What should your child be able to say and when?

Oh listen to her. Doesn’t she sound cute? She says ‘wuck’ for ‘truck”.

Do you, as a parent, do you often wonder when words move from the ‘cute’ category to the ‘is this normal’ category?

Is it normal for a three year old to struggle with the word ‘truck’?

The answer is yes!

Speech sounds develop at different times in a child’s life.

It can be hard not to compare your child to other kids, but at the age of 3, there are some sounds that kids often can’t say…for example the sound /th/ is not developmentally appropriate until a child is about 7 or 8.

Age at which children should be able to say sounds

The table below outline the sounds that a child typically acquires at a certain age.

Remember that every child develops at different times so use this table as a guide.

If your child sometimes says the sound incorrectly but articulates it correctly at other times, this generally means that the sound is developing.

If your child is at an age where a sound should have been mastered a sound but they are still saying it incorrectly, try not to make them correct the sound in their conversations.

This can frustrate both you and your child and talking then becomes a chore.

Likewise if your 3 years old says ‘wuck’, always concentrate on what your child is saying, instead of how they are saying it.

Rather than making them correct the sound mid-sentence, you can model the sound correctly by responding with, ‘Yes, that’s a truck’.

This will ensure that your child’s confidence is maintained and the importance of what they are saying will not be taken away.

The way children articulate their sounds is super important for the development of later skills like spelling and reading, so if your child is not pronouncing sounds in an age appropriate way, it’s best to get onto it early.

If you have any concerns about your child’s speech or the way they are saying their sounds, please contact a speech pathologist in your area.

Age by which 75% of children used the speech sound listed accurately

3 years

h as in he

zh as in measure

y as in yes

w as in we

ng as in sing

m as in me

n as in no

p as in up

k as in car

t as in to

b as in be

g as in go

d as in do

3 years 6 months

f as in if

4 years

l as in lay

sh as in she

ch as in chew

4 years 6 months

j as in jaw

s as in so

z as in is

5 years

r as in red

6 years

v as in Vegemite

8 years

th as in this

8 years 6 months

th as in thing

Reference: Bowen, C. (1998). Developmental phonological disorders. A practical guide for families and teachers. Melbourne: ACER Press.

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