What to do about lisps?
A lisp is a lay term that describes the way a child mispronounces words. Typically it refers to the s sound being produced like a th sound.
If your child has a lisp and he is only 6, then don't worry at this stage. This happens with many children and most will outgrow it by 7 years of age with no intervention at all. If your child is 7 and still has a lisp then you might consider getting some advice from a speech therapist.
Tips that I can recommend in the meantime would be:
- Try not to talk about the lisp too much, as this can affect his self esteem.
- Make sure they can breathe properly through their noses and not breathing through their mouths, this will allow the tongue to lie flat and not protrude out.
- Keep your child's fingers out of his mouth as much as possible, since thumb-sucking can contribute to a lisp. This is not an easy task, but any distraction might help!
- Pop a straw in his drinks; since you're using your lips instead of putting pressure on your teeth, this kind of sucking motion promotes good oral-motor strength, which is so important in language development.
- Have your child blow into something with a small round mouthpiece. This is a good exercise because the effort needed to make a solid sound also strengthens the lips and cheek muscles, and tends to push the tongue back in. Blowing bubbles is another option.
- Have your child look in a mirror and practice putting his teeth together while he makes an s sound. This exercise can help him remember to keep his tongue behind his teeth.