Was commenting that there are things you don’t have to teach kids. First, you don’t have to teach little boys how to make car sounds. “Vrrrooom! Screeeech!” Then I note you don’t have to teach little girls how to mother — my daughter will talk her furry stuffed friends into slumber, obedience, and the best manners imaginable. And I note you don’t have to teach anyone how to say “ummm”. Kids (and adults!) will start most direct questions to them with a big fat “Ummmm…” It’s just a pause, and it’s just as disruptive to children’s speech as it is to adults.Ums, ahs, you knows, I means, sos, buts, ands, basicallys, actuallys, reallys, and restarts are all poor substitutes for a pause and good pacing. When you can’t get started saying something, saying nothing is the best option. But somewhere along the way we develop patterns and habits, and they’re hard to break. My first speech coach/communications trainer taped me and I had 19 ums in a 90-second introduction. Through simple training — really simple — I now have only a few a week. I’ve seen similar results with folks who simply take the time to learn what they’re doing, become aware of it, and are taught simple ways to deal with it (simplest of all — just pause). Like any habit, it can be unlearned with instruction, repetition, and hard work.

Get help to become of aware of your non-words and correctly practice good pauses.

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