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Help! My child can't pronounce the R. What should I do?

I often receive messages from worried parents "My child is 5 years old and can't pronounce the R yet, is this normal?". Therefore I would like to dedicate this blog to all (worried) parents. It is not always easy to know what is and what is not in time when we look at the speech of our children.

From the age of 2

From the age of 2, a child can properly make out the P, T, K, S, G, M, N, J and H at the beginning of a word. The child is then 50% understandable. Babbling decreases and children speak in two-word expressions (pop weg, koek hebbe).

From the age of 3

From this age, the child is 75% comprehensible and makes the first consonant connections, also called clusters. He can also make the B, D, F, L and R at the beginning of a word. Think of toel instead of stoel. The number of words in an utterance also increases: sentences of 3 to 5 words.

From the age of 4 onwards

From the age of 4 onwards, there is an expansion of consonants and compounds. The L, R, SCH, FL, KN, ZW can still be difficult. The child now makes sentences of 6 words and more and can be understood by strangers.

From the age of 5

From the age of 5, the R, SCH can still be difficult. However, the advice is to start speech therapy if the child is still not able to pronounce these sounds at the age of 5. Many children turn the R into an L. The child makes compound sentences with conjunctions such as "because". If a child is still hoarse at the age of 6, speech therapy is recommended.


Of course it is also possible that your child is a late talker because he is shy and/or insecure. So it does not necessarily mean that there is a speech disorder. Listening to your intuition as a parent is also important.

What does the speech therapist do?

The speech therapist does research using standardized tests and decides whether speech therapy is advisable. During the treatment, your child will learn sounds in a playful manner and will be given exercises to do at home. After a while, the speech therapist will examine your child again to see if he or she is using all the sounds appropriate for his or her age.

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