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Москва Россия

Еще один глоссарий на бытовые фразы с детьми

28 апреля 2016, 00:30   •   Английский

Все под катом.

ЗЫ: Жаль не привлекли психолога для составления словаря, чтобы он был не только правильным с точки зрения англ, но и детской психологии:))

US English for parents speaking English as a non-native language with their preschool children

Please note: some items in this list may seem very basic and obvious to those with advanced English proficiency. They were included in response to specific requests of some non-native speakers who found them useful.

Also: this list is just a compilation of current usage. It's not a recommendation that people should actually say all these things to their own children.


(most topics have first a list of specialized terms, and then a list of typical sentences):

1. Diminutive words for objects

2. Diminutive words for animals

3. Diminutive words / Terms of endearment for family members, people

4. Expressing affection to your child, terms of endearment for your child

5. What to say about someone else's baby or child

6. Babies

7. Greetings

8. Waking up in the morning

9. Clothing and getting dressed

10. Kitchen

11. Safety and injuries

12. Playtime indoors: fun, toys

13. Playtime indoors: learning, ABC's etc

14. Playtime outside

15. Playing with other children (sharing, fighting)

16. What children themselves say

17. Daycare/Babysitters

18. Helping around the house

19. Bathroom talk, body parts

20. Bath time, washing up, cleanliness

21. Bed time

22. Words of encouragement, praise, compliments

23. Parents finding out what's wrong and giving reassurance

24. Manners

25. Discipline

26. On the go (transportation)

27. Sickness, Doctor and hospital visits

28. Shopping/restaurants

29. Holiday/Special days

30. The adult world (seen from a child's eyes)

31. Cuss-type words that (some) children are allowed to use

32. Cultural notes

1. Diminutive/child-like words for things

cuddly (any plush toy, stuffed animal, etc)

owie, booboo a child's injury (could be a cut, bruise, burn, etc...)

dolly (for a doll)

duckie or ducky (toy duck)

teddybear (toy stuffed/plush bear)

bally or ballie (for a toy ball)

PJ's / nighties (for pajamas)

shoesies (for shoes) (only when being affectionate or playful)

footsies (for feet) (only when being affectionate or playful, e.g., "Whose footsies are these?", said while pretending not to know.) Note: there's a game called "footsie", where each person tries to put his foot over the other person's.

toesies (for toes)

tummy (for stomach)

choo-choo train (for a train)

2. Diminutive/child-like words for animals

ducky or duckie (for a duck, regardless of age)

horsy or horsie (for any horse, regardless of age)

bunny-rabbit (for any rabbit, regardless of age)

doggy, puppy, puppy-dog (for any dog, whether young or old)

lambie or lamby (for a little lamb, or sometimes even any sheep)

froggy (for frog)

kitty-cat, pussy-cat (for any cat)

birdy, birdie for bird

When you want to suggest that the animal is very loveable, you can intensify any of these by saying "sweet little lambie", etc.

Note: despite the above examples, it doesn't work to add the "y" or "ie" ending to just any word to make it a diminutive. If you tried to say "roostery" for "rooster" it would come off like a joke. My son came up with "wrenchie" for his favorite tool; that was hilarious.

3. Diminutive/ terms of endearment/familiar words for family members, people

kids, kiddies, the little ones, munchkins for children

Names of family members

Father: Dada, Daddy, Dad, Pop (rare), Pa (rare, more rural/old-fashioned)

Mother: Mama, Mommy, Mom, Ma (rare, more rural/old-fashioned)

Note: supposedly when a baby first starts talking they will say Dada and Mama; in most families in the US it evolves to Mommy and Daddy, and later to Mom and Dad when the children get old enough and start wanting to not sound like little kids

Sister: Sis, Sissy (for sister; the sister in question won't necessarily like this)

Grandfather: Grandad, Grandpa, Gramps

Grandmother: Grandma, Gramma, Granny

The most common usage is Granddad and Grandma, with Gramps and Granny having more of an old-fashioned country sound to many people.

Cousin: cuz (not very common)

Aunt: Auntie

People outside the family often use "Master" or "Miss" to address a child, as in "And how is Master John today?" or "How is Miss Jane?". This is a sort of playful formality. Parents use it sometimes too.

4. Terms of endearment used for children

(all these are used by some people, while others find some or all corny, sickly sweet, excessively sentimental... it just depends on the person's style)

Honey (one of the most common. Also used between spouses)


Sweetie (also common)

My Little One


My Dear One


Precious (usually not for boy unless he's a baby)


Sweety-pie (common)

Cutie-pie (not for boys unless they're babies)

Honey-bunny or honey-bun





Sweet (You can say "Hello, Sweet." Or "Come here, Sweet")


Hey, Beaut! Hi, Beautiful! (A father could say this when greeting his daughter) Little

Pumpkin (personally I dislike this one)

The Apple of my Eye (I also dislike this one; as a child I came up with retorts like "Cucumber of my Foot". However, it's widely used.)

Rascal (can be meant affectionately, for people who are sick of sentimentality)

Munchkin (as in, perhaps, "Come on, munchkins, we're going to the show.")

