The Science Behind Why Your Kids Love to Hear the Same Bedtime Story Over and Over (And Over) Again

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You probably know that kids love the familiar. Routines are key to happy days and easier nights, but when it comes to reading books, having to read the same one over and over again is often less than fun (for us).

And while you’ve probably wondered more than once if your kid is some kind of psycho for finishing a book and then immediately asking you to read it again, the answer is…not necessarily.

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Rituals and routines help kids manage cortisol levels that might have increased during the day because of stress at school, with friends, or just a bunch of new and different experiences.

Not only that, but repetition also assists kids with intelligence, says associate professor Dr. Virginia Walter. That’s because knowing a story by heart helps kids develop logic skills – they’re figuring out how to use predictive abilities based on what they already know about the story – and eventually those skills will be put to use when recognizing patterns and drawing conclusions in subjects like science and math.

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Repetition also increases children’s vocabulary. After hearing a story multiple times kids no longer have to focus on the narration, and can instead work on identifying and learning new words. In one small English study, two groups of 3-year-olds were read stories that contained made-up words. Some of them heard the same story with those words 12 times and the others heard different stories with those words 12 times.

The former group retained the made-up words at a much higher frequency (and could recall them days later), than the latter group, which was read different stories during the week.

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I’m not sure any of this information makes it easier to read and read and read Curious George (a welcome respite from Arthur, actually), but at least now you know why.

And since it’s good for their development and all, I guess we can suck it up.