It can be a very worrying time when your child suddenly starts to stammer and many parents don’t know what to do for the best. Here are 5 tips to try now. Remember, if you are at all concerned it is important to get practical help from a Speech and Language Therapist soon, rather than leave it until later, when things are harder to deal with.
# TIP 1 Give your child more time by slowing down your own talking and using pauses before you speak. Don’t ask them to slow down –it’s just too difficult for a little one and you’ll all get frustrated. Using a slow unhurried rate yourself is a more helpful way to help them slow down.
# TIP 2 Try and give your child 5 minutes of relaxed quality 1:1 time each day, a time when you can give them your full attention without any distractions or pressure to rush. Let them choose what they want to play with and talk about.
# TIP 3 Try not to ask too many questions, especially complicated ones – it can feel like a test “What’s that? What did you do at school today? Why haven’t you got your shoes on yet?…..” Sometimes children don’t want to answer as they are too busy doing their own thing or playing. Instead you could try some ‘open ended ‘comments such as “I bet you had a nice time at school today “or “Mummy went swimming today. I bet you did something fun!” they might choose to respond, they might not, or they might do it later.
Remember to give your child plenty of time to think and give their answer before you ask again.
# TIP 4 Try and concentrate on what your child is saying rather than how. Keep looking at them and give them your full attention, then they’ll know that you are listening and interested in what they are saying.
# TIP 5 Give lots of praise and encouragement. This can be a difficult time for your child and stammering can knock their confidence in themselves, not just the difficulties they are having with their talking. Listen out for their smooth talking – there is always more than you think!
Have a look at these two websites, both have excellent information about stammering.