Parenting Guide for Stuttering in Children and Toddlers
Parenting is no easy task. As parents, we try our best to protect them from any external harm or injury. But what if the damage is to their self-esteem? What path do we take then? Here is a parenting guide for you.
Very few predicaments cause children to lose confidence in themselves like stuttering does. Kids, who question everything due to their untamed curiosity, completely stop talking in most cases when this speech impediment sprouts. The main reason for this unusual behavior is not the lack of curiosity but due to losing confidence in themselves. As honest as kids are, they can often be cruel and inconsiderate towards someone with a speech issue.
In time, the disfluent kid may also develop social anxiety, anger issues and become aggressive. Even if the stuttering in children and toddlers goes away later, other personality traits that were affected because of it may prolong and make life difficult for them.
So a parenting guide to tackle such a condition and help the affected kid cope with it? For that, we first need to understand what stuttering in children and toddlers actually means.
All toddlers go through a stage where they struggle to pronounce particular syllables or words. It usually happens when a child is between the age of two and five. When they first learn to speak and communicate, it is entirely normal for them to experience an interruption in the flow of speech. Eventually, as the child gains proficiency in using the language, they stop stuttering.
But for some children, the stutter doesn’t go away even after the age of five. Though numerous treatments are available to alleviate this hindrance, doctors aren’t exactly sure what causes it. Some researchers believe it is a miscommunication between the brain and the vocal muscles that create sounds, while others maintain it is genetic. Since most of the time, when a kid stutters, they likely have a close relative who also does the same.
Parenting Guide to Detect Early signs:
As previously mentioned, stuttering in children and toddlers can prolong way into the age of five. While this reason can satisfy the optimist parents among us, it is not enough for everyone. And with a good reason. Because the child who is going to stutter after five years will also stutter before five.
Parenting guide to differentiate a temporary stutter from an actual health condition?
- When a child stutters, you might see some facial movement. It will appear as if the child is tightening his muscles when struggling with a word.
- The child will try to prevent himself from participating in situations that might make him talk.
- Repetition will feel good for a child who struggles with stuttering. So he will repeat whole words, sounds, syllables, and phrases more often. As they repeat these words, which makes children and toddlers feel like their stuttering problem is gone, they divert from the real problem, hence can’t find a solution for it.
Parenting tips to help a stuttering child:
- The first thing that needs to be mentioned in this parenting guide is to regulate the rate of speech. When you minimize the speed of talking, words will not strain the child’s speech. Take a note of all the words you noticed your child is having a hard time with. Then sit with him and urge him to recite sentences in which you used those words. Remember, parenting is all about keeping your cool. So as much as the child needs to be patient, this method requires you to be calmer and composed.
- Do not correct your child when he is mispronouncing a word. Remember, stuttering happens not because of the lack of knowledge but due to misconnections in the brain. There is no need to tell the child to slow down or think before they speak. Just let them express themselves freely, even if they make mistakes. The problem here is the flow. So you should help the child get that flow however you can. And to do that, you have to tolerate the minor errors they make.
- You can use a family gathering beneficially. Instead of resorting to TV or video games, try involving the child in family chatter. But keep in mind not to correct your child in front of anyone, and make sure you request your guests to do the same. If your child feels humiliated in front of people, it will inevitably have a negative effect on their self-confidence.
- When the stuttering intensifies, for any reason, divert the child’s attention to something else. All Parenting guides suggest we keep a slew of things around us. So hand him snacks, or maybe even a toy. Make sure you don’t let the child know that you are doing it because of the stuttering. Keep it natural.
- Keeping calm is contagious. When a child struggles, let him recourse or rectify the heckle by himself. Instead, provide your child with a lot of support, especially when you take him/her outside. When you speak with your child, speak slowly and clearly. Not because they don’t understand, but your child should not feel alone when he speaks slowly. It will help the child gain confidence in speaking in front of others, and gradually, they will learn to do it without you.
- For some parents, none of the solutions they try at home will work. Don’t fret. We now have numerous speech therapists who specialize in helping disfluent children.
In conclusion, even with a parenting guide, the most crucial thing a child who stutters requires is you to be strong for them. It isn’t an ailment or a health hazard. Your child can grow up healthily and be successful even if he has a stutter.