How to stop your child mumbling

October 21, 2022

“What was that?” “What did you say?” “WHAT???”. Ring a bell? We all want our children to
have a rich vocabulary and a good grasp of grammar, but frequently speech-related issues in
kids will be less related to what they know, and more linked to how they speak. Speech
issues are diverse and range in their severity, from a lack of confidence in public speaking all
the way to aphasia and other neurodevelopmental issues. In this article we will cover
perhaps a less serious issue, but one common enough to be a typical complain for a parent:
mumbling. So here are some top parenting tips to turn your mumbler in to a seasoned
orator.


       1) Make your child aware of their mumbling
Mumbling can mean a number of things. Is your kid slurring their words, leaving words out,
or talking too quietly for you to understand? Once you have identified which category their
speech falls into, gently make them aware of it. Perhaps you could play a game where you
both read out different sentences, some fluently, some mumbling. The more your child can
recognise their own speech patterns, the faster they can practise self-correction.


       2) Get your child practising clear speech
As soon as your child has become aware of the distinction between clear and mumbled
speech, work on their weak spots. Maybe there are certain sound combinations they
struggle with, or there is a limit to the number of syllables they can manage. Whatever it is,
practice makes perfect!


       3) Create a cue
Behavioural psychology teaches us about the importance of associations and cue. So, agree
on something you can do which will alert the child to their mumbling. This should preferably
be transferable to other authority figures in their life, like a teacher or a nanny. It could be
as simple as rubbing your ear.


Caution though: the cue can’t be too basic, i.e. it shouldn’t be something you do without
noticing. So don’t use twiddling your hair if that is one of your habits already. That will only
serve to confuse your child further. Note also that your child may not pick up on the cue
immediately, so you may have to reinforce it with some words, like “hey look, I’m doing the
cue again!”. In time you won’t have to say anything.


       4) Be patient
When we feel under pressure or angry, our eloquence goes out the window. It is the same
for children. If your kid is a chronic mumbler, perhaps limit the cue to a couple times a day,
and the slowly build up its frequency. Or perhaps begin only in the home, and then a week
later in the park, then outside school, and so on. The last thing you want is for your little one
to become frustrated and self-critical. This will only lead to low self-esteem and more
speech issues.

How to stop your child mumbling

October 21, 2022

“What was that?” “What did you say?” “WHAT???”. Ring a bell? We all want our children to
have a rich vocabulary and a good grasp of grammar, but frequently speech-related issues in
kids will be less related to what they know, and more linked to how they speak. Speech
issues are diverse and range in their severity, from a lack of confidence in public speaking all
the way to aphasia and other neurodevelopmental issues. In this article we will cover
perhaps a less serious issue, but one common enough to be a typical complain for a parent:
mumbling. So here are some top parenting tips to turn your mumbler in to a seasoned
orator.


       1) Make your child aware of their mumbling
Mumbling can mean a number of things. Is your kid slurring their words, leaving words out,
or talking too quietly for you to understand? Once you have identified which category their
speech falls into, gently make them aware of it. Perhaps you could play a game where you
both read out different sentences, some fluently, some mumbling. The more your child can
recognise their own speech patterns, the faster they can practise self-correction.


       2) Get your child practising clear speech
As soon as your child has become aware of the distinction between clear and mumbled
speech, work on their weak spots. Maybe there are certain sound combinations they
struggle with, or there is a limit to the number of syllables they can manage. Whatever it is,
practice makes perfect!


       3) Create a cue
Behavioural psychology teaches us about the importance of associations and cue. So, agree
on something you can do which will alert the child to their mumbling. This should preferably
be transferable to other authority figures in their life, like a teacher or a nanny. It could be
as simple as rubbing your ear.


Caution though: the cue can’t be too basic, i.e. it shouldn’t be something you do without
noticing. So don’t use twiddling your hair if that is one of your habits already. That will only
serve to confuse your child further. Note also that your child may not pick up on the cue
immediately, so you may have to reinforce it with some words, like “hey look, I’m doing the
cue again!”. In time you won’t have to say anything.


       4) Be patient
When we feel under pressure or angry, our eloquence goes out the window. It is the same
for children. If your kid is a chronic mumbler, perhaps limit the cue to a couple times a day,
and the slowly build up its frequency. Or perhaps begin only in the home, and then a week
later in the park, then outside school, and so on. The last thing you want is for your little one
to become frustrated and self-critical. This will only lead to low self-esteem and more
speech issues.

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