Expressing affection

You're my absolute favorite boy/girl.

You're my treasure.

You make me so happy.

Come sit on my lap.

Come snuggle up next to me.

I need some hugs.

I'm running very low on kisses.

World's neatest little girl/boy.

You're my precious one.

You light up my day.

You're (my) number one boy/girl.

I wouldn't trade you for all the gold in the world.

You're my biggest joy.

You're my sunshine.

They don't make them any better than this one.

I'd do anything for you. [Personally, I'd be cautious about using this one!]

"How much does Mommy/Daddy love John?" "This much!" (the child answers this with the arms streteched out wide). Or, answers can be made more colorful, e.g., "From here to the moon and back.", etc.

You get 3 guesses as to who my favorite boy/girl is. (the 3 guesses are a sort of joke; they can answer with the names of other children to be funny)

5. What to say about or to someone else's baby or child

bundle of joy - classic term referring to a new baby

So this is your new arrival?

I think he has his mommy's eyes.

What an armful.

How's the little one? Keeping you busy?

Is he sleeping through the night?

Has he said his first word yet?

She's beyond precious. (Flattering: Meaning that the word "precious" itself isn't enough to say how amazing this child is.)

Isn't he adorable?

What an angel-face!

Isn't she a darling?

Isn't she a dear!

He's so cute! (After a certain age boys might not want this said about them, except by girls of the same age. And some fathers object to it ever being used for their sons.)

Look at that button nose. (To a baby only)

Look at that mop of hair! (this is meant as a compliment when said of a baby)

He's getting to be such a big boy.

You've got your hands full with this one.

Daddy's little girl. (Usually refers to a girl whose father seems to dote on her a lot.)

She'll wind you around her little finger. (Meaning, your daughter can get you to do anything she wants.)

6. Babies Vocabulary

baby food = soft pureed food that comes in bottles, for babies who don't have enough teeth yet to chew

cranky (very often used to describe a baby that is in a bad mood, crying, angry)

fussy - another word used very often to describe babies that are crying, restless, etc colicky (a baby that won't stop crying; colic has a specific medical meaning, but people use the word without any real proof that the baby has digestive problems)

to burp a baby to have gas - often said of babies who seem "colicky" - "He needs to be burped; he's got gas."

to swaddle a baby (wrap a baby tightly with a blanket, for little babies who are comforted by this)

to start a baby on solids - to start a baby on solid foods

teething = when the teeth start coming in ("She's very cranky; she must be teething.")

changing table = table on which the baby is put for changing

the diaper changing pad = small washable vinyl pad that a baby is put on for changing

the diaper mobile = toy attached to a crib, with several things hanging from it, that babies like to look at

crib = a baby's bed with railing all around it to prevent falling off

crib railings = the vertical slats of wood that surround a crib and keep a baby from falling out of its crib

umbrella stroller = a type of stroller that folds compactly; looks sort of like an umbrella when folded

double stroller = a stroller for two children

in-line double stroller = one child sits in front, the other in behind

side-by-side double stroller = the children sit side by side

pacifier = plastic/rubber item put in baby's mouth for sucking

comfort to suck = what babies do as they drink milk or use a pacifier

playpen = a box or space confined by a fence inside which a baby plays; they can't get out of it

folding playpen = a playpen designed to fold up, convenient for parents

rocker = rocking chair

baby bottle

to sterilize the nipples, bottles

formula = artificial milk substitute for babies

(Artificial) nipple

nipple ring = the plastic part with a hole in it that the artificial nipple is inserted in, which is then screwed to the baby bottle

nap-time, nap

to coo over a baby = for an adult to say nonsense things (usually done by parents, grandparents, friends) as they gaze admiringly at a baby

cootchie-cootchie-coo (spelling?) Common nonsense phrase people say as they tickle a baby

peekaboo - game that babies love. You hide your eyes behind your hands, or a towel, or anything else, then you uncover your eyes and say "Peekaboo!"

bed guardrail = a plastic or wooden railing placed on one side of a bed, fixed by sliding part of it under a mattress. Prevents the child from rolling off the bed

teething ring = comfort toy that babies chew on when they have pain from teeth coming in

whiny, to whine - He's whining for his bottle. / He gets rather whiny at dinner-time.

wipes = disposable paper towels that come moist out of the box, to clean a baby when changing their diaper

training pants / pullups = like diapers, but shaped like pants, so a child being pottytrained can pull them up and down all by him/herself

newborn - a baby up to about 6 weeks or so (maybe longer)

preemie - a baby born prematurely (more than 3 weeks before due date)

growth spurt - period of time when a baby grows particularly fast ("You just can't stop eating! You must be having a growth spurt!")

pattycakes - another game often played with babies, involving clapping hands and saying a traditional rhyme


Up you go! (Said when picking a child out of the crib, for example.)

It's time for a nap.

He wants/needs to be held.

It's time to burp Baby. Do you need to be burped?

Did you wet your diaper? Mommy's going to change you. You need to be changed. Did he wet his pants? (Urine in the diaper)

Do you want Mommy to pick you up?

Has she started on solids yet?

She turned over on her side for the first time today.

She's started sitting up.

