There are several things parents can do at home to help facilitate fluent speech. Below is a list of simple techniques you can try to help support your child who stutters.
Take it slow...have fun...and happy talking!!!!
1. Listen Attentively: For persons who stutter, when they feel they are not being listened to or that what they have to say, needs to "fit" in their communication partners timeframe, a sense of anxiety builds. The race is on to get those words out as quickly as possible. The problem with that is the faster a person who stutters tries to talk the more dysflent they tend to become. So listen attentively to your child and give him/her as much time as needed to get their messge across.
2. Quiet time activities: There are times when your household is just to hectic (e.g. in the morning before getting ready for school, or right before dinner just as mom or dad gets home from work) or loud for you to listen attentively to your child. Sometimes there are just too many things you as a parent need to do and cannot give your child your full attention. When that happens, set your child up with "quiet time activities" for him/her to do and remind him/her that you will have time and WANT to listen to that story at a later time(be specific-e.g. "when I am done cleaning the dishes", or "in the car on the way to school" or "at the dinner tabel", etc.).
8. Avoid Open-Ended Questions: Avoid asking your child questions that require long explanations or narratives (e.g. "What did you do in school today?) and stick to simpler more concrete questions (e.g. "What did you enjoy better today, recess or art?" or "What would you like for lunch tomorrow, ham and cheese sandwich or egg salad?"). The more pressure your child feels to create a long narrative to answer questions, the more dysfluencies he/she may exhibit. You want speaking to be successful, positive experience. If complexity of language needs to be reduced to create this positive experience, so be it.
10. Talk openly about stuttering: Reduce the stigma and embarrassment by talking openly and honestly about stuttering. Too many times parents think if they talk about stuttering, it will alert their child to the fact that he/she does stutter and will increase embarrassment. So they tend to avoid the topic completely and act as if nothing is wrong. The problem with that approach is that your child is already aware of their dysfluencies. They know they don't "talk like everybody else" and you NOT addressing it actually increases embarrassment for your child. Your child begins to feel that their dysfluencies are SO disgraceful that you as their parent CAN'T even talk about it. The shame that builds from words unspoken can significantly affect your child's feelings about communication for years to come.
11. Don't expect a performance: As parents we are so proud of all the things our children learn that we sometimes ask them to perform these skills unexpectedly and to people they might otherwise see as strangers. So for the time being, avoid asking your child to perform in this manner and decrease undue stress and anxiety.
12. One on One time: Everyday it is important to set aside some one on one time with your child who stutters (its a great idea for every child but if you can't do it for all at the very least for your at risk child). 15-20 minutes is more than enough undivided attention to devote to your child for the purpose of letting him/her communicate thoughts and feelings without any urgency or pressure of others around him/her. Make sure you do this when your child is NOT overly tired or excited as these are times being fluent is difficult for your child. Pick a special time (maybe right after dinner, etc.) where you can sit down together and talk or be silent. The point of this time is to tell your child you are there for them if they want to talk but there is not pressure to fill the time with noise.
AND FINALLY...MAYBE THE MOST IMPORTANT STRATEGY THE WHOLE FAMILY CAN DO....
13. Make some ground rules: Every family should have some ground rules. For those families with children who stutter a few good rules are:
1. Only one person talks at a time
2. We speak only when that person is finished (hold our thoughts in our heads until it is out turn)
3. No judgments or comments will be made on the way someone said something (meaning, no "jokes" or snide remarks about stuttering)