Why Do Children Watch the Same Movie Over and Over?
Children watch the same movie over and over again based on two reasons: the first has to do with their learning process, and the second is related to enjoying what they’ve discovered.
Children learn via a pattern system. As these patterns are repeated, knowledge and understanding are fixed in their head.
That’s why they instinctively seek to repeat an action or activity, because each time they discover something new.
In adults, a pattern system could have the same effect. However, as adults, knowledge arrives more quickly because the brain has more tools and information.
Memory: the reason why children watch the same movie over and over again
Learning by repetition is one of the oldest educational techniques. Teachers don’t repeat multiplication tables in vain to help students memorize them.
Even songs have been composed for children to learn numbers or the alphabet.
“One reason why children watch the same movie over and over again is because of the emotion they remember from watching it the first time.”
In young children, this pattern can also be seen during play. To fix in his memory that the green ball goes through the green hole, the child will repeat this action several times. Even after it has been achieved, he’ll continuously repeat the pattern.
In the case of films, little ones memorize the characters and come to understand the plot through repetition.
Each time they watch the same film, they’ll be able to understand a little more about the story, which will bring them new emotions that they didn’t experience during the first viewing.
Repetition is also a sign of acceptance. As children discover new things in the activities they repeat, they’ll want to celebrate it more and more.
In their brain, they now know how they fit the pieces of a puzzle together or how they solved a riddle, and for that reason they’ll want to test themselves again.
When it comes to movies, some details they already know will fill them with astonishment, although for adults the movie might be predictable.
In the case of children, knowing what will happen connects them with an emotion and also gives them personal security.
For this reason, the movie or story told many times over will never lose its appeal.
Remembering phrases, dialogue or actions is a fun, almost magical experience because the child is able to predict the “future or destiny” of the protagonist.
Children learn by a pattern system. As the patterns are repeated, knowledge and understanding are fixed in their heads.
My favorite part is coming!
Another reason why children watch the same movie over and over again is because of the emotion they remember from the first time.
Although they aren’t very aware of it, by observing their reactions you’ll know when a movie makes them happy, and that experience is also fixed in their memory.
Some children cover their eyes before the villain appears, or they begin to smile before the funny part. This happens because the scene is already familiar and connects them with the feelings that it produces.
The same happens in adults. The repetition of songs, movies or stories is associated with emotions, with how the song or film makes us feel or what it reminds us of.
One way for parents to participate in this learning process is to share the moment with their children.
Whether watching the movie together and enjoying the reaction of their little ones, or showing surprise when the children announce what is going to happen.
Another way to stimulate comprehension is to ask questions about the film or story.
What do you think will happen now? Why is that character acting that way?
This technique tests their attention and allows the adult to know if the child understands the plot.
Some movies can be very confusing and misinterpreted by children. That’s why asking about the story can also help clarify any doubts the child may have.
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- Horst, J. S., Parsons, K. L., & Bryan, N. M. (2011). Get the story straight: Contextual repetition promotes word learning from storybooks. Frontiers in Psychology, 2, 17. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00017/full