My son said the other day: ‘Mira mama un dog’. I asked why he had jumped into English to say dog and he answered: ‘no se decil pelo’. It isn’t that he can’t say ‘hair’ it’s just that he can’t roll his ‘r’ yet to say ‘perro’. Since then he has often reminded us he can’t say the ‘r’ and hopes one day when he is older he will be able to.
But sometimes children do need a little help. Those of you who are not native Spanish speakers will be glad to know that even Spanish children sometimes need to go to a speech therapist to get those ‘rs’ going. They do not always come naturally.
So I have looked into it a little and it seems that until a child is older than 5 there is nothing to worry about, it is still possible the r will come on its own. After 5 for native Spanish speaking children it is best to seek professional help. Most children get the rrrrr in a few sessions, some need a bit more intensive work and a minority will not be able to say it, just like any other lisp.
If you are worried about your child not being able to make certain sounds in Spanish you can book an appointment with lovely Ana who is a speech therapist and find out what the best way forward is.
In the mean time this page has some great tongue exercises that are easy to follow
And here is a youtube video with a simple but effective idea
Let us know what you think!