can go to the bathroom anytime we want. But we’re not allowed to go to the bathroom more than four times.”

Montessori Child:  “You can work on anything you want.”

3. What would happen if you bothered another kid who was working?

Regular School Child “I’d get in trouble from the teacher.”

Montessori Child “He’ll just say, ‘Please go away, I’m busy'” (What would you do?) “I’d just go away ’cause I don’t want to bother someone working.”

The Daily Groove ~ Creative Parenting

I subscribe to an online newsletter called The Daily Groove by Scott Noelle. I enjoy his daily tidbits of insightful perspective on parenting mindfully and enjoying parenting. Today’s post (a continuation of yesterday’s post on Terrible Two’s) is something I keep top of mind with my toddler through this stage of power struggling and protests.

Below is today’s ‘Daily Groove’, more can be found at the Enjoy Parenting website. The image above is the cover of The Daily Groove book, currently out of print until further notice.

Developmentally, toddlers and Teens have one thing in common: they’re on the verge of a quantum leap in personal autonomy. They’re on a mission to become themselves — to get in touch with their Inner Power more than ever before.

Anytime they feel imposed upon or coerced, that mission is blocked, and they instinctively protest. In nature-based, pleasure-oriented, partnership cultures, such protests are rarely triggered, so terrible two’s and teen rebellions rarely occur.

But in our anti-nature, control-oriented culture, parents are expected (if not required by law) to oppose or control children’s natural developmental impulses toward personal empowerment, which guarantees the terribles!

The shift from terrible to terrific begins with your commitment to creative partnership. Then, whenever your child exhibits “terrible” behavior, you can re-interpret it as evidence of his or her unfolding autonomy, and ask yourself this:

“How can I use my creativity to support my child’s growth in a way that works for ALL of us?”