Articulation is a word that refers to the way you position your lips and tongue against your teeth and the roof of your mouth to make various sounds that flow together as words. An articulation disorder is defined as a speech disorder involving difficulties in articulating specific types of sounds. Articulation disorders often involve the substitution of one sound for another, slurring of speech, or unclear speech. While most children make mistakes as they learn new words, it is classified as a “disorder” when the mistakes continue past a certain age. The most common mispronounced sounds are /s/, /r/, /l/, /ch/, /sh/, and /th/. If your child is still making these mistakes after age 7, you may want to seek out professional help from a certified speech-language pathologist (SLP).
Children may have a hard time producing it correctly, especially the unvoiced TH sound. If your child is having trouble with this sound, don’t worry! There are plenty of fun activities you can do to help them practice. Read more!
What is the age at which children master the /th/ sound?
The sound is one of the most difficult speech sounds to master. There is a lot of variation when children master the it. Some children will have no trouble producing the sound correctly by age 3 or 4, while others may still be working on it at age 5 or 6. If your child is still struggling with the sound by age 7 or 8, you may want to consult a speech-language pathologist to see if there are any underlying issues.
Why is it difficult to produce the TH sound?
There are a few reasons why it can be difficult to produce. First of all, the position of your tongue is very important when making this sound. For the voiced and unvoiced TH sound, your tongue should be between your teeth and you should use light contact to make the sound. The only difference is that your vocal cords should vibrate for the voiced TH sound. This can be tricky for children to coordinate!
Second, the TH sound is made by exhaling a small amount of air through your mouth. This can also be tricky for children, who may have a tendency to either blow too hard or not hard enough.
However, you do not need to worry! With a little bit of practice, your child will be producing the TH sound like a pro in no time.
There are two sounds of TH: Voiced and Unvoiced
The /th/ sound can be either voiced or unvoiced. This means that your vocal cords can either vibrate or not vibrate when you make the sound. The word “this” uses the voiced TH sound, while the word “thanks” uses the unvoiced TH sound.
If your child is having trouble producing the TH sound, it is important to first determine whether they are having difficulty with the voiced or unvoiced sound. You can do this by placing your hand on their throat as they make the sound. If you feel a vibration, then they are using the correct muscles and are producing the voiced TH sound. If you do not feel a vibration, then they are probably producing the unvoiced TH sound.
Examples of words with TH sounds (voiced):
the, them, they, then, there, these, this, clothes
Examples of words with TH sounds (unvoiced):
think, thank, thin, with, both, math
It is important for children to learn the difference between the voiced and unvoiced TH sound, as they are both used frequently in speech. Voiced TH sounds are usually found at the beginning of words, while unvoiced TH sounds are usually found in the middle or at the end of words.
Let’s Talk about how to teach your child to produce the TH sound
There are a few different ways that you can help your child practice the TH sound. One way is to have them hold a straw in their mouth and blow through it to make the sound. This will help them get a feel for the correct position of their tongue and the amount of air needed to produce the sound.
Another way is to have them place their finger on their throat as they make it. This will help them feel whether or not they are using the correct muscles.
You can also practice words with TH sounds in them. Start with simple words with TH sound such as “three” or “bath” and then move on to more difficult words such as “theory” or “earth”. As your child gets better at producing the sound, you can increase the difficulty of the words.
Here are some fun activities to help your child practice the TH sound
Not gonna lie, practicing new sounds can be pretty boring for kids. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here are a few fun games and activities that you can do to help your child practice it!
1. Blowing bubbles
Have your child blow bubbles through a straw. This will help them get a feel for the correct position of their tongue and the amount of air needed to produce the sound. However, it is important to emphasize the sound you are working on while doing this activity. Introduce words with TH sounds such as “bath”, “thirsty”, or “clothes” and have them repeat the word as they blow the bubbles.
2. Pop the balloon
Have your child hold a balloon in their mouth and pop it by exhaling a small amount of air through their teeth with their tongue in between their teeth. This will help them get a feel for the correct position of their tongue and the amount of air needed to produce the sound. If they get the hang out of it, introduce words with the TH sound such as “teeth”, “thorn”, or “thick” and have them repeat the word as they pop the balloon.
3. Tongue twisters
Tongue twisters are a great way to help your child practice it. Some examples of tongue twisters with TH sounds are “The thirsty crocodile drank some water” and “Thin threads take three threads to make a thicker thread”.
Reading is a great way to help your child practice the TH sound. Children who know how to read can benefit from reading books to practice their sounds. Look for books with words that have the TH sound such as “The Cat in the Hat” or “Thomas the Tank Engine”. This is a good activity for your child to be aware of how the sound is used in different words and contexts.
Have your child write sentences with words that have the TH sound such as “The cat is drinking milk” or “I think that it is time for a bath”. It is a way for them to think of words that have the sound and how to use them in a sentence. This is also a good way for you to see if your child is able to use the sound correctly in words.
With a little bit of practice, your child will be producing it like a pro in no time! If you need any help, please feel free to contact us. We would be more than happy to help you and your child out!