My child is stuttering. Should I be worried? What can I do?

When children learn to talk, they go through a normal “phase” in which they repeat words or phrases. This usually happens between the ages of about 2 and 5 years. This phase can last a few days or even weeks. However, some children have more difficulty with their speech and may in fact have a true stuttering problem.

How can I tell if my child is going through a normal phase or has a stuttering problem?

Look at how often your child stutters and in what way. Sometimes the only way to be sure that a child has a stuttering problem is to watch what happens over time.

How can I help my child who is stuttering?

  • Be a good listener. Focus on what your child is saying rather than how they are saying it.
  • Try not to fill in words for your child. This may frustrate your child especially if you have guessed the wrong word.
  • Avoid giving your child direct corrections, such as “slow down” or “relax”. This may make your child feel more anxious.
  • Encourage children to take turns talking, especially if siblings are competing for talk time.