Stuttering is a speech problem that may make it difficult for you to understand your child. It can also be very frustrating for kids, affecting their confidence and willingness to attempt communication. Thankfully, there are things that you can do as a parent to encourage your child. We’ve put together 6 simple and practical tips and techniques that you can use to help your child to manage stuttering. (No time to read? Download the handout below)

  1. Reduce the pace
    • Speak with your child in an unhurried way, pausing frequently. Wait a few seconds after your child finishes before you begin to speak. Your own easy relaxed speech will be far more effective than any advice such as “slow down” or “try it again slowly.
  2. Practice Full listening
    • Try to increase those times when you give your child your undivided attention and are really listening. This does not mean dropping everything every time they speak.
  3. Pace your questions
    • Asking questions is a normal part of life – but try to resist asking one after the other. Sometimes it is more helpful to comment on what your child has said and wait.
  4. Build their confidence
    • Use descriptive praise to build confidence. An example would be “I like the way you picked up your toys. You’re so helpful,” instead of “that’s great.” Praise strengths unrelated to talking such as athletic skills, being organized, independent, or careful
  5. Take Turns
    • Help all members of the family take turns talking and listening. Children find it much easier to talk when there are fewer interruptions.
  6. Spend more quality time
    • Set aside a few minutes at a regular time each day when you can give your undivided attention to your child. This quiet calm time – no TV, iPad or phones – can be a confidence builder for young children. As little as five minutes a day can make a difference.