Regardless of whether your child is identified as a stutterer, use the tips below to help reduce the frequency of his/her hesitations and repetitions. Keep in mind that hesitations and repetitions are often a normal part of speech and language development.
- Speak with your child in a relaxed, unhurried way with frequent pauses. Wait a few seconds after your child finishes his turn before you begin to speak. When you respond naturally to what he/she is saying, you are indirectly telling him that everything is ok.
- Telling your child to “slow down” or “say it again” may not be helpful and will draw too much attention to your child’s speech.
- When your child is talking, look at your him/her, pay attention to what he/she is saying and try and focus less on how he/she is speaking.
- While asking questions is a natural part of communication, asking too many questions, especially one after another, can be challenging. Comments are helpful.
- Create calm times where you give your child your undivided attention. A few minutes a day can be helpful.
- Follow your child’s lead when playing together and build confidence by commenting on many of his/her areas of strength. For example: “I really like the way you are my helper when tidying toys.”
Contact a speech-language pathologist if you are concerned about your child’s speech.