26 answers

Son Repeats Words, Is It a Stutter?

My 2.8yr old son talks a lot and has a wide vocabulary. I have noticed in the past month that he sometimes repeats one of his words in a sentence that he seems to be trying to get out... kind of like a stutter. I've asked my husband if he thinks it's a stutter but he doesn't think so. My son seems to do this when there's a lot of activity around him with his sister or getting ready to get out of the house. I'm going to call our pediatrician but I also wanted to see if any of you had experiences similar with your children who are now a bit older. Thank you!

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Thank you all for the encouraging words. I knew that by sharing on this platform that hearing others stories my mind would calm. I appreciate all of your stories and suggestions! Happy Parenting!

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Hi! My daughter is 3 and went through the same thing a few months ago. It lasted about a month. She is now over it, with an occasional slip up. He will soon outgrow this. Best of luck!

No.
My son went through the same thing and I was so paranoid because he was born very early and was so delayed on many other things.
I even had a meeting with his teacher asking her about it. She said give it time. She was right!
He is 6 and fine now. Just part of learning speech.
Dont worry.

I have a three and half year old daughter who did the same thing around 2 1/2 to 3. I thought the same thing. She had always spoke very well but I was still concerned. The doctor said she was just excited and could speak as quickly as her brain wanted her to. Now she doesn't do it all. I wouldn't worry. Good luck!

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My 5 1/2 year old sometimes has problems getting words out so I had him tested by the local school district when he was 4 1/2. In Houston you can have free testing done during the summer--don't wait for the school year to start. His problem is that he has a very advanced vocabulary for his age. The speech specialist told me to stop what I was doing when he starts to have problems and DON'T try to rush him or finish his sentence for him (even though I can figure it out before he gets it out!) This seems to work great except if I'm in a hurry, which is my problem, not his!!

You can request for a screening by the school district if your pediatrician doesn't help you with this. It was very worth my own comfort to have the screening done on my son.

Good Luck!

Hi, I went through the same with my two sons, my now 4 yr old sometimes still does it, it really occured when they were excited or they tried to say alot of things at once.
ask him to slow down when he talks, the drs. told us that if he only does it at certain times then monitor it and donot make a big deal out of it just to ask him to repeat and say it slower. they said that if we made a big deal ou tof it, that the issue could grow and they would do it more often. It is just the process that they are thinking faster than the words are coming out. Stuttering when it is a speech problem they will continually say it nomatter what the situation around him is and what the word is. It usually is the first few words of a sentence. If your son is saying a word in the middle or something try adn determine what the sound is that he is trying to say, have him say other words that are similar in sound. if he still has the issues with those words just help him with those sounds. You are concerned and you have right to be, but try not to make an issue over it.

My son did this. It's a stammer and completely normal. My ped said sometimes their brain just works faster than their mouths can get the words out. He eventually outgrew it but I don't remember when.

DON"T WORRY! I teach preschool-two yr olds and had a situtation with a child that started to concern me. I did soem research and found that it is normal for older twos/young threes to stutter for awhile. Their brains are developing so fast and their muscles (mouth) can't keep up. Don't be surprised if he starts to walk on his toes a bit too. This alarmed me, but it falls right in place and often times goes together. He will outgrow it soon. I think (this next sentence is my opinion and anecdotal inference) that our kids go thru a phase of physical development followed by mental/cognitive development. So, right now he is in a cognitive stage. Next, you may see him go thru a growth spurt and the stuttering will go away cuz his body/muscles has caught up with his brain.

I have a son the same age (will be 3 Aug 12) and we have been going through the exact same thing. I'm so glad to hear we aren't the only ones! I think that it must be normal! He has a very wide vocab as well but has trouble with pronounciation and gets kind of "stuck." I'd be happy to talk about the similarities if you need to commiserate. Just email me.

Best wishes!

I have a three and half year old daughter who did the same thing around 2 1/2 to 3. I thought the same thing. She had always spoke very well but I was still concerned. The doctor said she was just excited and could speak as quickly as her brain wanted her to. Now she doesn't do it all. I wouldn't worry. Good luck!

Sounds like he is just trying to make sure that he actually said the word he meant to say. I have a tendancy to do the same thing when there is a lot of noise or activity around me, or even when I'm just stressed out or tired. All of those things can interfere with your concentration and break your chain of thought. I wouldn't worry about it too much at his age.

Hey S...... my oldest daughter did the same thing when she was that age , and she has grown out of it. Now I have noticed my second daughter doing it too, so far its only with the word mom...sort of like maamaamaa , and both were when they were excited. I'm not too worried about it yet, I think its something they will grow out of. I think its their little heads are trying to talk faster than their little mouths can get it out. I hope this helps. B.

All three of my children have done this. Especially when a lot is going on or they are distracted. My almost 3 year old does it now occasionally, but it seems to me like she is searching for the right word and sometimes it takes her a second to get it. Even though she has a great vocabulary, at almost 3 she is still learning. My 7 year old stll does it sometimes, mainly when there is a lot of noise or if he is fighting with his sisters and he is upset. Otherwise he has outgrown it. My 14 year old no longer does it at all. Only you can tell how bad it is and if you are worried, call the dr. in order to put your mind at ease. Good luck!

I know this was asked more than 4 years ago...but my 3 year old daughter has started repeating the first word in her sentences. It's kind of annoying and I know I need to be patient with this. She started about 3 weeks ago then after about 2 weeks she got a cold and stopped doing this, she got better from the cold a few days later and started up again with the repeating or stuttering. I'm paranoid but the fact that she did stop I'm thinking is a phase. How long did this last for your child? Any tips? relief? THANK YOU!

