Baby’s language and speech development.


Before reading this section it is advisable to read the section titled ENJOYING SOUNDS, MUSIC AND LANGUAGES. Baby’s ability to speak and sing is in many ways based on how well she enjoys and experiences sounds, music and languages. 

Baby’s OMSDEP. Her language and speech intentions:

Baby wants to listen to all the sounds in her environment and understand what they mean and how they fit together. 

When baby feels like crying she wants to be made safe and to be allowed to cry naturally without interruption while she heals from her hurting experience. 

Baby gets ready:

It would be very unusual for baby to speak for at least six months yet, but the foundations for speaking are being laid down from birth, and perhaps even before birth. Baby can hear from at least the time of birth and she is gathering language information throughout every moment of every day when people are talking within her hearing range. Her hearing range, incidentally, is not much less than an adult’s. 

Compared to adults baby has an extraordinary ability to learn facts, and her brain quickly grows and organises itself to process those facts and remember them for future reference. Everything she hears, be it humans speaking their native language, dogs barking or music playing will pass into her brain to be used as part of her speaking OMSDEP; to help her to learn to speak. 

At this stage baby’s own self development and education program to learn to speak is twofold:

She is listening to all that is said and is organising and storing information about language in her brain. 

She is also learning to use her lungs to push air up through her neck and out of her mouth. Simultaneously she is learning to adjust her throat, tongue and mouth to make the air vibrate as sound.

Listening and crying:

At this stage, during the first month after birth, baby is more involved in point one above: Listening to, organising and storing information in preparation for speech. She demonstrates less interest in point two at this stage but she is, nevertheless, still practicing making sounds when she cries for food when she is hungry or needs other attention. Of course, baby does not simply decide to cry when she wants to practice making sounds. But when she does need to cry, and does so, she begins to develop the ability to make sounds when she wants to. At this very fundamental level (hunger and safety needs) she soon learns that her cry for food or help works well as, for most children, a parent soon responds. When it first occurs her crying is possibly from fear that she does not have food, but in time she will learn that crying and other sounds are useful forms of language that indicate her needs. 

Even though baby learns that crying brings loving support, an important point that should be made here is that baby will not cry unless she has a need to cry. Contrary to some opinions, it is highly unlikely that any child under age three has ever been able to decide to cry, except when they actually have a real need for food or other attention. Children do not use crying to manipulate adults. But some children and adults from about age 12 months and into adulthood do use what is sometimes called whining, whingeing or sulking to manipulate others. There is more information about the subject of crying and needs in the book “Magnificent Behaviour”. 

The road ahead:

Learning to speak is a complex process and baby must learn a good deal about sounds, words and the meanings of words before she learns to speak well. When she begins to speak in 6 to12 months time baby must accurately remember how she has heard her native language spoken, and she should also understand what the language means. She must then send the right amount of air from her lungs to her mouth while using her vocal cords, tongue and lips to make the correct sound. Whilst doing this she must monitor the sounds she produces to ensure they are the right sounds. She completes her monitoring by using her sense of hearing and her sense of touch (feeling the speech vibrations). She checks that the sounds she hears and feels are equal to, or at least very similar to, her memory of the words she has heard, and possibly felt, in the past. Her final check of how well she has spoken is to check on how well people respond to what she has said. If the people she speaks to respond by saying or showing that they understood her then she assumes she has spoken correctly. 

Listen and cry:

Learning to talk at this Level 1, then, is very much a matter of being able to listen to high quality speech and of being able to cry freely. As stated above crying allows children to test out how sounds are made by expressing air from the lungs. Further, crying actually contributes to lung growth and lung control as the lungs are exercised in a variety of ways when baby is crying. Crying is a healthy practice and does not hurt baby. The cause of tears (such as hunger, pain or fear) might hurt baby and should be dealt with but the crying itself is actually good for baby: That is one reason why she does it. This is not to say that we should try to make baby cry, far from it. Magnificent parents want baby to be constantly happy, but there will be times when she will need to cry and when she cries at those times she will also be developing her ability to talk. There is more information about crying in the book “Magnificent Behaviour”. For the moment though it is worthwhile to note that crying is good for baby and, under most circumstances, should be permitted without trying to stop her from crying. It is very important though to stop the source of baby’s pain whether it be a bumped head (give appropriate medical attention), a need for food (feed her) or a frightening experience (stop the frightening experience). Hug her and wait.

Speaking two or more languages.

If you wish to teach baby a second, third or fourth language then set aside one or two days each week for the other languages and do the following Level 1 activities for the second, third or four languages in the same way as you do them for the first language. Now is the time to begin creating a multilingual environment for baby if you are multilingual yourself or if you have the opportunity to expose her to other languages. Baby will develop the brain structure required to speak more than one language far more easily during her first three years of life than ever again. When she is an older child or a university student learning languages can be far more difficult than if she begins now. Many, many children learn to speak their native language simply by hearing it spoken each day. Hearing well spoken languages repeated on a regular basis is all that baby requires to learn to speak those languages herself. 

