Between two and four years, children can go through a phase of stumbling over words, stammering and/or stuttering. This usually passes but although parents don’t cause stammering, our anxiety can draw unwanted attention to it.
Where there’s a family history of stammering or if you’re worried, an early referral to a speech therapist is useful. This allows monitoring of the speech, and provides support and advice for you.
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In the meantime, here are some suggestions about what you can do to help your child:
* Rather than attempt to slow down his speech and repeat words, slow down yours, and stick to short, uncomplicated sentences. This gives him time to process what you say
* Give him your full attention when chatting to him
* Avoid hurrying your discussions or asking him too many questions, so he’s not put on the spot.
* Encourage him with lots of smiles, nods and eye contact when he’s talking.
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Annette Maloney, health visitor.