How to handle a stuttering child

When toddlers stutter

I am a 30-year-old mother of three girls (5 years, 2 years and 8 months old). Two weeks ago, my 2-year-old began stuttering with little words like “me,” “I,” etc. I think she is aware of this because she is now avoiding certain words. As a teen, I used to stutter, and I still do a little bit in certain situations. Is her stuttering related to mine? What should we do about it? Thank you very much.

Stuttering is a common stage that many children pass through between ages 2 and 3. It is an age when children gain command of words and are eager to use them. I like to think of it as a time when their brains are moving faster than their mouths can. They tend to get stuck on a word, not often on a single sound. You will probably hear it more when she is excited or nervous.

The tendency is to tell your daughter to slow down, or to try to finish the sentence for her. It is best to try to ignore the stuttering and let her finish the thought on her own. Drawing attention to it will make her self-conscious and will not help. Usually, this stage lasts for a few months and resolves itself. It is unlikely to be related to the problems you had.

If your daughter continues to struggle or to avoid talking because of this, or if she continually stutters the initial sound of words, talk to your pediatrician. She might recommend a speech therapy evaluation to help your daughter work on her speech.

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