There is more information about teaching additional languages in the section titled “ENJOYING SOUNDS, MUSIC AND LANGUAGES” and in the book “Magnificent Language”.

Activities for parents and babies:

A list of Magnificent Parenting activities follows. These are practical activities for children to do with their parent’s help. Natural Parenting parents create the environment baby requires to complete her OMSDEP.  In many cases, these activities are the environment required and, after commencement, promote baby’s excellent natural development. 

The activity list sometimes includes extracts of preceding sections as well as new information. The list is intended for use as a day to day checklist for quick and easy reference but, to fully understand and participate in the activities, parents may need to re-read the entire Level, or other parts of this book, from time to time.

Do the activities below for the first language you would like baby to speak. Set aside a day or two (or three) for any additional languages you would like baby to speak and use only one language on each day. Alternatively try to mix the use of all languages in approximately equal proportions throughout the day. For example, speak German during the morning, French for part of the afternoon and Swahili during the evening. It matters little though if you also speak just a few sentences or paragraphs of Swahili during the morning French period, or if you put just a few sentences of either French, Swahili or German in with each other. Avoid though, speaking a sentence with words from more than any one language mixed together. To do so can cause baby some difficulty when she begins to speak to others who are monolingual and they don’t understand that she is speaking mixed language sentences of German, French and Swahili. 

Play recordings of excellent speech throughout the day.  

Speak to baby frequently using excellent descriptive language.  Speak in your best language as if she is your equal and understands what you are saying as well as you do (she very well might).

Whenever the opportunity arises take her to places where she will hear excellent speaking and allow her to listen.

Don’t use ‘baby talk’.

Ensure the language baby experiences is always non-threatening, enjoyable and is seeking to achieve good for humanity. Be enthusiastic about great historic speeches, nursery rhymes and all forms of language. Create the environment for her.

If baby wants to cry and she does not need medical attention, safety or food simply hold her close to you until she stops crying. Crying is a release mechanism for her and does not of itself hurt her. Allow her to cry until she is finished. Avoid situations where other adults try to stop baby from crying: Tell baby it's OK to cry. Respect other people’s right to quiet and take baby to a private area until she has finished crying. For information about why baby cries and ways to deal with it read the book “Magnificent Behaviour”. 

What baby should be doing at this Level of development:
She should cry with gusto at birth and at other times when she has a need to cry.  

She should be able to hear.

What baby should be doing as she enters the next Level of development:

At the next level of development baby will cry with an expression of urgency in her voice if she experiences strong or sudden pain; (we hope, of course, that she doesn’t have to!). 

An average child is likely to move on to Level 2 at approximately age 2.5 months.
A child could potentially move on to Level 2 at approximately age 1 month.
















Baby’s language and speech development.




Your child’s OMSDEP: Her language and speech development intentions:


  • To speak perfectly every word that is useful to her. 



Experience and speech: 


Your child should now be an excellent speaker for her age. the key to teaching her now is to firstly show her objects, geology, geography, places, events, people, cultures, all possible things, and to give her experiences. Secondly, use a word, words or a brief sentence to describe the object or experience. 


Show and tell.


Once each day have a family ‘show and tell’ session when each family member tells the others about something that they found interesting or enjoyable during the day. The speaker stands and addresses other family members who sit, listen quietly and pay very close attention to the speaker. It is very important that the speaker is appreciated and congratulated on how well he or she speaks. Never should the speaker be undermined by the audience speaking among themselves or not paying attention. Nor should there be negative comments or ‘put downs’. Whenever possible the speaker shows the audience a toy, animal, picture, piece of clothing or some other relevant object that relates to the speaker’s subject. 


Even if your child says nothing, or only a few words, during ‘show and tell’ sessions she should be congratulated for taking her turn. If she is encouraged and congratulated then she should eventually begin to say more and her language use will improve. When doing ‘show and tell’ your child will not only be practicing speaking during her turn, but she will also be learning by watching and listening to the other speakers. Over time she will likely begin using the communication methods of other speakers that she enjoys, as well as her own natural ideas.


Show and tell allows your child to expand on her knowledge, to try new ways of communicating, to clearly present information to the group, to develop public speaking skills and to learn to listen to others. 



Activities for parents and children:


  1. In general: 


Continue to use the activities described in the previous Levels. In particular emphasise daily exposure to excellent speech and music. 


  1. Experience and speech: 


Give your child many experiences. Show her objects, places, events, geology, geography, people, cultures and all possible things. Use a word, words, or a brief sentence, to describe the object or experience. Everyday, use many descriptive words that will help to broaden your child’s own use, and understanding of, language. Discuss what she can see and hear in a variety of environments. Use concrete words as often as possible. 


  1. Show and tell.


Once each day have a family ‘show and tell’ session.



What your child should be doing at this level of development:


  • Speaking 2000 or more words. 


What your child should be doing as she enters the next Level of development.


  • Speaking more than 2000 words and knowing their meaning.  


  • Speaking and constructing sentences as well as an average 6 year old. 



An average child is likely to move on to Level 7 at about age 6 years. 


A child could move on to Level 7 at about age 3 years.