It is completely normal for a child to repeat words and phrases, and to hesitate with "um"s and "er"s, when they are sorting out what to say next. Around 8% of children - that's one in every 12 children - will experience stammering, particularly between the ages of two and five. These types of stammering behaviours will vary from child to child, can start gradually or very suddenly and may come and go over time.
There’s lots you can do to help. Here are some suggestions which can help to reduce some of the pressure a child may experience when talking.
How you and others respond is important and will shape your child’s perception of themselves. Be measured in your response - try not to show you’re worried even if that’s how you’re feeling. Remain calm and relaxed and try to:
Resist the very strong temptation to show anxiety, impatience or to correct or fill in their speech. Try instead to:
Signs that suggest the stammering may continue and your child would benefit from some help include:
If you are worried or if the stammering is causing you or your child distress, you can ask your doctor or health visitor to refer you to a speech and language therapist for further advice and support.