Updated: Nov 19, 2019
Many kids have trouble saying R. It can be really difficult because the way the tongue moves for its production is super complex, and it's also difficult to see (unlike seeing the lips come together for sounds like P and M). R can also change depending on other sounds in the word, which is not true for most sounds. No wonder it's so tough! (Don't tell anyone, but it's one of the toughest sounds for SLPs to teach (except for me because I discovered a secret weapon about 5 years ago that has never failed me...insert my evil SLP laugh here...). As tough as it might seem, our kiddos' little mouths are amazing and should actually be producing R at least some of the time by the age of 5! I think, besides a lisp (I'll get to that in a future blog), an R articulation error is the one most identifiable by folks, which probably makes it a lesser impact on intelligibility. Still... None of us want our cutie to be the one that walks into 1st grade and gets made fun of for "baby talk". Yep, that R, she's not that nice. In her absence, we all sound like babies.. or British, but pretty sure your child's kindergarten counterparts aren't familiar with British English. Crumpets and tea anyone?
If you are concerned that your child is not producing their R sound by the time they are headed to 1st grade, you should seek intervention with a qualified speech-language pathologist.