Toddler Survival Tip #12
12. Toddler Stutter
My husband stutters and had quite a bit of stuttering issues as a child. So when my Geran started stuttering, I grew concerned. Geran has gone through stuttering fazes. I was worried when I heard him stutter quite a bit. My husband assured me to calm down and just act naturally. Don't try to force him to slow down or say it different. I did as he said and eventually he stopped. He started up a few times and stopped again. He is 3 and I haven't heard him stutter in a few months now. I do know that they can stutter until age 5 and that is is common. Read the article below.
It states that often toddlers who stutter have brains that are working too fast for their mouths.
Wait and See Children (and adults, too) tend to stutter more when they're upset, uncomfortable, angry, or just plain excited. If your child is stuttering only at these times and the stuttering is mild, don't be in a rush to get him evaluated. He'll probably outgrow the tendency as he gets more comfortable speaking. Age is also a factor. Since many children go through a stuttering phase while learning to talk, most experts recommend waiting until your child is 3 or 4 before taking action.
If your child is approaching 3 and the stuttering has continued for three to six months, speak to his doctor, who can refer you to a speech therapist for an evaluation. Ask your child's daycare, preschool teacher or others if this seems normal or more advanced problem. Ask other parents how their child's speech is. A speech therapist may have some ideas on what techniques at home to try and help your child feel more comfortable speaking.
I know it can feel daunting to have 'experts' examing your babies, but trust them. They have found early intervention can benefit your child greatly! If the exercises are presented in fun games, a 3-year-old can learn strategies to reduce the frequency and severity of stuttering episodes.
Try these on your own
- Keep a relaxed face. I was reminded by my hubby that I had this worried look on my face when Geran stutters. Not helpful. Smile if you can, don't point out the stutter to him, he probably has no idea he's doing it.
- I am a fast talker, I had to learn to talk to him slow, and in relaxed tones.
- Maintain normal eye contact and wait for him to finish once he starts stuttering. Don't finish his sentences for him. Let his brain work at figuring it out on his own. He needs to train his mouth to catch up or his brain to slow down. Don't tell your child to slow down, you think your being helpful, let them work it out.
- You can repeat the sentence back to him in a fluid manner to show him how it needs to be said, not in a teaching manner but more like a question, "Is this what you are asking?
- Find time in your day for a stress free conversation. Take time to talk quietly and slowly just you and your toddler.
- Validate feelings if he needs that. "Talking can be tough sometimes." It can relax him to know you are related to his frustration.
- Encourage stories and songs. My husband can sing well. I never hear him stutter when he sings. His mind and body just relax and we enjoy the music.