80% of young children will repeat sounds or words. This is quite normal, and usually goes away on its own. Young children are just learning language. They may repeat sounds or words, pause, back up and hold onto sounds. They may not be able to get the right words in the right order. Their mouth may have trouble keeping up with all the new words they have learned. They may talk too fast, and “trip over” words.
You may also notice that the repetitions come and go. It may be more noticeable when your child:
- Is emotional – excited, sad, mad, nervous or tired.
- Has encountered a major life change, such as a new baby or new home.
- Has too much information to share all at once.
- Feels he has to rush to be heard in a busy household.
As a parent, the key is to prevent your child from learning to fear talking or to feel anxious about making a talking mistake. Rather than focusing on the repetitions, try to:
- Slow down your own speech. Keep it simple.
- Patiently listen to your child and help him feel there is no need to rush.
- Focus on what your child is trying to tell you, rather than how he is saying it.
- Let your child know that you like his ideas and stories!
Need more information about stuttering or speech development? Be sure to contact your local public health nurse.