How Can I Help my Preschooler Who Stutters?

If you believe your child may be developing a stutter, it can be scary. However, fluency issues are common and can be normal in preschool-aged children. If you believe your child may be stuttering, consult with a speech-language pathologist. In the meantime, here are some tips for helping your child at home.

Do not:

-Ask your child to slow down

-Ask your child to think before s/he speaks

-Finish your child's sentences

Do:

-Pause for 3 seconds before responding to your child's questions or comments to slow the pace of conversation. Example - Child: "Can we go to the park today?" Parent: (Pause 1...2...3...) "Yes, we can go after school".

-Model slow (but not robotic) fluent speech by pausing frequently and in natural ways when communicating with your child. In addition to pausing where commas would be and at the ends of sentences, try to pause every 2-4 words. Practice this technique when reading children’s books (this is usually easier because you can visualize where to insert the pauses). “When we go…to the park…you can play…on the swings."

There is a natural…place to pause…every few words…in conversation.

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