If your child is frustrated or upset when his stuttering is worse, reassure him. Some children respond well to hearing, “I know it’s hard to talk at times…but lots of people get stuck on words…it’s okay.” Other children are reassured by a touch or a hug.
Here are some other helpful tips for communicating with a child who has a stutter:
- Speak to him in an unhurried way, pausing frequently. Wait a few seconds after your child finishes speaking before you begin to speak. Your own slow, relaxed speech will be far more effective than any criticism or advice such as “slow down” or “try it again slowly.”
- Reduce the number of questions you ask your child. Instead, simply comment on what your child has said.
- Use your facial expressions and other body language to convey to your child that you are listening to the content of her message and not to how she’s talking.
- 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 can be a confidence-builder for younger children.
- Help all members of the family learn to take turns talking and listening. Children, especially those who stutter, find it easier to talk without interruptions.
- Observe the way you interact with your child. Try to increase those times that give your child the message that you are listening to her and she has plenty of time to talk.
- Above all, convey that you accept your child as he is. The most powerful force will be your support of him, whether he stutters or not.
Adapted from The Stuttering Foundation of America.