Parents often want to know what sounds their child should have or be using correctly. Today's post focuses on what your 5 year old should be able to do. If you missed our post about 4 year olds, find it here!
By the time your child is 5 years old, they should be able to make most sounds correctly on their own without help or reminders (with the exception of R sometimes, which we will touch on later). At 5 years old your child should be able to easily produce the following sounds all the time in conversation: all vowel sounds, H, M, B, P, W, F,V, K, G, Y, L, Blends (e..g, two sounds together--SM, GL, etc), S, Z, SH, CH, J and typically, R and R blends (e.g., GR, BR, PR, STR, FR, KR). Most children will start being able to use TH and ZH (e.g., vision; fusion, television) on their own by 5 years old, but technically these sounds aren't mastered until the age of 6.
Now, time to talk about that "R" sound! Children often master their "R"s around 8 years old, so experts call R the "late 8". However, in our experience most children will naturally acquire this sound well before that time and waiting that long (or longer) to get it fixed just makes it harder.
The reason some children easily acquire R on their own and other children do not can depend on a few things. Maybe your child has some low muscle tone through their lips, mouth, tongue and/or jaw (see our article here about fun activities you can do at home to strengthen up your child’s oral musculature). Or if your child needed help acquiring other sounds before R, it is likely they may need help with this tough sound.
Another important marker to think about is how intelligible your child is (i.e., how much can other people understand what your child says). A child of 5 years old should be at least 95% intelligible-- meaning people should understand at least 95% of what your child says, regardless of if the context is known or unknown.