She started crawling at six months.

Let Mommy rock you a bit. (Meaning: the mother is taking the baby in her lap and rocking in the rocking chair.)

7. Greetings


Hiya (Hello)

Hi, precious

Hi, sweetie

See you later, alligator

Wave bye-bye to the nice man (Something you'd say to a 1-year-old)

Hey, champ. (For a boy)

How's my buddy?

How's my princess? (for a girl)

I missed you (terribly/very much).

Did you miss me?

How did your day go?

8. Waking up

Did you sleep well?

Did you have a bad night?

Wake up, sleepyhead.

Time to get going.

We need to get moving.

It's already late.

Are you still lazing around?

Rise and shine!

9. Clothing and getting dressed:

onesie = a common type of clothing for babies, that is one piece, and snap buttons around the legs

ponytail = long girl's (usually not boy's) hair, tied together but still hanging down

pigtail = long girl's hair braided and hanging down

sneakers/ tennis shoes = shoes used for athletic activities

party dress = a fancy girl's dress that she'd wear to a party

Sunday best = more formal clothes children have, that they'd wear to formal family functions (weddings, funerals) or, in religious families, to attend services

barrette = clip worn in girl's hair to keep it in place

panties = underwear pants worn by girls

snowsuit = suit covering the entire body (except head) for going out in very cold weather or snow, often worn over another set of clothes

booties = just about any soft shoe worn by babies. Although it's a diminutive of "boots", which are higher around the ankles than regular shoes, a lot of things that people call "booties" aren't really like this

velcro = a kind of closure for clothing or shoes where the two pieces just stick together when you press them together; to open you just pull them apart

bobby pins = hair pins worn by girls


It's time to get dressed.

What do you want to wear today?

What do you feel like wearing today?

You need to change; we're going to the store.

This shirt doesn't go with those pants.

It's too cold for short sleeves.

Is this shirt too tight?

Did you outgrow these pants already? Wow, you're growing fast.

Are those shoes pinching your toes?

Here's a pretty little shirt for you. (the words "pretty little" are just added to be affectionate)

You tore these pants; you can't wear them today.

Look, you have a hole in your shirt.

Pick up your socks and put them in the laundry basket.

How did your clothes get so dirty?

You look smashing!

That dress was made for you!

That's your style of shirt.

It's not really your look.

Red is definitely your color.

Do you really have to change clothes three times a day?

Why does it take an hour to get dressed?

About the actual process of putting clothes on

Your pants are on backwards.

You've got your shoes on the wrong way.

Let me button up your shirt.

Your shirt is buttoned up wrong.

Do you know how to tie your shoelaces yet?

Straighten out your legs.

Put your legs straight out.

Don't bend your legs.

I can't get your pants on with your legs like that.

Come on, we need to get these pants on.

Sit still. / Stand still. / Stop squirming. / Stop fidgeting.

Will you button up the coat by yourself?

Unbutton your shirt.

Zip up your jacket; it's cold out.

Unzip your jacket.

Now put on your sweater.

First put your arm through the sleeve, now put your head through.

You put your shoes on wrong / the wrong way.

You've got your right shoe on your left foot, and the left shoe on the right foot.

Those shoes are on wrong.

These shoes don't match/ don't go together.

Your sweater is on backwards. (meaning, the front side is in back).

You have your sweater on backwards.

Your sweater is inside-out. (meaning, the inside part is showing on the outside).

You have your sweater on inside-out.

Put your hand through the sleeve. Now the other one.

Stretch your legs.

Don't bend over.

Put your clothes on. / Get dressed.

Put your hand/arm through the sleeve.

Your right arm goes in the right sleeve.

Now put your other arm in the other sleeve.

Your little finger is stuck in the sleeve; let me get it out.

Lift up your leg.

Put your foot through here / through this opening. (i.e., through the opening in the pants)

Now your other foot / leg.

Take your clothes off. / Take off your clothes / Get undressed

Pull down your pants. (this is when using the toilet)

10. Kitchen/mealtime vocabulary

baby food

sippy cup = a leakproof cup with a top (but no nipple)

high chair

booster seat - put on top of a kitchen chair to help a child sit higher

bib - piece of cloth attached around neck and hanging down, to catch spilled food

yummy - tasty, delicious; something fun to eat

to be excused - for a child to be given permission to leave the table after a meal

crackers in the US, these are never sweet. Salty and crunchy.

cookies In the US, these are always sweet and they're not cakes.

sweets = candy = treats = goodies general words for any sugar-based food that's fun to eat

cotton candy (A really disgusting (well, many kids like it) "treat" of puffed up colored sugar)

soda-pop (often used for soft drinks, like coke, pepsi, etc)

jellybeans (sort of the quintessential American candy)

milk and cookies = the quintessential American afterschool snac

popsicle = frozen dessert on a stick, usually fruit-flavored

lollipop, sucker = hard sugar candy on a stick that slowly dissolves in mouth when sucked on, often fruit-flavored

jello = a gelatin sweet dessert, often fruit-flavored

Kitchen/mealtime sentences

Does baby need to be burped?

Don't throw food on the floor.

Stop playing with your food.

