|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Stuttering Four-Year-Old

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Henry Bernstein, M.D.

Q: My four-year-old stutters. Should I be concerned?

A: You need not be alarmed at this time. Most children who begin stuttering before five years of age will outgrow it. Your daughter is still discovering how to compose sentences of varying length and complexity and how to coordinate her muscles of speech.

Stuttering is a stage in speech development characterized by disruptions in flow. Typically, it first appears in children between the ages of two and five, when a child is learning how to talk. The precise cause of stuttering is not known. Boys are more likely to stutter than girls . The incidence of stuttering declines when children start elementary school. At this time, children refine their communication skills and become more fluent.

While there is no cure, there are several ways to reduce episodes of stuttering. A relaxed home environment is crucial because stress may worsen stuttering. Try to make talking fun and minimize distractions like television, radio, or the computer. It's helpful to talk slowly and clearly to your child. This way, she will develop fluency by imitating your speech. Listen closely to your daughter and avoid criticizing or correcting her speech because anxiety only aggravates the problem. Give her an equal chance to speak ("take turns") when everyone is chatting at mealtimes, for example. Finally, feel free to talk openly about her stuttering if she brings it up. While her stuttering should subside as her speech and language skills develop, these steps will further guide her in the right direction.

You and her father should not blame yourselves. You did not cause your daughter's stuttering, but you can play a big role in dealing with it. If her stuttering seems excessive, talk with her doctor, who can refer you to a speech and language pathologist, if necessary.

Hank Bernstein
Children's Hospital

More on: Expert Advice

Henry Bernstein, M.D., is currently the associate chief of the Division of General Pediatrics and director of Primary Care at Children's Hospital, Boston. He also has an academic appointment at Harvard Medical School.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

highlights

Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks