Svetlana Atenzon 6 min read

How to help your grandchild with speaking difficulties

Does your grandchild need speech therapy for kids? Advice for grandparents who notice their grandchild struggling with speaking difficulties..

How to help your grandchild with speaking difficulties

We often have grandparents who reach out to us concerned about their grandchild who is struggling with speaking difficulties. . If you’ve noticed your grandchild finding it difficult to form words and express their thoughts, dealing with a speech delay, or trying to communicate with a stutter, you’ve come to the right place!


How do I know if my grandchild needs help?

Every child learns to speak at their own pace. Here are some milestones to help determine if there might be a problem, like a speech delay, in your grandchild’s speech development. Speech language pathologists use these milestones and similar guidelines to determine if further testing, or online speech therapy for kids struggling with speaking difficulties , may be recommended.

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By the end of 6 months, your grandchild should:

  • Smile at you
  • Make cooing sounds
  • Make different crying sounds for different needs

By the end of 12 months, your grandchild should:

  • Giggle and laugh
  • Use their voice to show pleasure/displeasure
  • Look in the direction of sounds

By the end of 18 months, your grandchild should:

  • Attempt to imitate speech sounds
  • Begin saying everyday words including, but not limited to, “mama,” “dada,” “doggie,” “baby,” and “go”
  • Look when you point

By the end of 24 months, your grandchild should:

  • Use P, B, M, H, and W in words
  • Respond to simple questions, like “where is your hat?” or “who is that?”
  • Name pictures in books, or point to them when you name what is in the picture

By their 3rd birthday, your grandchild should:

  • Use K, G, F, T, D, and N in words
  • Ask “why?” and put 3 words together to talk
  • Say about 50 or more words, and be understood by others about 50% or more

By their 4th birthday, your grandchild should:

  • Answer simple “WH” questions, like who, what, and where
  • Understand words for family, like brother, grandmother, and aunt
  • Talk about what happened during the day, and use about 4 sentences at a time

By their 5th birthday, your grandchild should:

  • Understand words for order, like first, next, and last
  • Follow longer sentences
  • Be understood by others almost all the time
Speech therapy for child and adult

How do I approach my grandchild’s parents about speech problems or online speech therapy for kids?

How do I approach my grandchild’s parents about speech problems or online speech therapy for kids?

We know that starting a conversation about your grandchild’s potential speech struggles may be difficult. Here are some tips to help you have a positive, affirming conversation with your grandchild’s parents:

  1. Ask questions. Many times, you can lead someone to a realization by asking them to think it through from a different perspective. The best conversations happen when each party tries to understand the other person’s perspective. Here are some potential conversation starters.
    1. “Have you noticed that Tommy tends to point more than ask for things?”
    2. “Do others have trouble understanding Shayna? I was in a store the other day and noticed a child about her age and they seem to be saying more words; what are your thoughts about her speech progression?”
    3. “I asked Naveen a question the other day, and I noticed that he seems to have trouble saying certain words; have you noticed this?”
    4. “Alexis saw a dog today and seemed excited, but had trouble saying ‘dog;’ have you noticed other words she is having trouble saying?”
  2. If they don’t seem to be interested, move to another topic, but perhaps leave a small nugget at the end of the conversation.
    1. ‘I was doing some research on speech delay the other day and wanted to share some resources I found, for you to read whenever you have time.”
    2. “I just texted you a website that has helpful milestones for toddler speaking goals; I was wondering where you think Ivana falls on the chart.”
    3. “Have you thought about getting a speech consultation for Jamal? He seems to be struggling to form words when we’re having a conversation and I just wanted to mention it to you.”
  3. Keep the conversation positive. Affirm their efforts and call out all the good they’ve done. You know how tough parenting is! Be firm in your point of view, while staying mindful that being too insistent could be considered as being critical about their parenting. It’s best to keep the focus on a mutual desire, i.e. the health and wellbeing of their child. If you have a disagreement, bring the conversation back to the fact that you’re both trying to help your grandchild as best you can.
    1. “Liam is really starting to want to talk, are there ways you would like me to talk with him to help him with his language? I did some looking online about some good words to try, may I share that with you?”
    2. “Emma has been sharing with me some new words you are teaching her, that’s awesome! When you share a new word with her, are you finding that she picks them up quickly and starts saying them? I’m wondering if there are ways we can help.”
    3. “You are so patient with Aaliyah when she is trying to say something around her stutter. Do you think a speech therapist could help her more with that?”
    4. “It’s hard sometimes for me to not want to help Mateo say something and to let him figure out the word. Do you find he is struggling a bit?”
  4. Let the facts lead. Share facts and research that you’ve done around this issue. Offer to send them websites or resources you’ve found that have helped you better understand this issue.
    1. “I read that an average 3-year-old can be understood by strangers 75% of the time.”
    2. “I was looking something up and discovered /found this chart that shows which consonant sounds kids should be able to say by a certain age.”
    3. “Do you think we should be concerned? I read that between 20-30% of late talkers do not grow out of their language delay and will need speech therapy to help catch up.”
  5. Share Better Speech resources. Our website has lots of resources to help children struggling with speech difficulties. Here are some of our most popular resources:
    1. Our free ebook with 3 tips to easily improve speech. Download it today and share it during this conversation!
    2. The Better Speech Blog. If your grandchild’s parents prefer to do their own research and look into speech issues on their own, share Better Speech’s website ( or blog, or other sites you’ve found to help.
    3. Online Quiz. We’ve created a quiz that helps parents determine if their toddler needs online speech therapy for kids. Click here to access the quiz and share it with your grandchild’s parents.

How can I help my grandchild struggling with speaking difficulties ?

How can I help my grandchild?

We have many articles on our blog detailing ways to help children struggling with speaking difficulties . Check out these articles for more resources:

If your grandchild’s parents agree, consulting a speech-language pathologist may be a good idea. Online speech therapy for kids is a great convenient option for busy parents. Schedule a free consultation for online speech therapy for kids struggling with speaking difficulties one of our dedicated speech-language pathologists today!