Don't smear that all over the table.

No elbows on the table. (Said mostly by picky parents.)

We're having your favorite today! (Meaning, the child's favorite food dish.)

Come sit at the table.

Don't talk with your mouth full.

Just eat one at a time.

Don't put all of those in your mouth at once; you could choke.

Wash up, it's time to eat.

Don't spill tomato sauce on your clothes; it's very hard to remove.

You know you're not supposed to spill food on your clothes.

Din-din is ready. (Din-din is a silly word for dinner.)

Help Mommy set the table.

Help Daddy do the dishes.

Help us clear off the table.

You're a little piggy! (Said to a child who's very messy.)

Can I be excused? (Very common way for child to ask if he can leave the table.)

You're excused. (Adult gives child permission to leave the table.)

11. Safety and injuries

safety scissors = scissors with blunt ends and dull blades that can cut paper but can't injure children

safety plug = a plastic piece put in an electrical outlet to prevent a child from sticking something like a screwdriver or pencil in it

outlet cover = a plastic box that fits over an outlet to prevent children from playing with it

goose egg - a big bump on a child's head that came from falling on something hard

strangers - any adults the child doesn't know, and therefore should not trust

bad people - a term for thieves, criminals, etc, for young children who aren't ready for detailed discussion of this


Don't touch.

It's bad for you. (Very common general way of telling a child why they shouldn't do something.)

Don't run in the house.

Don't run while carrying that pencil.

These tools are too sharp; they're only for grownups.

The oven is very hot; you could burn yourself.

Don't touch anything on the stove.

If you tip that pan over, you will get burned very badly.

Don't leave toys on the stairs; people will trip on them.

Don't climb on this table; it can't hold you / it could tip over.

This ladder isn't stable.

Don't touch the electrical outlets.

Don't ever put anything in the outlets.

Don't try to plug anything in the outlet.

Don't chew on that cord.

Don't sit too close to the TV.

It's nothing. It's just a little cut.

You'll live. It's just a bruise.

You're lucky; you could have been hurt much more badly.

Don't use Mary's cup; you could catch her cold/germs that way.

Don't ever talk to strangers.

Never accept anything from a stranger.

Don't play with matches!

Playing with fire is very dangerous.

Traffic safety

Don't cross the street without looking both ways.

Always look both ways before crossing the street.

Never cross the street without looking to make sure no cars are coming.

Wait for the green light before you cross the street.

Remember, some cars don't stop for red lights. You always have to be careful.

To make a stronger impression, on a child who tried to do something very dangerous:

That was a really stupid thing to do.

Have you taken leave of your senses?

Are you out of your mind?

What possessed you to do that?

What were you THINKING?

Real swift, you turned the burner on.

Don't you know that could start a fire!?

Climb up on the roof? What, are you crazy or something?

12. Playtime indoors - toys, fun, games

stacking cups = a set of cups, each one smaller than the last, which can either nest or stack

blocks, building blocks (whether square or not) - used for construction, usually wooden

rattle - baby toy that makes noise when shaken

stacking rings - toy, a set of rings, each smaller than the last, that stack in order on a pole

floor puzzle - a large jigsaw puzzle meant to be put together on the floor

crayons - made of wax, for coloring

colored pencils - pencils with colored leads

coloring book - book with black and white drawings that a child colors in with crayons

construction paper - paper that is thicker than ordinary writing paper, coming in many different colors, and used very often by children in the US for crafts projects

arts and crafts - term used (e.g., by teachers) to refer to the part of a child's education that involves making things with paper, modeling clay, etc, or by drawing or coloring

flash cards - cards with pictures, numbers, or sometimes math expressions such as "2+2" on them, for teaching children. The children have to name the object shown on the card, or do the addition "2+2=4", etc.

markers - felt-tipped pens for writing on paper or whiteboards

whiteboard - erasable board for writing on with special markers

chalk board

magnetic letters / fridge magnets - plastic pieces shaped like alphabet letters, with magnets attached so they will stick to a metal surface like a refrigerator. To teach young children the alphabet

stickers = small adhesive pieces of paper with pictures on them, usually meant to be put on a piece of paper or in specially marked places in a sticker book

rubber duckie - typical bath toy, a duck made of rubber that can float

Simon says - game where the principal player says things like "Simon says close your eyes", and a person loses if they don't follow the instructions correctly

board game - indoor game involving a board, and often dice, or tokens, or "pieces". Snakes and ladders is a common, easy one played by preschool children

slinky - toy made of plastic or metal, shaped like a very long helix. It can "walk" downstairs when started properly.

to play pretend, to pretend - refers to imaginary play, such as a child pretending that she is a dragon, or sitting in a box and pretending that it is an airplane

hide and seek, hide and go seek - game in which one child hides while the other(s) cover their eyes. Then they have to find the child that's hiding.


Don't leave crayons on the floor where people will step on them.

Please put the caps back on the pens/markers when you're done with them.

Don't waste paper.

Want to play hide-and-go-seek? (also: "hide and seek")

I'm going to count to ten. (Said while playing hide-and-go-seek)

Ready or not, here I come. (The standard thing you say after you've counted to ten and you're going to go look for the child.)

