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.
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.
Where to next?
Annette Maloney, health visitor.