Why does my toddler keep telling the same joke over and over again?

Baby began developing her sense of humor as an infant, giggling over a game of peek-a-boo, or laughing at you for blowing raspberries on her belly. As she gets older, her idea of what is funny is growing, too. Along with physical humor, Baby is beginning to understand how words can make for some pretty hilarious stuff.

Your budding stand-up comedian may learn a joke one day and tell it on repeat for quite some time. This can feel puzzling – she has the ability to memorize lots of jokes, but tends to gravitate toward the same punchline ten times a day, to anyone who will listen.

There are a few reasons why Baby can get repetitive in her joke-telling.

  • The anticipated reactions: Toddler jokes are pretty adorable, and even strangers get a kick out of hearing little ones say the phrase, “knock, knock.” One reason Baby repeats the same joke over and over is because she knows what the reaction will be – uproarious laughter. She likes to feel like she’s funny, and prefers the tried-and-true joke to get that response.
  • It’s memorized: Even adults have a favorite joke they default to because they’ve perfected the delivery. In this sense, your toddler is no different. She has no reason to learn a whole range of jokes, because to her, telling it all day doesn’t get boring. It’s the one she knows best, and is ready to crack you up with over and over.
  • Evolving language: The physical stuff is still funny to Baby, but as she begins to understand and develop more language, she’s not just getting an understanding of how to speak correctly – she’s also starting to have an understanding of what’s silly. Rhyming words, objects that are very out of place, and other unexpected sounds and comparisons are funny to Baby at this stage. Now that she can repeat and visualize the scenario in the joke, there’s no stopping her from sharing it with the world.

A well-developed sense of humor is a great trait, and encouraging Baby to continue her mission to make people laugh can help to reinforce the idea that language can be fun. Though the same joke on repeat can become just a bit less amusing to adults over time, if you don’t let on, and instead to give her that big laugh each time she finishes the punchline, you’ll encourage her to keep developing her sense of humor. Explore new jokes with Baby, and before you know it, she will have many more to add to she repertoire – and maybe she’ll give the old one a little bit of a rest.

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