Let's play ring-around-the-rosie. (Where the children join hands in a circle. Uses a traditional English rhyme. They move around, and all fall down to the ground at the end.)

"Gotcha!" (slang- Any game where you have to catch someone, you say this when they're caught)

"I'm just a pretend dragon." (even though "pretend" is not really an adjective in English, children very often use it this way, referring to imaginative play)

Roll the ball. / Roll the ball to me. / Roll the ball over here(if you want the ball rolled across the floor instead of thrown through the air)

Roll that (toy) car over here.

Board game sentences

Move your piece three spaces/squares forward.

You lost your turn.

It's your turn to throw the dice

13. Playtime Indoors: ABC's, Learning etc

To sit Indian style = common way children sit on the floor, with legs crossed in front of them

Let's see you draw a circle

Can you draw a picture?

What does "dog" start with?

"D" is for dog

Color this picture for me.

Color within the lines. / Stay within the lines. - when a child is learning to color in a coloring book.

How many trees do you see in this picture?

That's a great coloring job.

This is a sloppy coloring job. You went too quick. Take your time next time.

If your child comes to you with a paper full of scribbles :

That's interesting. What is it about? or

What did you draw here? or

Tell me about this picture.

When the child is uncooperative:

Don't mark on your clothes with the magic markers.

You tore off that picture again, didn't you?

You've been tearing pages out of that book, haven't you? Now what did I tell you about that?

Why did you tear up that paper? Now you have to pick up all the pieces off the floor.

You might want to translate instructions in preschool workbooks into English. Here are some typical ones:

Circle the one object in each row that does not belong.

Color in red all the objects that are usually colored red.

Draw a line from each object on the left to the object on the right that goes with it.

Find three differences between these two pictures.

Circle each group that has exactly eight objects in it.

How many triangles can you find in this picture?

14. Playing outside

wagon (small cart on wheels, usually has handle for pulling it)

training wheels - two extra small wheels attached to a bicycle for helping a child learn to ride, and for keeping their balance swings, swing set

seesaw - a board supported in the center. Two children sit, one at each end, and the board tips back and forth

slide - children climb up a ladder, then slide down the slide

merry-go-round - or caroussel, a round, revolving structure in a playground that many children can get on; they have to push it around

monkey bars - metal structures set up in playgrounds with bars that children can climb on or hang from

jungle gym - a (usually metal) structure in a playground that children can climb on

follow the leader - a game where everyone has to do what the "leader" is doing

forward roll - when a child tumbles forward by putting head down, the whole body then rolling forward until he has done a complete rotation and is sitting again


Want to swing?

Let's swing on the swings!

Shall I push you? (Said by an adult helping a child to swing)

You can touch the sky! (The child is swinging very high.)

Want to go down the slide?

Let's play ball. / Let's play catch.

Catch! Good catch!

Throw me the ball.

Let's make a sand castle.

Bundle up; it's cold out there.

You can't go out without shoes. (Meaning, you're not allowed to.)

Want to play outside?

Want to play in the yard?

Let's go play in the park.

Did you get dizzy on the merry-go-round?

15. Playing with other children to share

refers to letting all children take turns with toys, etc

to bully - when one child is rude to another, hinders their play or forces them to do things they don't want to

to get along - children playing nicely together to have a good/fun time

playgroup - group of children and parents from different families that meet, often once a week, to play together

Let's all help pick up the toys.

Let's all just get along. (Adult says this to a group of children that were fighting.)

Now, isn't it more fun to play together? This has the tone of a friendly scolding.

Why are you always picking fights?

I'm going to tell. = A child saying, I'm going to inform a grownup of what you just did.

Don't be a tattle-tale. = don't always be reporting to grownups what other children are doing that might be wrong.

He's not sharing. = He wouldn't let me play with his toy. Children use the verb "to share" a lot because adults are always using it with them.

She hurt my feelings. another phrase used very often in connection with children. Adults, especially teachers, use this when explaining why you shouldn't call your classmate an ugly witch, etc. ("Don't hurt people's feelings.")

That's not playing fair! You cheated! (A common accusation that one child makes to another.)

You have to learn to stand up for yourself. (This is for children who allow other children to bully them too much)

When things get too rough:

Don't play rough.

Don't kick.

Don't step on his toes.

Don't hit him.

She doesn't want to be held like that.

No bullying.

Don't pull her hair.

Pulling hair isn't nice.

It hurts people.

Don't trip her.

Stop punching each other.

No more roughhousing.

16. Things children themselves say

Oops! / Oopsie / Oopsies. Said after an accident or mishap. "Oops, you spilled water all over my shirt."

Pick me up! (Child to adult, meaning lift me up in your arms)

Carry me!

Guess what? (Anytime a child has something to announce to a grownup, they usually start off with this. They don't wait for an answer, it's "Guess what! We saw a big whale!" )

I know! Let's play catch! ("I know!" is a very common way that children express the fact that they just had a great thought or idea.)

Uh-oh! Very common, said whenever a little accident occurs. "Uh-oh, you dropped the crayons all over the floor."

Adults are almost always called "grownups" by children. E.g., "Only grownups can touch that."

