With one of the busiest times of the year upon us at Christmas holidays, many parents will notice a young child start stuttering. Those children, teens, and adults who already stutter will possible find that they stutter more all of a sudden. Although, Christmas is a happy, fun time of the year; it is also a stressful time. Everyone seems to be in a hurry as they have so much to do to prepare for exchanging gifts; shoppers are in a hurry to finish their list; stores and busier and need to move the people through the checkout line quickly; there are visitors in homes making many households double in size, etc.
This is one time that parents need to know and follow the things to do at home to help young children who stutter. Here is the list of things that The Stuttering Foundation of America gives:
1. Speak with your child in an unhurried way, pausing frequently. Wait a few seconds after your child finishes speaking before you begin to speak. Your own slow, relaxed speech will be far more effective than any criticism or advice such as "slow down" or "try it again slowly."
2. Reduce the number of questions you ask your child. Children speak more freely if they are expressing their own ideas rather than answering an adult's questions. Instead of asking questions, simply comment on what your child has said, thereby letting him know you heard him.
3. Use your facial expressions and other body language to convey to your child that you are listening to the content of her message and not to how she's talking.
4. Set aside a few minutes at a regular time each day when you can give your undivided attention to your child. During this time, let the child choose what he would like to do. Let him direct you in activities and decide himself whether to talk or not. When you talk during this special time, use slow, calm, and relaxed speech, with plenty of pauses. This quiet, calm time can be a confidence-builder for younger children, letting them know that a parent enjoys their company. As the child gets older, it can be a time when the child feels comfortable talking about his feelings and experiences with a parent.
5. Help all members of the family learn to take turns talking and listening. Children, especially those who stutter, find it much easier to talk when there are few interruptions and they have the listeners' attention.
6. Observe the way you interact with your child. Try to increase those times that give your child the message that you are listening to her and she has plenty of time to talk. Try to decrease criticisms, rapid speech patterns, interruptions, and questions.
7. Above all, convey that you accept your child as he is. The most powerful force will be your support of him, whether he stutters or not.
Those who stutter need to relax and not let people rush them. Others can take the extra time needed to complete a transaction at the store, give you time to speak with more people in the house, and to be respectful to you. Remember that it is easier to speak in a slow, relaxed manner and just glide on through the stuttering rather than trying not to stutter. The more you try not to stutter, the more you will!