In Search of Mastery

Posted December 24, 2009

Derek, father of 2 year old Simon wonders why his son wants the same story read, day after day.  "I'm a little tired of it myself and I think a variety of books would be more educational for him.  But every time I try to read a different book, he fusses until he gets me to pick up the one I've read 100 times."


There was a time when my daughters were toddlers when I felt exactly this way about the books they wanted me to read.  Sometimes I even hid the ones I was so tired of so I could escape the boredom of a re-read.  Obviously, I hadn't heard of the concept of mastery yet, but I guess my daughters had! Babies, I learned later, have an innate interest in mastery.  Of course, they love to explore new toys and corners and books but once the all-important excitement of discovery has occured, babies and toddlers set out to master the books, toys and experiences that interest them the most.

Mastery occurs through repetition.  Young children are driven to discover and then master all aspects of the rich environment you provide for them, and you, as the parent / caregiver are the facilitator of this essential educational process.

So, as you spend some post-Christmas time "hanging out" with your toddler, remember what they crave the most:  regularity, routine and...repetition

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