Look-it! (Not grammatical, but lots of American children say it)

Whole bunch = lots. "We saw a whole bunch of trucks." means "We saw many trucks."

"Lots", meaning "many", is also colloquial, but very very widely used.

no way = I'm not going to do it, there's no way I'll agree to that, etc (not very polite) (also: No way, José!)

itty-bitty - very small ("Back when you were just an itty-bitty little baby…")

teeny-weeney - very small ("Look at that teeny-weeney spider.")

tippytoes - refers to walking on the tips of ones toes (i.e., with heel off the ground) as in "I'm walking on my tippytoes."

big old - often means just "big". It's not logical, but children often say "We saw a big old house." To just mean "We saw a big house."

17. Babysitters/Daycare

Janet is going to take care of you tonight

Mommy and Daddy need to go somewhere tonight and they can't take you along.

When you're in Janet's house, you need to follow her rules.

Don't interfere while Janet is disciplining Tommy.

18. Helping around the house

chores = tasks that a child is expected to do regularly, e.g., clearing dishes from the kitchen table

Have you done your chores?

Pick up the toys / Put the toys away / Put the toys up

Time to clean up.

19. Bathroom talk, body parts

potty = small toilet (not connected to plumbing) that small children use

pee = peepee = number one = urine

poop = number two = solid excrement

to potty/toilet train a child - to teach a child to use a potty or toilet

to pass gas = the polite way for children and parents to describe flatulence ("fart" or "to fart" is rude, although it is used sometimes within a family)

"Bottom" is the most polite way to refer to the part people sit on.

"Butt" is less polite but often used within a family.

"P.U." is usually what children say when something smells bad.

snot = yucky stuff coming out of nose

"Ew, gross!" / "Yuck!"/ "How rude!" (Means someone is being disgusting.)

yucky = disgusting toilet paper


Do you need to go potty?

I have to go pee. / I need to pee. (Urination)

I have to go poop./ I need to poop.

As children get older, they won't say "I need to poop/pee." anymore, just: "I need to go to the bathroom." Or "I need to use the restroom." In school this is what they'd say, for example, to the teacher.

Don't unroll the toilet paper.

You unrolled the toilet paper again!

You've been playing with the toilet paper, and I told you many times not to do that!

Don't use too much toilet paper.

To flush the toilet

Don't put anything but toilet paper in the toilet!

Don't pick your nose. / Don't stick your fingers in your nose!(adults say this very often to children).

Poop is smelly/stinky, so we need to flush the toilet.

Poop and pee have lots of germs in them, so we need to wash our hands every time after we go potty.

Wipe your bottom.

20. Bath time, washing up, hygiene

tissue paper = kleenex (a brand name) = disposable paper used for wiping the nose

towel rack = the bar you hang towels on

tub = short for bathtub

bathmat = could refer to either a rubber mat placed inside a tub to prevent slipping, or to a towel-like mat outside the tub for stepping on when exiting the tub

washcloth - small towel for cleaning the face


Your hands are sticky.

Please don't touch the furniture with sticky hands.

Wash them immediately!

Don't drink from other people's cups, you'll catch their germs.

Don't put your fingers into that food.

You have to wash your hands with soap after you poop.

Poop has lots of germs that could make you sick.

It's no big deal if you get water in your eyes.

You need to wash your hair or it will start to smell.

If you never take a bath, other children won't want to play with you.

If you stay in that bathtub any longer, you'll shrivel up into a prune. (Just a colorful way to tell a child that they've been playing in the tub long enough.)

Don't track mud all over the house.

What a mess you've made!

Look at the mess you've made!

Look at this mess!

You got your clothes all dirty!

21. Bed-time

It's time to go sleepy-bye.

Nightie-night, sleep tight.

Sweet dreams.

The land of dreams awaits you.

Maybe the Tooth Fairy will come tonight. (When children lose a tooth, they're supposed to put it under the pillow, the Tooth Fairy comes during the night, takes the tooth and leaves something like a coin or whatever)

22. Words of encouragement, compliments

Great job.

Good job.

Nice job.

That's a girl. / That's a boy.

Atta girl. / Atta boy. (Atta is a slang way of saying "That's a")

I'm so proud of you

Way to go!

That's a great coloring job.

That's a great job of coloring.

You did great.

You were great.

What a neat outfit! = you're dressed nicely

You're a peach.

You're the best.

You're my everything.

My treasure!

You're tops!

Top girl/boy!

What a champ!

23. Parents finding out what's wrong and giving reassurance

There, there. (This is meaningless, but very often said over and over, for example while you're holding a young child and patting them gently to reassure them.)

Upsadaisy (said while helping a child back up after a fall or tumble, or also lifting them out of a crib, etc)

What happened?

What's the matter?

Why are you crying?

Is something wrong?

Is something bothering you?

Is there something you want to talk about?

Do you have anything to tell me?

You can talk to me about anything.

Don't worry.

Mommy's right here.

It's all over now.

It's okay.

You're fine.

Everything's fine.

There's no need to worry.

Mommy and Daddy won't let anything bad happen to you.

We're right in the next room.

