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If you’ve heard your preschooler start repeating sounds or having a hard time getting out the words they want to say, you aren’t alone.

Stuttering is common in children between the ages of 2 and 5 years-old. As far as the exact reason why your child may be stuttering? That isn’t always known. Some possible causes include certain medical conditions, genetics, and difficulties with the motor control of speech. For many preschool aged children who have been stuttering less than 6 months and appear unaware of their speech difficulties, the stuttering is developmental. That means your child’s language is growing and in trying to keep up, they begin to have some repetitions during speech. The good news? There are some simple things to do (and NOT to do) at home that can encourage your child to speak a little smoother! 


First, the don’t’s. Parents often have good intentions, and may not that doing these things can actually make the stuttering worse. 

·         Tell your child to “slow down”. 

·         Interrupt. As tempting as it may be, avoid jumping in to “help” your child by saying the word he or she is having trouble with. 

·         Ask too many questions. This lessens the pressure associated with speaking! 

·         Speak quickly. Without knowing it, this can create an environment where your child thinks he or she needs to do the same. 



And now the do’s. Try these tips to help your child achieve easy, fluent speech and reduce stuttering!

·         Model speaking slowly and relaxed. 

·         Pause. Give your child the time he or she needs to finish their thought. Maintain eye contact and give them your full attention when they are talking to you. Pause briefly before you respond back. 

·         Take turns talking. Get everyone in the household on board with talking “one at a time” and taking turns talking, like while at the dinner table. 

·         Be observant. If you believe your child’s stuttering is getting worse, has been going on for over 6 months, or you see him or her showing other behaviors like becoming frustrated/aware of speech difficulties or avoiding certain speaking situations, talk to your pediatrician. A referral for an evaluation with a Speech Therapist might be in order.

Amy Yacoub, MS, CCC-SLP | Speech Pathologist
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