Stuttering is a common speech disorder that is characterized by the repetition and extending of words, syllables and sounds, resulting in speech flow disturbances (also known as dysfluencies). The condition is especially frequent with young children starting from 2 to 5 years old, as this is the time period in which they are developing and honing their communication skills. Parents can do several things to help stop or minimize childhood stuttering.
Set an example for a stuttering child. Speak in a way that is deliberate, relaxed and slow, and make an effort to pause a lot. When conversing with your child, avoid quick responses and wait several seconds before beginning to speak again. Set an example for a proper and clear speech pace.
Avoid showing awareness of the stuttering. Instead, concentrate simply on listening. It is important to not make the child feel that you are conscious of his speaking difficulty. Showing him that you are aware of the problem will only make him self-conscious and nervous about the whole situation.
Ask fewer questions. Encourage your child to speak in a free manner by asking fewer questions and listening more to what he has to say on his own volition. Acknowledge that you hear what he says by making comments, such as "I understand."
Give your child your full attention. Life can be extremely busy and hectic, and as a result, it can be hard to provide a child with your undivided attention regularly. However, with a stuttering child, setting aside some daily one-on-one time to talk can be effective in encouraging relaxed and slow speech. Engage in quiet talking time and make sure that you speak in a calm, relaxed and slow way. Being alone with you can also help your child feel more comfortable in talking freely.
Teach your other children about stuttering. If you have other kids, educate them about their sibling's stuttering. Arm them with the necessary knowledge and facts to become loving and accepting family members to their sibling. Set strict rules against teasing about stuttering within the family.
Show your child love and affection. A lot of stuttering results from feelings of insecurity and lack of comfort. Try to nourish your child's self-esteem by exercising patience with his stuttering and also by focusing on areas in which he excels.
Seek professional assistance. In the majority of cases, children stop stuttering by the age of 5. However, in cases of prolonged or more serious cases of stuttering, it is vital to look for professional help. Look for a certified speech language pathologist to assist your child in improving his speaking disorder, as there is no medical cure.