1. Listen attentively when the child has something to say. Don't interrupt or say words for the child.
2. Find some time during the day when talking can be fun and the speech is not on display. This can be accomplished by reading to your child, saying nursery rhymes, singing songs and playing word games. Try to model easy, relaxed speech during these speech activities.
3. Try to avoid competition to speak among family members. No one should interrupt anyone else. Provide a time or turn for everyone to say what they want no matter how long it takes them to say it.
4. Recognize that the child will tend to stutter more when he/she is:
* talking to strangers
* asked to tell an adult something
* talking to an impatient listener
5. Avoid suggesting that your child "slow down" or "think about what you want to say" as he/she is talking. These statements are not helpful and only draw negative attention to the way in which your child is talking. Listen to what he/she is saying not how it is being said. Confirm that you heard what the child said by rephrasing the message and repeating it to them. For example, the child says, "I I I I I'm going to p-p-p-put this over here ". The parent can say in a slow , easy way, "yes, that's a good idea, why don't you put that over there with the other toys".
6. The best thing parents can do to help their child become more fluent is to model a slow, easy, relaxed speaking style with short simple phrases. Young children usually attend to the way people are talking to them so pay attention to how you are talking to your child and the atmosphere that is created during the conversation. Having a home environment in which open, caring communication goes on between you and your child is very important. Talk with your child about your concerns. Don't assume that they are too young to understand. . . they know a lot! Even if the child cannot express directly what he/she is needing, your concern will have been communicated.
7. It's OK to talk to your child about how they talk if it is done in a non threatening manner. Be honest with your child and let them know that you know it's hard to say things sometimes. Everyone makes mistakes and it's OK if we make mistakes in the way we talk.