Stuttering: Tips to help your child

  • Take a pause, be patient and let your child finish what she has to say. It’s best not to rush your child or try to finish sentences for him or her. When your child feels comfortable speaking at home, it may help reduce the dysfluencies and the potential of further development of stuttering.
  • Simplify the way you talk to your child. Use shorter sentences and vocabulary that are appropriate for your child’s age. Also, when asking questions, ask only one at a time and give your child time to respond. This will all help to eliminate any frustration in trying to imitate complex words, phrases or sentences.
  • Really listen. Listen to what your child is saying rather than how he is saying it. Respond to your child the same whether she is dysfluent or not. Often we get caught up in our own fears about our child’s difficulty, we lose sight of these precious moments of interaction. Think of how you would interact with a child with normal speech. Suggestions such as “slow down”, “breathe”, or “think before you speak” are not helpful and in fact, may frustrate the child even more.
  • Encourage an environment where everyone “takes turns” speaking. This will allow your child to feel that he will not be interrupted. This also teaches him to wait for others to finish as well.
  • Minimize speaking demands. It’s best not to ask your child to perform in front of others…unless, of course, if she or he wants to! Occasionally, be silent while playing or sitting with your child. Let him or her initiate and direct the conversation.
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