What to Do if Your Child Begins to Stutter

In our latest video series we've been talking about early childhood stuttering. It can be a complex thing, so be sure to check out the other videos in our series, including when to seek the services of a speech-language pathologist and what to try and avoid when talking with a child who stutters. But today we're talking about what you can do to help. So let's get started.

Probably the easiest strategy to remember in practice is called easy speech. For young kids who don't yet seem to show awareness of their stutter, we want to help support them in an indirect way that doesn't necessarily draw attention to the stutter itself. We can model easy, relaxed speech when talking with them, and you'll notice that their speech will start to imitate yours if you remain consistent.

With easy speech, we want to stretch and smooth out our words and keep our rate of speech slow. We can still be animated, but our speech should be smooth. It can take some time to make this the way that you naturally speak with your child, so give yourself a fair shot.

Another tip is to try to manage conversation in the household. It can feel tough to have your chance at talking when everyone else has something to say. If your child is showing signs of stuttering and has siblings, take some opportunities to insist upon conversational turn-taking. The dinner table can be a great place to try this out.

We can also reduce conversational pressure when talking with a child who stutters. Try making more comments and observations rather than asking direct questions. So instead of "What is the bear doing on this page?," try "I see the bear eating honey."

Demonstrate pauses in your own speech before responding to questions that your child asks you to show them that taking your time to respond is okay.

These tips can be helpful and supportive for a child who demonstrates stuttering or disfluencies in their speech. However, there are cases where direct intervention supported by a skilled speech-language pathologist is the best course of action. I hope you found this video helpful. Don't forget to subscribe to the Expressable channel for more speech-language therapy ideas and tips.

More from

Watch learning jump (leap! spring! hop!) from your sessions into the real world.

Get started