The National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) reports that it is common for 5-10% of children from 2-6 years to stutter. For this reason, parents rarely need to worry.
Stuttering can manifest differently. For instance, children can stretch out a sound when they say a word. They can also keep reading a word or part of it. Other children can have blocks and can’t get a word out.
Reasons for stuttering
Experts have long speculated the reasons for stuttering. They think that several factors could cause it. Psychological factors are rarely a reason for stuttering. It can instead be genetic or due to a brain injury. Developmental stuttering can occur when children are still learning to speak and understand language.
Tips for parents to deal with stuttering
Although stuttering may not be permanent, it can be stressful for children and parents to deal with the problem. However, the NIDCD recommends supporting their children instead of focusing on it. They should do this by setting time apart to talk with their child to give them a relaxed atmosphere.
The NIDCD also stated that parents should let their children finish their sentences by themselves instead of stepping in as this could add pressure to them. They should also speak slower. Lastly, parents should concentrate on what the child is saying rather than how they are saying it.
Parents should try to ignore their children’s stuttering as much as possible. However, if the child mentions it, be ready to have an open conversation by acknowledging it and telling them not to worry. The American Academy of Pediatrics also gives additional guidelines if you have any questions.
For 75% of the children who stutter, the condition disappears after 6-12 months. If it does not, then there is cause for concern. Parents should also seek help from a speech-language pathologist or a pediatrician if the stuttering started after four years old, has worsened, your child is frustrated, or there is a member of your family whose stuttering continued after childhood.
Stuttering can damage a child’s self-esteem. In this case, parents should address it with speech therapy.