French for Parents 101: Baby Talk, Vocabulary Lists (+ Tips!) - Talk in French
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French for Parents 101: Baby Talk, Vocabulary Lists (+ Tips!)

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Are you planning to raise a bilingual child? Are you moving to a French-speaking area and want to be able to talk to your kids in French? Or maybe you aren’t really a parent yourself but you spend a lot of time with french children or their parents?

No matter what your reasons may be, we know how important it is to find materials that will help you learn how to talk to children in French. So in this article, you’ll find plenty of resources that will be very useful in raising and/or interacting with French-speaking (or soon-to-be bilingual) kids.

The topics here include:

  • A list of words and phrases for baby talk: learn the words French parents use to talk to babies and toddlers
  • Vocabulary related to baby things: expand your vocabulary with the French words for baby stuff like crib, bib, milk bottle, etc.
  • Other useful tips: get links to child-friendly French movies, lullabies and nursery rhymes, a playlist of music for kids, and cartoon shows.

So whether you have a newborn baby (le nouveau-né), a toddler (un bambin), or a school-age kid, read up because this article has loads of great stuff in store for you.

But before anything else, here’s a little reminder. When talking to children in French, always remember to use “tu” and not vous. This applies to people who baby talks to their pets as well.

The vocabulary lists you’ll find here are also available in PDF format. Get it below.

French baby related vocabulary pdf download

So with that, let’s get started.

Lesson 1. Baby-Related Compliments

Let’s say you’re in a French-speaking place and you’re either with your baby or you’re meeting someone who brought their baby with them. You (or the other person) would of course, say nice things about the baby. Here’s what to say:

“Qu’il est mignon! / qu’elle est mignonne !” He/she is so cute!
“Qu’il est beau !” How handsome he is!

 

You could also say this (as long as it’s true).

“Qu’est-ce qu’il (ou elle) vous ressemble !” He/she looks just like you!

 

Or this one which is very commonly said by French people:

“il/elle est à croquer.” He/she looks good enough to eat.

 

In that last one, there’s no need to panic; nobody is going to eat your baby. It’s just an expression that is quite common not only to French people, but in other countries, too.

Lesson 2: Terms of endearment to call a baby

The French call their kids a lot of different nicknames. Some are quite silly and quirky and won’t translate well to other languages (like ma crotte which means “my poo”), but plenty of these terms revolve around words related to food or animals.

Here are some of the most popular:

Ma puceMy flea
Mon angeMy angel
Mon biquet My lamb
Mon chaton My kitten
Mon chou My sweetie (lit. cabbage; my pastry)
Mon chouchou My favorite
Mon coco My egg
Mon lapin My rabbit
Mon lapinou My bunny
Mon mignon My cutie
Mon poussin My baby chicken

You can also check out a separate article about French Terms of Endearment here. It has a total of 80 sweet pet names you can use for your baby (or for any loved one, in general).

 

Lesson 3: Baby Talk (Les Mots Des Bébés)

 

babytalk

French children, like their counterparts from other parts of the world, have their own set of words that are completely different from what the adults use everyday. You’ll notice that most of these words are usually derived from the actual words and repeated twice or just made a tad more cute-sounding.

So here, we have compiled a list of French baby talk terms that you can use when talking to children.

areuhbaby sounds; similar to googoo gaga
mamanmother
papadaddy
tata / tatie auntie; short for une tante
tontonuncle; short for oncle
mémé or Mamie grandma; short for grand-mère or bonne maman
pépé or Papi/ Papy grandpa; short for grand-père, grand-papa or bon papa
le dodo to sleep
au dodo ! go to bed!
fais dodo go night-night
un petit dodo nap time
le lolo milk; baby talk for le lait
tu veux du lolo ?You want milk?
jouons ! let's play!
guili guili tickle tickle
le nounours teddy bear; baby talk for 'un ours'
le doudou blankie (or stuffed animal) that a child goes to sleep with
le joujoutoy
le pipi pee
faire pipi to go wee-wee
le caca/ le popo poo
faire caca to go poo-poo
le prout fart; baby talk for 'une flatulence' (formal) or 'un pet' (informal)
le zizi / la zézetteweenie/ private part
un boboa boo-boo; baby talk for a cut or bruise
Ce n’est qu’un petit boboIt's only a small cut.
* used to soothe a child who hurt himself/herself
Un minoukitty
Un toutoudoggy
Un dadahorsey; baby talk for horse
Regarde le minou !
Regarde le toutou !Regarde le dada !
Look at the kitty!

Look at the doggy!

Look at the horsey!
* used to distract or play with the baby
Quel est le mot magique ?What's the magic word?
*You can ask the child this question when you want him/her to say thank you after you give him something.

Lesson 4: Vocabulary related to Baby Things

 

baby things

Of course, you also need to know what to call things and equipment babies and kids use. Here is a list:

le laitmilk
la chambre de bébébaby room/ nursery
le biberonbaby milk bottle
les couchesnappies/ diapers
l'épingle (f) de sûreténappy safety pin
Une tétine/ une sucettepacifier
la chaise hautehigh chair
la poussettestroller (push chair)
le landaua pram/ baby carriage
le porte-bébébaby carrier
le lit de bébécrib
la nourriture pour bébésbaby food
une poupéedoll
le berceaucot
le siège auto pour bébéscar safety seat for babies
le trotteurwalker
la bavettebib
le talc pour bébésbaby powder
la pommade calmantebaby cream

Lesson 5: French music for kids

Now that you already know how to talk to children in French and you already know what to call the baby necessities, let’s take it a step further with music you can play—and sing—for children.

Here is a nice video about French lullabies and nurseries rhymes. The lyrics may be found in the animated video, so you can sing along with your child or lull them to sleep with these songs.

I have also previously shared an article with a playlist of French songs for children. You can access it in this link.

If you also need child-friendly movies that you can watch with the children, there is also another article listing really nice movies. Check it out here.  Plus, if you would like some cartoons that will help immerse the children in the French language, you can check them out at Bandgee.com.

So, you’ve got the vocabulary, music, movies, cartoons… What else?

If your kids are between the ages of 7 to 12 years old, you can introduce them to the pleasures of reading by giving them a bilingual storybook. My new e-book <insert title> has 10 fun and exciting short stories that are perfect for children. It is written in parallel text (French and English) and comes with FREE audio recorded in both French and in English by native speakers.

It’s a very useful book for children—and for parents, too!

Check out the e-book by clicking the photo below.

French bedtime stories with English translations and audio

Do you have any other topics about kids that you want to read about here? Let me know in the comments. Don’t forget to share this to your friends and family who would benefit from this article. Merci!

About the Author Frederic

Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Twitter and Google +

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