S-S-Stuttering by Christi McGuire

Portrait of Little Confused Girl


Q: My 4-year-old stutters. What should I do?

A: Children between the ages of 2 and 5 often struggle with stuttering because their brains think faster than their language skills allow. According to the National Stuttering Association, the majority of children who stutter stop doing so within a year after its onset. If your child stutters, encourage him in the following ways:

  • Downplay it. Don’t draw attention to his stuttering; instead, let him know you are interested in what he is saying. Give your child extra time to communicate what he wants to say. Don’t frustrate him more by demanding he “hurry up.”
  • Show support. Your facial expressions and body language are as important as what you say to your child. Be patient with him.
  • Slow down. Be a good role model by talking more slowly and enunciating your words.
  • Ask only one question. Allow your child to think about and respond to one question at a time. Answering multiple questions all at once can jumble his thoughts and speech.

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons. Click on photo for source.


  1. So far, we’ve had 3 of our children go through this stage. What is odd is only our boys went through the stutters at a median age of 4. Using the parenting techniques above works the best. Also, I’ve discovered by making physical contact (like touching their shoulder or gently holding onto their hand) when they begin to stutter, reduces the length of stuttering time.

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