Clear speech: 3 tips to help your child say the ‘f’ sound

Do you have a child who can’t say the ‘f’ sound?

Perhaps they say ‘pish’ for ‘fish’ or ‘cottee’ for ‘coffee’. These mistakes can definitely sound cute when they’re young however once your child gets to a certain age they need to be able to say these words correctly. If you let your child say words the wrong way for too long it can make the mistakes harder to fix. And if you leave it until they start school, your child is very likely to have trouble learning to read and spell. And we know you don’t want that for them so keep reading for 3 tips on helping your child say the ‘f’ sound correctly. 

So when is the right time to try to fix the ‘f’ sound?

The answer is once your child is older than 3 years of age. If your child isn’t 3 years old yet don’t try to fix it. They won’t be ready and it’ll just end in frustration for both you and them. But if your child is older than 3 then now is the time to work on getting it right. There are many ways to teach children to say sounds correctly and here are 3 of our top tips for the ‘f’ sound:

Show them how to say it

The first tip in teaching your child to say the ‘f’ sound is to get down on their level and show them how to say the sound. Say just the sound itself and be right in front of them. Don’t try it in words like ‘fish’. That’ll be too tricky for them, they won’t succeed and they’ll either get frustrated or not want to try again. Ask them to copy you and see how they go.

Explain to them how to say it

Some simple instructions on how to say the ‘f’ sound can be really helpful for your child. Now, different instructions work for different children so be prepared to try a few ways. You could tell them to “bite your lip and blow” or “make a rabbit face and blow”. If one work, stick with it! 

Use a mirror for visual feedback

Your child will really benefit from seeing what they’re doing with their mouth so use a mirror. If you’ve got a mirror on your wardrobe just sit on the floor in front of it or head to the bathroom and use the mirror there. Just make sure they can see themselves. You may need a small step. You make the sound and see if they can copy your mouth movements to make the sound too. Give them the instructions on how to make the sound at the same time. 

Please be aware the above does not replace professional advice. If you’re worried about your child’s speech please contact a Speech Pathologist. Click here to send our Speech Pathologists a message today.