People often ask me what to do if their child mumbles. So, here are my best tips:
- 1st ask yourself why he/she is mumbling. Is it confidence, a structural problem (e.g. restrictive frenulum/ tongue tie, or an orthodontic issue), talking too fast, too soft, or just not opening their mouth enough?
If it is a confidence issue:
1. Seek professional support if you think the root of the problem is significant.
2. If you think it could be a typical childhood stage, then praise, praise, praise when he is presenting himself well, or exhibiting any positive behavior such as sharing, helping, or offering a good idea.
3. Use activities that your child excels at to build and reinforce confident behaviors so that he/she can generalize to other areas and contexts.
4. Make sure that a sibling or peer is not contributing to low self esteem .
Other suggestions for mumbling problem:
- Video tape your child, and play it back for your child to self- evaluate. Gently offer your input as well.
- Target one behavior at a time to improve, such as, rate, loudness, eye contact, or facial expression.
- Offer only positive comments when they are implementing the behavior, while ignoring persistent use of unwanted behaviors.
- For younger children, practice story retelling after reading books to work on self expression. Set up the task for success by allowing any version of the story to be right. Praise for storytelling and speech behaviors.
- Have your child practice a school presentation with the family, and/or use of videotape, or audio tape for feedback.
- Validate what your child is saying on a daily basis, so that he will put value on what he has to say.
- Be patient- it may take several months to see improvement.
Let me know how you are doing!