There's nothing to be scared of.

It was just a nightmare.

Nightmares aren't real.

They're like playing pretend.

Everyone has nightmares. Mommy and Daddy have them sometimes too.

I know it must have been scary, but it's all over now.

Are you feeling better now?

Do you want Mommy to stay here for a while?

What did he/she do to you? (Usually referring to a playmate that was being too rough.)

There's nothing wrong with crying.

Some parents say the following when they think the child is being overly fearful:

"Don't be a sissy / fraidy-cat / scaredy-cat." All these words mean someone who's overly scared of things. Children will also use them to describe other children (usually not very nice.)

24. Manners

Don't interrupt Daddy/Mommy.

Don't bother me while I'm on the phone.

Don't call people names.

No whispering. (Many parents won't allow this when others are present.)

Say please.

If I can't hear you, it's because you didn't say please. (A way of saying that you will ignore any requests that don't include the word "please".)

I expect you to behave nicely while you're visiting your friend.

Tell John you're sorry you hit him.

Are you going to apologize?

You don't sound very sorry.

Say it like you mean it.


"I'm sorry" means you regret something, but it could be your fault, or it could be someone else's fault and you're just expressing sympathy.

"I apologize" always means you're at fault and you regret it now.

"Excuse me" usually is said when you just want to get past someone who's standing in your way, or if you have to leave the table, etc.

That was not a nice thing to do.

You need to share your toys with your sister.

You need to take turns playing with that.

He had that toy first.

This toy doesn't belong to you.

Don't stick your fingers in someone else's eyes.

You could hurt them.

Don't step on my feet.

Cover your mouth when you cough.

Don't cough in someone else's face.

If you dumped out all those blocks, you need to pick them up.

Please don't leave toys in the hall; people might trip on them.

I know you don't like her shirt, but it's not nice to tell her that.

Lucy can't help it that she doesn't have a mother/father.

Don't talk about it around her.

25. Discipline

(please note - I'm just reporting what parents say here in the US, not saying that these are necessarily good things to say to your own child!)

timeout = the child is sent to a specified place like a corner or bathroom for a period of time which is usually one minute for each year of age for toddlers, as a punishment or with the idea of calming down and thinking over what they've been doing wrong

go stand in the corner - another traditional method of discipline

to talk back - often used, referring to when a child argues aggressively with a parent when being disciplined, instead of obeying or listening

For parents who are in the mood to be reasonable:

What are you doing?

Stop doing that.

What have you been up to here?

Maybe you need to think about this a bit. (Implying: you did something wrong, and you haven't shown me yet that you understand this.)

We need to discuss this. (A nice alternative to scolding.)

This is not acceptable.

I thought you were a big boy/girl now.

Stop giving me a hard time.

Could you cooperate a little?

We don't have time for games like this.

We don't do things like that in this house.

Good/Polite boys don't do/say things like that!

Did you do that on purpose? (Very common question adults ask, meaning, you did something wrong, but was it intentional or by accident.)

It was by accident! (The child defends himself, saying that it wasn't intentional.)

Tell me what really happened.

Was that a nice thing to do?

I'm disappointed in your behavior.

You are part of a family, and you can't think only about yourself.

I don't want to hear your stories. (This means, don't invent excuses or tell lies.)

More definitive statements:

You need to go to bed, period. ("Period" is just a colloquial way of saying it's a final decision.)

Don't argue with me about this.

No more discussion, you're going to bed now.

Don't argue with me.

Stop playing games.

Stop clowning around.

Stop messing around. = stop wasting time, we need to get going

Settle down (i.e., stop making too much noise, running in the house, etc)

Could you keep it down? = could you make less noise

I'm going to count to three, and if you don't have the toys picked up by then....

Stop making excuses and start cleaning up.

No more of your stories. You need to go to bed now.

Why? Because I said so. You don't need another reason.

You do as I say.

You know that when I say it's bedtime, I'm not going to change my mind.

If I say something, don't go to your father and expect him to say something different.

That's not the tone of voice to use with your mother.

You don't talk like that to Mommy!

Don't raise your voice at me!

Don't talk to me in that tone of voice!

Don't raise your voice at me! (I wouldn't say "Shut up!" to a child; it's usually a rather rude thing to say.)

That's a rude way to speak!

Be quiet! / Hush up! (not very friendly but parents often say it)

You don't have to shout; I'm not deaf.

For parents who want to express more displeasure:

What on earth are you doing?

Don't do that!

Don't act like that!

Stop acting like that!

Stop acting up!

That's no way to behave!

That was a very rude thing to do/say!

Do it right away, or else... (a sort of implied threat that many parents use)

That's it! That's the limit!

I've just about had it with you! (This is very strong; I've heard parents use it but I'm not recommending it myself.)

You've crossed the line.

Don't lie to me/ to your mother! Don't tell lies!

If I catch you doing that again, I'll be very upset with you.

We're not going to stand for this type of behavior.

I don't care who started it.

Don't interfere.

You had it coming to you. (Meaning, you kept doing something wrong until you finally caused something bad to happen.)

You deserved that.

Now you know what it feels like. (People use this when one child has been pestering another, and the other child finally has enough and does something back.)

