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  • Lori Melnitsky

Let's talk Stuttering and Holidays

Updated: Jan 5, 2023

By Lori Melnitsky, MA CCC-SLP, Stuttering Specialist

Children can experience increased stuttering during the holidays due to environmental stressors which ultimately affect their stuttering severity. Excitement can cause rushed speech too. Large groups gather and often only a little one to one talking.

Children who stutter can be supported by speech-language pathologists and families so they communicate and enjoy talking.

Hope some of these tips help. As a person who stutters, I would find these tips helpful.

1. Watch over emphasizing the excitement too early:

Watching our children's excitement as they prepare for the holidays is one of the joys of being a parent. Occasionally, though, we get caught up in building their excitement, asking, "Aren't you excited?" “The big day is just 2 weeks away! There will be so much going on. Without realizing it this could cause anxiety. It is not parents’ fault if stuttering increases and often it can’t be helped. Remember that some children have more difficulty talking when they are excited or experience time pressure.

2. A Plan for Enjoying

As the holiday season approaches, it's important to consider how we can help our children find ways to cope with the stress and fun of the holidays. We want to acknowledge their feelings and give them a safe space to express themselves. Reassure them that it's okay to take their time talking.

3. Allow more Time to Respond:

As the holidays approach, many people work to find a balance between preparing for big events and spending special time with family. A great way to accomplish these things is to carve out some quiet time for everyone. If a family member or friend stutters, it can be helpful to allow more time for conversations and activities. Many people who stutter need more time to respond. It is also important to be aware of any potential triggers and keep the environment calm. For example, allow your child to finish speaking.

4. “It’s okay to stutter” approach

It can be hard for a child to feel comfortable stuttering in front of extended family members who may not know them well. The best approach is to listen and establish eye contact.

5. Encourage positive self-talk

When we are feeling stressed, it is natural for our inner dialogue to become negative and self-defeating. When children encounter challenging situations during the holidays, it can be helpful to remind them of their strengths and help them develop a positive inner dialogue. Reminding children that they have the power to be successful at communicating can help build confidence and resilience in challenging conversations.

Happy Holidays

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