Take every opportunity to engage in conversation with your child.
While hearing your child try to pronounce spaghetti may be too charming to correct, having to act as translator to other adults or children can get old fast. If you can’t even understand your child, it means an even more frustrating world for him. Help your little communicator get understood by the world with exercises to get him enunciating.
1Read picture books aloud to your preschooler. This will help her to hear how the sounds are supposed to be pronounced. When you read, sound out the words clearly and distinctly. Have fun with it. Do different voices and read like your favorite audio book narrator. Move your lips and teeth enough that your child will want to model your behavior when she talks. Ask her what her favorite part of the book was and then have her repeat the sentences after you.
2Talk in rhyme, read in rhyme and sing in rhyme, all the time. While it might start to drive you crazy, you sure won’t be lazy, because rhyming all the time is hard work. Rhyming will bring attention to the small differences in words that sound alike. Your child will want to play along. Even if his rhymes are nonsensical words, when he tries to rhyme he will need to enunciate to join the game.
3Talk about things that use the sounds that don’t come easy to your preschooler. At this age, she may not be able to decipher how her pronunciation is different from yours, but with time, she can begin to model what she hears you saying. So if she can’t say “sports” or “spelling” or “special” because the ‘sp’ sound is hard, find reasons to talk a lot about “space” or “spoons” or “sponges” casually, as a part of conversation. Chances are, after a while, she’ll even say “spaghetti” correctly.
- Mention to your physician the enunciation problem to rule out any hearing disorders, ear infections or physical lisps. Early intervention for speech therapy candidates have a greater chance of success.