How many times do I have to tell you?

You're being obnoxious.

I told you over and over not to do that!

You've made such a big mess.

Because I said so! (Classic response of a parent to a child who says "Why do I have to do that?")

You're in timeout.

Go stand in the corner.

Enough! / Stop it! / Cut it out! / Knock it off! = stop what you're doing at once

Don't talk back to me! = don't say no when I say yes

Go in timeout!

Your behavior has been awful/horrible.

What a disgrace! (Personally, I don't like this line.)

26. On the go (transportation)

booster seat - car seat / child safety seat

buckle - seat belt / safety belt

I spy - game often played while walking or riding in a car. One player says "I spy…" and the other has to find out what they're talking about.

Let's go for a walk

Let's go for a ride

Buckle yourself in

Buckle up! (meaning, fasten your seat belt in the car)

Get in your seat

Don't touch the gear shift

Don't unbuckle your seat belt while we're driving

When the child is curious about what they see outside:

Look at the car wheels turning

The car wheels go round and round

The concrete truck rolls along the road

Look at that car over there. It's coming towards us.

Can you see the duck swimming in the river?

Did you hear that doggie barking?

What do donkeys say? Donkeys say 'hee-haw'

The dog goes "woof"

Do you see the duck? See that duck over there?

Look at that horse there. And there's another horse! Do you see it too?

Yes, that's also a horse.

27. Sickness, Doctors and Hospital


sore throat

ear infection


to catch a cold

the flu

pink-eye (conjunctivitis, a common, very contagious infection of the eye)

viral infection

bacterial infection

checkup ("It's time for your 3-year checkup." when a child turns 3.)


chicken pox




otoscope - the tool doctors use to look inside ears

stethoscope - instrument used to listen to heart and lungs

blood pressure

cuff - wrapped around arm to measure blood pressure

bandaid (most common word for small bandage for a minor cut)

cast (put around part of broken limb to help it heal)



broken leg

sprained ankle

to vomit (with children people usually say: to throw up, to spit up, a less polite slang term is: to barf)

You need to get a shot. (E.g., an injection to vaccinate against polio, etc)

It won't hurt very bad.

Are there monkeys in your ear? (Said while doctor uses otoscope to look in ear.)

You get a sticker. (Common prize given to a child after a doctor's visit.)

You were so good!

You were great!

You were so brave!

You need to stay home today.

You need to rest.

You need to stay in bed.

I'm sorry it's boring.

It will heal soon.

Come on, be brave/ be a brave boy/girl. (E.g., to help a child getting a shot)

Is he allergic to any medication? / Does he have any allergies?

He looks very pale.

He hasn't been very active.

She seems listless.

She has a glazed-eye look.

She's not herself today. (meaning, she's sick or in a bad mood)

28. Shopping, restaurants

We can't eat the food until we pay for it.

Don't grab anything.

Don't touch; that's not ours.

Please don't knock down all those cans!

Don't run around here; we're not at home.

This isn't a playground; we can't make a lot of noise here.

Please don't yell.

You promised me (that) you wouldn't ask me to buy anything. Now don't go back on your promise.

We agreed that you wouldn't ask for anything in the store. What happened to that promise you made to me? Did you forget all about it? Remember, you promised not to ask me to buy things for you.

Stop asking me to buy things for you. I'm not going to. I told you that already.

You know you're not allowed to ask me to buy things while we're shopping.

Don't grab things in the store. They don't belong to us.

Don't touch anything here. This is a store. These things aren't ours.

You're dreaming. / Dream on. (A response some parents use when asked for something unreasonable, e.g., "Mommy, can you buy me a real helicopter?")

29. Holiday/ special day phrases

Happy Birthday

Today is your special day.

Today we're celebrating the day you were born.

This is your day.

Today is a very special day.

Can you guess what it is?

Merry Christmas

Happy New Year

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a good holiday season.

30. The adult world (seen from a child's eyes)

What are you going to be when you grow up? (Very common question adults ask children.)

I'm going to be a fireman!

I'm going to be a scientist like Mommy!

So what does your Dad/Mom do? (schoolchildren often ask each other this question, meaning, what's your parents' occupations)

Daddy/Mommy can't stay home because he/she has to work.

It's important to work to earn money.

We need money to buy food and clothing for you, and to pay for doctor's visits.

We can't play with you right now; we're balancing the checkbook.

You'll just have to amuse yourself.

31. Cuss words that (some) adults will let children use

shoot - euphemism for shit, meaning, I'm annoyed at something, "Oh, shoot"

rats - same as shoot, expressing irritation or annoyance

darn it (euphemism for damn it, which is offensive to some religious people)

drat - same as shoot, rats, generally indicated irritation or annoyance

heck (euphemism for hell, as in: What the heck! We had a heck of a time. What the heck are you doing?)

32. Cultural notes

Lots of men like to greet boys by saying "give me five"; they hold out their hand palmup, and the boy is supposed to slap it with his hand, palm down. This has a long history... but not everyone likes it being used on children.

hop on Pop = one way to describe the kind of roughhousing play where children love to jump all over their daddies


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