I am also a speech therapist and what you are describing is quite normal for his age. You should try not to bring attention to it and don't tell him to slow down. Just try to pay attention to him and let him get his thoughts out. You can also try slowing down your own speech when you notice him doing this - kids seem to model what they are hearing and if you are calm and relaxed, he probably will be, too. You can also make sure that his sister doesn't interrupt him. You can politely ask her to let your son finish what he's saying and then she can talk.

My best advice for parents of preschoolers is not to ignore these behaviors, but not to worry themselves too much about them. It is considered normal development in kids ages 2-4. What you will want to look for is if these behaviors (repetitions) increase or if they just seem to go away. If they do increase and don't go away within about 3-6 months, then you may want to talk to a speech therapist. But for now, don't worry too much about it=)

my now almost 5 yr old went through that, very worrisome but most likely he will get past it! I just got down on his level, had him stop talking, and then think about what he wanted to say and that seemed to work. It didn't last very long, just enough to become annoying :)

Hi-- I am a speech pathologist in the schools and what you are saying is pretty typical. Make sure you give your son lots of time to say what he has to say and dont try to finish his thoughts. Creating a calm environment (which I know is hard to do with 2 kids) will help him. When you guys are all talking try not to have the tv or radio on adding "stress" to his environment. Talk in a slow and relaxed way to him and make sure when everyone is talking there are "turns" so he doesn't feel rushed. Hope that helps!

No.
My son went through the same thing and I was so paranoid because he was born very early and was so delayed on many other things.
I even had a meeting with his teacher asking her about it. She said give it time. She was right!
He is 6 and fine now. Just part of learning speech.
Dont worry.

S.,
I have 8 children and several of them, both girls and boys, did exactly the same thing your son is doing. None of the children have a stutter today. My theory is that their minds are working so much faster than their tongues and they get "stuck" in what they are trying to say. One son would get really frustrated. We told him to just slow down and think about what he was saying. A daughter would laugh at herself (she was 3 1/2yrs)and we would ask her to try again. I don't think you have to worry about it, but be mindful of his feelings about it.
J. R.

I'm a Speech Language Pathologist... so I need some more information about the stutter. Here are a few questions:
1. How many times does he repeat the word?
2. How often does this happen?
3. Does he ever seem to "block" and can't get words out?
4. Are they easy repetitions or are they harsh?

Here is some general information:
1. It is not uncommon for kids to use "Whole Word Repetitions" when their language is expanding drastically. We usually see that ages 2-4.
2. When kids are given a time pressure or are afraid someone might cut-in, then they may be more prone to use normal disfluencies (stutters).

The best thing to do in those moments:
1. Stop what you're doing and give your son your full attention (don't make him stressed to get it out quickly).
2. You can make a good model by using "easy speech" meaning talk a little more slowly and make sure your sounds are very smooth.

If it were me, I would not worry too much right now, but again... let me know what the answers are to the questions above and I may have more information for you.

My oldest son did this and went to speech class for it during first grade. He didn't seem to have the problem before then, or at least not that anyone noticed. (He just finished fifth grade this year and is very intelligent and speaks fine.) He would actually repeat the first several words of a sentence over and over. (It got pretty hard to listen to.) His speech teacher encouraged him to work on "smooth speech." She would have him think about what he was going to say and then trace a horizontal line with his finger as he said the sentence. Sometimes he would smoothly drive a Hot Wheels car in a line as he spoke. The idea was to get him to think first and then speak smoothly.

My son did this too. Can't remember at what age it started and stoped, but he's five now and hasn't done it in a while. He had a great vocabulary and great speach from a pretty early age... I think his brain just moved faster than his mouth could carry out the orders!

a stutter is where he will start a word and then get stalled midword.

The best way to cure either problem is to get him to slow down. just tell him to slow down it gives him time to think.

Sounds like over stimuation.He gets so excited his mouth can't work as fast as he's thinking or trying to talk.If it makes you feel better defintely call your ped.

S.,
This isn't uncommon in this age group. They have so much they want to say they literally have to stop and think about it and sometimes they repeat words or syllables. I have 5 kids and all of my kids have done this around this age and now all of my children speak beautifully.

About two months ago, my almost three year old was doing the very same thing. I was told not to worry about because at that age they're getting stuck while "thinking ahead" of what to say. Sure enough, he's over it. It only lasted about three to four weeks. I'm late on my emails, so your son might be over it by the time I write this. Good luck!!

All three of my girls did this at your son's age. None of them stutter. I was concerned too just like you. But they grew out of it.

Repeating one word in a sentence isn't stuttering. It is common at his age, to exhibit a developmental stutter, so even if it worsens some, I wouldn't stress about it. Make sure you maintain eye contact, let him finish his thoughts and don't interrupt him. If he's having a lot of trouble getting his sentence out, you may gently remind him to slow down.

The time to be worried is if he gets completely stuck on a word and nothing comes out (blocking) or if he repeats a certain syllable over and over (such as win-win-win-win-win-win-win-window). It sounds like your what your son does will pass.

Good luck!

for what it's worth - i have a friend whose son has a MARKED stutter, particularly in "busy" surroundings. though she has been distraught about it, our pediatrician (we go to the same dr.) continues to assure her that it is completely normal for a boy to go through a "stuttering" phase around 2 to 3 years old. she said only if it continues significantly beyond his 4th birthday would they consider speech therapy, etc.

Hi! My daughter is 3 and went through the same thing a few months ago. It lasted about a month. She is now over it, with an occasional slip up. He will soon outgrow this. Best of luck!

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