Babytalk: When does it go away?

Published 28 January 10 07:35 PM | RebeccaL
The other day I was talking with my friend when she asked me "when is the 'L' sound going to come? Are my kids ever going to be able to say Lion?". This was a very good question. Different sounds come in or develop at different ages. 'L' is one of the latest sounds to develop and can come as late as 6 years old. Some children are able to say their 'L's and even 'R's at a very young age, but other children take longer to develop these sounds so it is o.k. if a 4 year old still calls a lake the "Yake" for example.

Even though it's natural for children who are 4 and 5 to have some articulation errors, it is essential for them to hear the correct way that they should be pronouncing words. The important thing to keep in mind is NOT to imitate your child or speak the way s/he speaks...as tempting as it is to do. For example if your child wants his/her "Wed" ball, you say ok here is your "Red ball" and if you're going to see the "Yions" at the zoo please tell your child the "Lions" will be there. Otherwise your child may actually think s/he is saying the word correctly because that's how mommy or daddy say it and then continue to say the word wrong. By hearing the correct way to say words, as sounds develop at a natural rate, your child will begin to say words correctly.

If by about 6 years old you are still noticing many errors, and/or have difficulty understanding your child you may want to consult with the school's Speech Therapist to see if there is an articulation delay.

In the meantime if your 3 year old asks for a wed yayipop, don't stress over the fact s/he's not saying it right and enjoy a lollipop with your child while s/he is still talking to you because the terrible teens years will come along before you know it!
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