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; which includes being able to communicate perfectly with others. 


  • To sing perfectly.



A world of communication:  


Your child should now have an excellent standard of speech development for her age. She should be well prepared for the many occasions when speech is required in her society.


Throughout history great communicators have become the great leaders of the people around them. Great leaders exist in many parts of the world and they are not necessarily well known outside of their local community. Great communicators and leaders lead community groups who help the poor, build local playgrounds, lead nations to prosperity and social justice, lead multinational companies that provide goods and services to the people of the world, organise contractors and others to construct buildings and often lead the way in scientific research such as genetics, neutralising nuclear waste and controlling deadly diseases. Leaders organise local tree planting projects, save wild animal habitats from destruction and extinction and organise local chess clubs. They also grow magnificent children. Leadership requires good communication skills and as a result of your magnificent parenting your child should now be well prepared as a communicator and well prepared for leadership whenever she is called on to lead. 



Active hands-on group activities: 


Now is the time to begin introducing your child to various organisations and community groups with which she can become involved. She will still need your help and assistance but she should now be capable of, to some extent, playing her own part in the world. She will, most likely, not want to spend long periods sitting and listening to people speak; but she will likely want to participate in activities and speak about them while she participates. Activities she is likely to enjoy include choir or music groups, dance classes, ‘nipper’ life guard groups, tree planting groups, board game groups, bush walking groups, chess clubs and physically active group games such as tag, land and sea, stuck in the mud, “Crocodile can I cross the river?” and others.


If your child has done the activities since birth then she is likely to be in the educational category known as ‘gifted and talented’ and a proportion of your communities educational resources may be allocated for her and similar children. If you contact your local State or National Department of Education then you may find that some activities are provided for gifted and talented children such as your child. Many universities throughout the world are supportive of programs for gifted and talented children and may have special workshops or classes that your child can attend. Workshops run by universities for 4 to 8 year old gifted and talented children include music, dance, craft, maths, science, chess and physiology and medical studies such as dissecting and studying hearts and other body organs. 


Behaviour problems:  


Unfortunately many children, and some adults, have behaviour problems (usually as a result of insufficient attention and guidance from their parents). The poor behaviour of others in groups you and your child join can sometimes be difficult to avoid. Until you can be sure that your child is in a safe environment where group members treat each other with respect she will need your constant attention and assistance to deal with the poor behaviour of others.


With a few exceptions, you are likely to find far fewer behaviour problems in group activities that are organised for gifted and talented children. The children who attend these groups are keen to learn about and participate in the activities. The parents of gifted and talented children are also usually keenly interested in their child’s education and well being and therefore often participate in facilitating the activities. Your family might therefore form valuable friendships when attending activities for gifted and talented children. 



Activities for parents and children:


  1. In general: 


Continue to use the methods and activities described in the previous Levels for as long as you see a need. In particular emphasise daily exposure to excellent speech and music.


  1. Encourage natural leadership.


Encourage your child to make daily leadership decisions in her own life. Those decisions include allowing her to decide; what to buy with her own money, what possessions of hers she will give to friends as gifts, what pets she will have and how she will care for them. Encouraging your child to make leadership decisions also means including her in family decision making as described at Level 6 of “ENJOYING SOUNDS, MUSIC AND LANGUAGES. Use the same guidelines as described in that Level to help your child make a variety of leadership decisions while remembering that parents should never be authoritarian but always have the final right to veto or approve any decision. Make a distinction between how good leaders work for the good of the people they are leading while poor leaders might try to acquire controlling power over the people they lead and make them, more or less, slaves. 


  1. Group activities. 


Introduce your child to various organisations and community groups with which she can become involved. Ensure that other participants are well behaved. Try to include choir and activities for gifted and talented children. 


  1. Group games. 


Learn the rules to group games such as tag, land and sea, stuck in the mud, “Crocodile can I cross the river?” and others and organise for groups of 4 to 7 children to play them together. Constant parental supervision is usually required during these games in order to prevent some children from undermining others, cheating, playing unfairly, putting others down and generally undermining the fun and enjoyment of the games. Ideally children will play a variety of these active games for a total time of about 45 minutes each day. 


  1. Show and tell.


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


  1. Cards and boards.


Play a card or board game every two days. Teach your child the rules of many different games over the next few years and try to let her win as often as possible. 


Suitable board games include, snakes and ladders, Land and Sea, chess, Rummiking, Junior Monopoly, Dominoes, Mastermind, Ludo and draughts.


Suitable card games include, Uno, Solitaire or Patience (using a standard 52 card pack) and Gin Rummy.