M is an earlier developing sound. Typically, children master M by 3 years of age.
To learn how to make the M sound we must know what each articulator (lips, tongue, teeth, jaw, breath, and voice) does.
Lips: Lips do all the work here! They must be slightly pressed together (enough not to let air escape but not too much where it feels unnatural)
Tongue: Nothing! It is relaxed in a neutral position
Teeth: Nothing! They are relaxed in a resting position
Jaw: The jaw must be up, centered, and stable (to make sure the lips are closed)
Breath: The breath is also a very important part of the M sound. M is a nasal sound which means the air escapes through the nose. Say M while touching the sides of your nose. You should feel a vibration!
Voice: M is a voiced sound so our voice box is turned on
Please say M in front of a mirror and look and feel what all your muscles are doing. Once you have a good handle on how to say M, you can now better teach your child.
How to use this section:
I will introduce all cues that I find helpful. Please read and become familiar with each one. You will not use all of them. Instead, when you are ready to start practicing, you will try a few and figure out which ones are most helpful for your child. Most likely, you will use a combination of a few. Please refer back to this section as needed!
Speech therapists use a variety of cues during therapy including tactile (touch), verbal (words), and visual (visual models/mirrors) to elicit a correct sound production. Below are the most useful cues for M.
1. Point to your closed lips
2. Model what a correct M looks like and have your child copy
For visual cues to work, make sure your child is looking at you. I bring objects near my or point to my mouth to bring a child's attention to my mouth.
1. Say “lips together”
2. Say “hide your teeth”
3. Say "make nose buzz”
4. Say “close lips”
1. Lightly press your child’s lips together
2. Touch your lips to remind your child to close their lips