If you’ve heard your preschooler start repeating sounds or having a hard time getting out the words they want to say, you aren’t alone.
First, the don't's. Parents often have good intentions, and may not that doing these things can actually make the stuttering worse.
· Tell your child to “slow down”.
· Interrupt. As tempting as it may be, avoid jumping in to "help" your child by saying the word he or she is having trouble with.
· Ask too many questions. This lessens the pressure associated with speaking!
· Speak quickly. Without knowing it, this can create an environment where your child thinks he or she needs to do the same.
And now the do's. Try these tips to help your child achieve easy, fluent speech and reduce stuttering!
· Model speaking slowly and relaxed.
· Pause. Give your child the time he or she needs to finish their thought. Maintain eye contact and give them your full attention when they are talking to you. Pause briefly before you respond back.
· Take turns talking. Get everyone in the household on board with talking "one at a time" and taking turns talking, like while at the dinner table.
· Be observant. If you believe your child's stuttering is getting worse, has been going on for over 6 months, or you see him or her showing other behaviors like becoming frustrated/aware of speech difficulties or avoiding certain speaking situations, talk to your pediatrician. A referral for an evaluation with a Speech Therapist might be in order.