All children develop at different schedules, which is why a parent shouldn't necessarily be alarmed if their child isn't yet pronouncing words as properly as others in their age group, or according to a parent's expectations. Some children will also simply outgrow a lisp or learn to enunciate as they get older; remember that a child's mouth, tongue, and muscles in the jaw are still developing when they're very young, so they may learn to pronounce difficult words and sounds as they become more physically capable. However, note when it may be good to take your child to a doctor or speech therapist at least for an evaluation of their speech patterns, to see if they might need speech therapy to help them learn to speak correctly.

1. Stuttering

Most people, even adults, stutter at one time or another. When trying to gather your thoughts while speaking, you might stutter and pronounce a sound repeatedly without realizing it. While this can be a bit common and not cause for alarm, if a child consistently stutters when speaking, he or she may benefit from speech therapy. Stuttering may a sign of uncertainty for how to pronounce words and it may be a habit that needs help to be broken.

2. Frustration at communicating

If the child seems frustrated at their attempts to communicate, this may be a sign that they know something is wrong with their speaking; they may be struggling to pronounce words or to find the right words to use. Rather than speaking for them or chastising them, it's good to have a speech therapist evaluate the issue. A child may need extra time in class to learn particular words or extra time with a speech therapist to rehearse the pronunciation of those words properly.

3. Leaving off sounds of words

A certain accent may include leaving off sounds of words, for example, a person might say "packin'" instead of "packing." However, if a child does this repeatedly and it's not consistent with the accent of the persons around them, this can be a sign of a hearing disorder or speech disorder. This is most commonly done with constants; "father" becomes "fath-uh," or "dog" is pronounced "daw." If you notice this pattern in your child, where they consistently leave off any sound of words, it's good to first have their hearing tested. Have them visit a speech therapist like communiKIDS if the problem is not that they aren't hearing words pronounced properly.