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Stammering advice for parents and carers of older children

Has your child just started stammering?

Or has your child been stammering for a while, but starting to struggle a little bit more?

There are lots of things that you can do to help your child carry on talking confidently and help them reduce the struggle of talking. The most important thing is that you remain calm and don’t make a big deal out of it. Reassure them that it is ok to get stuck sometimes. Your response to their stammer is going to have an impact on how they feel about their talking. Here are a few simple, but powerful, strategies that will help your child talk more easily.

Things that may make talking easier for your child

  • Model a calm, slower rate of talking in conversation at home.
  • Try to avoid putting your child ‘on the spot’ by asking direct questions or telling them to speak in front of others.
  • Try to use more comments than questions when playing or talking with your child.
  • Model good turn taking within conversations and make sure everyone has a chance to talk.
  • Start off a sentence – if your child has been excitedly telling you something that has happened at school and then got stuck, you could say something like: “So you were playing in the playground and then….?”
  • Make time for 1:1 time together as often as possible. To provide an opportunity for your child to talk with very low demands.

Things that may help your child to feel better about their talking

  • Try not to stop your child ‘mid- flow’ or offer advice when they are stammering..
  • Show your child that you are listening when they are speaking.
  • Try to listen to what your child is saying rather than how they are saying it.
  • Acknowledge your child’s feelings rather than asking them to “calm down” or offering advice.
  • Talk openly about stammering. It’s ok to acknowledge when your child finds talking difficult.
  • Model calm responses to things not going to plan.
  • Give your child specific praise for their communication skills
  • Try to use neutral language when talking about stammering with or around your child.

 

Additional resources and information

Two video presentations from South Tees Speech and Language Therapy Service.

Why do some children stammer? (8 minutes)

Practical advice to support children who may be stammering (17 minutes).

Contact us

For more information please contact the Speech and Language Therapy Service Stammering Team at Flockton House on 0114 226 2333.

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Disclaimer

Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: SL107

Resource Type: Article

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