Year Two – Post 9 | Help! My toddler stutters!
If your child is experiencing stuttering, you need to model good speech and language skills for your child and create a calm, relaxed environment. You can do this by:
- Reducing stress if your child’s communication is causing his anxiety. For example, ask indirect rather than direct questions (e.g. “I wonder what the animal’s names were that you saw at the farm today.”).
- Slowing down and having a positive tone in your own speech.
- Separating complex sentences and pausing between them to help your child understand the information (e.g. “I am going to pick up grandma. –pause– Then I am going to the store. –pause– I will get some snacks for you then.”).
- Reducing environmental demands and interruptions during your child’s talking time (e.g. competitive siblings, a blaring television, phone calls).
- Giving your child more time to process new information you are presenting to him and not expecting him to remember everything you told him.
- Waiting for his responses and paying attention to his communication attempts by maintaining eye contact.
- Letting him complete what he has to say without finishing his words for him.
- Being a patient and relaxed listener while he is talking. Remember that he has only been on this earth for a short time.
- Never responding with “Stop that stuttering, relax and/or slow down!” You want your child to feel positive about his speech.
- Following the advice of a speech-language pathologist if therapy is necessary.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech, or you suspect that he has a dysfluency disorder, contact your health care provider or a qualified speech-language pathologist who has experience with this disorder and age group.
– Kathryn Thorson Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series