‘f’ is a long blowy sound. It typically develops between 2 – 3 years of age but it is also normal for children to stop airflow sounds like ‘f’ until the age of 3 and a half. For example, a child may say “bun” for fun.
You can help your child to say the ‘f’ sound by trying the following strategies:
- use a mirror and model the correct placement – encourage them to put their top teeth on their bottom lip and gently blow the air out
- if your child is unable to say the ‘f’ sound, focus on modelling and repeating words containing ‘f’ (e.g. four, fun, off)
- give lots of specific praise for trying the sound – e.g. ‘fantastic ‘f’ sound’, ‘you said ‘f’ correctly with air coming out”.
Activity ideas for practicing ‘f’
- find objects around the house that have the ‘f’ sound e.g. four, five, feet, fan, face, fish
- read touch and feel books and model words such as feel, furry and fuzzy
- play with farm animals – count them, put the animals in and out of the farm
Once your child can say the ‘f’ sound, you can encourage them to turn their voice on and make it a buzzy sound to produce ‘v’. Please note that ‘v’ is developing around 4 years of age.
It will take time and practice for children to develop their speech sounds. Children may be able to say a sound on its own but will take time to put it into words. Longer words will be trickier. It will take time and practice to be able to say their new sound in everyday conversation.
Some words are more complex because they have harder sounds, multiple sounds or different combinations of sounds.