The Power of Repetition

The Power of Repetition

Recently someone I know made a confession. It went something like this:

“When I was a child I used to tell adults when my peers or siblings did something wrong. However, my Mum told me again and again not to ‘tell tales’.”

Sound familiar?

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to tell my children:

“Don’t tell tales” (Proverbs 17:9).
“Say please and thank you” (Proverbs 16:24).
“You mustn’t snatch toys off other kids” (Exodus 20:15,17).
“Stop whinging and complaining” (Philippians 2:14).
“Listen to Mummy and do as I ask!” (Exodus 20:12).
“Don’t hit your brother!” (Ephesians 4:2).
Etc…

“But,” this person went on, “it is now ingrained in me not to tell tales.”  And now, not only does she keep other people’s offences covered up, she also teaches the children in her care to do the same. 

I don’t think she said it to me as a word of encouragement, but I can’t tell you quite how encouraging this was. 

We are promised in the Bible that, if we persevere in training our children, even when they are old they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).

As mums, we often feel under pressure to have well behaved children – all the time. We think we’ve done something wrong if they misbehave, or, worse still, tantrum (!) in public. 

But the reality is that they are sinners, just like you and I. And sin clings closely. It is not easy to shake off – neither for us, nor our children (Hebrews 12:1).

However, repetition is a powerful tool. 

Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, once said, “it is frequent repetition that produces a natural tendency”.  Or, in other words, if you repeat something often enough, eventually it will come naturally.

Repetition is used in schools to help children remember important facts and figures. It’s used by both advertisers and orators to persuade us. It’s used because, usually, it works!

The next time you are forced to repeat yourself (yet again) to your child, instead of becoming frustrated, I would encourage you to be grateful for the opportunity. The more you repeat it now, the more ingrained it will become. 

Mosaic Alphabet Craft

With 4 children under the age of 6, there is an awful lot of repetition of the alphabet in our house. “A for alligator; B for bee…” I won’t bore you with the rest!

I’d like to share a simple alphabet craft. It encourages fine motor skills, as tots can practice cutting and sticking. It also teaches children shapes, simple mosaics and, of course, the alphabet. 

You will need:

– A4 card or paper
– Tissue paper
– Scissors
– Glue

Instructions:

1. Draw out a large letter on the card.

2. Have your child cut out small pieces of tissue paper. Encourage them to cut a specific shape, e.g. squares, triangles or circles (don’t worry if they are not very good at this just let them try and give them a hand if they need it).

3. Have them stick the tissue inside the letter.

Alternatives

+ Do this on tracing paper cut it out and hang in the window for a ‘stain glass’ effect. 

+ Try using coloured card, fabric, buttons or felt instead of tissue paper.

+ Draw a simple outline of an object or creature like a bee, let the child fill in with tissue, then write below ‘Bb is for Bee.’

+ Why not find a video on you tube about mosaics or stain glass windows aimed at children and turn your alphabet craft into an art lesson too.

 

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