A Stammering Parent’s Worst Nightmare: Bedtime Stories!

It’s almost every stammering parent’s worst nightmare; reading your child a bedtime story, when you seem to be more proactive in finding alternative words to read the story aloud, without stammering in front of your child.

It is a scary thought and the one thing that’s going to be overpowering your imagination is the fear of stammering. It’s that fear that often causes people to trip over certain words.

Reading the Hungry Caterpillar and reaching the stage where you have a list of foods to read out. Try altering those words and you will find yourself freezing on the spot.

The only real way to manage your stammer in this type of situation is to take things slow.

One step at a time

If you feel your stammer is consistent when you’re reading bedtime stories, practice it during the day, when your child is taking their afternoon nap.

Memorise the story so you don’t need to be reading, looking at pictures, and thinking of alternatives. Get the story right in your head and continue practicing speaking the story aloud, while you’re doing other things.

Running the vacuum around the home, speak the story aloud. Preparing and cooking meals… speak the story aloud.

Continue practicing with a variety of words, and do not stick to the ones you know you are good at.

Understand your stammer

It is a part of you so there’s no point in hiding from it. Acknowledge it, and let go of the fear that’s empowering your problems with speech.

What keeps the stammer coming through in your speech is fear. Call it anxiety if you want, but at the end of the day, it is the fear of stammering on certain words that will eventually trip you up because you’re subliminally aware of the mental barrier, which will cause it to stumble through when you speak the word aloud.

It is possible to achieve fluency, but it isn’t going to happen if you hold yourself back by preventing yourself practicing the words, and letters that you know yourself are your problem ones.


The majority of people that have a stammer have certain letters they have problems with, and each person will have their own coping strategies.

It takes you to understand your triggers, and they will be unique to you. Once you understand your triggers, you can then tailor your practice speech sessions around the areas where you want to improve your speech.

It can be a long road to fluency, but it’s much faster when you break the process down into bite size chunks. Take one problem at a time and deal with that.

Children do pick up on habits, but there is no reason to believe that if you stammer when you speak to your child that they’ll stammer too. It might be that you can improve your speech, and control the stammer and yet your child can pick it up anyway.

There is no known cause for stammering. If it is something that you are afraid you’ll pass down to your child, then put the practice in when they aren’t around, or off for an afternoon nap and improve your own speech through various challenging exercises, until you reach a point of speech fluency without stammering on your known triggers.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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