French for Beginners: Toddler Edition

eiffel-tower-1064991_1280Remember the French textbooks from school? The ones filled with all the useful phrases? Where is the bank? Is there a swimming pool near here? Useful as long as you planned to spend your time in France searching for a bank to fund your swimming habits.

Well, it has occurred to me that what I didn’t learn in five years of French were any of the vital phrases one would need to travel in France with a toddler. How would one cope? Find the bank? As if parents have any money. Go swimming? With a toddler? Do we have to?

So, for all those other toddler parents out there worried about these glaring gaps in their French knowledge, here is my exclusive, never-to-be-published, textbook: French for Beginners With Additions for Owners of Toddlers.


Standard Version

I am called…

Je m’appelle…

I have brown hair.

J’ai les chevaux brun.

I have one sister.

J’ai une soeur.

I like cats.

J’aime les chats.

I hate parsnips.

Je deteste panais.

Toddler Version

I am called MUUUUMMMMYY!


I am younger than I look.

Je suis plus jeune que je regarde.

I like sleep.

J’aime dormir.

I hate Peppa Pig.

Je deteste Peppa Pig.

I have two toddlers. Help.

J’ai deux bambins. Aidez-moi.


Standard Version

I am wearing a jumper and a skirt.

Je porte un pull et une jupe.

Toddler Version

My toddler is wearing a tutu, a dressing gown, Wellington boots and a Batman cape.

Mon bambin est vetu d’un tutu, une robe de chambre, bottes et une cape de Batman.


Standard Version

Do you speak English?

Parlez-vous Anglais?

I don’t know.

Je ne sais pas.

Toddler Version

Do you speak Teletubby?

Parlez-vous Teletubby?

I don’t bloody know.

Je ne bloody sais pas.


Standard Version

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, dix.

Toddler version

One, two, three, four, five, six, se…why won’t you say seven? What’s wrong with seven?

Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, se…pourquoi ne vous dire sept? Ce qui ne vas pas avec sept?


Standard Version

The cat is black.

Le chat est noir.

Toddler Version

The cat is…green! My god, why is the cat green?

Le chat est…vert! Mon dieu, pourquoi le chat est-il vert?


Standard Version

I would like a room with a big bed.

Je voudrais une chambre avec un grand lit.

Is breakfast included?

Le petit dejeuner est-il inclus?

Toddler Version

I would like a room with a big bed. For the toddler to sprawl across. And a travel cot for me.

Je voudrais une chamber avec un grand lit. Pour le bambin a l’etalement sur. Et un lit voyage pour moi.

Is jam included?

Est confiture inclus?


Standard Version

Where is the bank?

Ou est la banque?

Have you seen a bank near here?

Avez-vous vu une banque pres d’ici?

I seem to be lost.

Je semble etre perdu.

Toddler Version

Where is the toddler?

Ou est le bambin?

Have you seen a toddler near here?

Avez-vous vu un bambin pres d’ici?

I seem to have lost a toddler.

Je semble avoir perdu un bambin.

Where is the bank? I need to buy a toddler. Came with one, leaving with one.

Ou est la banque? Je besoin d’acheter un bambin. Est venu avec un, laissant un.


Standard Version

I need to see a doctor.

J’ai besoin de voir un medecin.

Toddler Version

I need to see a doctor who specialises in lego extraction.

J’ai besoin de voir un medecin qui se specialise dans l’extraction de lego.


(Apologies to all fluent French speakers for the French, which is almost certainly only vaguely French. Blame my school – they only taught me how to find the bloody bank on my way to the swimming pool.)


  1. Haha this is fantastic…

    I love France and have yet to take Henry, so I’m now armed and ready to take on the French.

    Ou est le bambin x that took 10min to memorise and 10 more to remove auto spell correct, haha

    Renee @peonieandme #bestandworst

  2. Linda Hobden says:

    Brill! ? Talking of numbers and not saying the number 7 …. well my 11 year old son is learning German at school & hates saying the number 6 -“sechs” – pronounced similar to “sex”! He either cringes with embarrassment or sniggers depending on whether he is with his mates/younger brother or reciting his numbers to an adult! ?

  3. Tooting Mama says:

    Great! We live in France now and we were so ill-equipped. My kids had done French after school club, what a waste of time! They are now in a bi-lingual school and learning French the French way (tough – its verbs, adjectives, adverbs), dictee, memorising poems to perfect the accent!

    And I need French to – call a plumber when the drains are blocked, at the bank, at the doctors, pharmacy! It’s been crash course for me!
    Thanks for sharing #BloggerCluBUK

  4. Sharon Parry says:

    Haha loved this. Languages have never been my strong point. I should try toddler French instead! Or perhaps Teletubby would be more my style!

  5. Topfivemum says:

    brilliant! I love seeing other people having fun with languages. My hubby is French and my 2 year old toddler speaks French with my English-Geordie accent. “Pourquoi oeil homme, animal domestique” (why eye man, pet) LOL #ablogginggoodtime

  6. MMT says:

    Love this! We should do a #coolmumclub day trip to France…and leave all the toddlers at home with the papa’s. Just so they don’t get lost of course πŸ˜‰
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub! J’adore!

  7. My limited French (as in non-existent) saw me working in a French patisserie/cafe during my uni years. My Aussie drawl used in the pronunciation of ‘croissant’ (or everything else, really) was quite embarrassing and I never could quite get my head around it. Thanks for the quick tips. #FridayFrolics

  8. I can remember such useful phrases as “je vais jouer le ping pong sur le weekend” I find I need to say that I will be playing ping pong at the weekend all the time when visiting France. And why did we always need to know where the bank and ‘Town Hall’ was? So true about the lounging toddler and the travel cot pour les parents!! #Friday Frolics

  9. Happy Mummy says:

    I nearly choked on my drink!! That’s is hysterical I particularly loved the finding of a bank to fund swimming habit & lego extraction – there’s nothing quite like stepping on a Lego brick is there ? X

  10. James Hopes says:

    My lasting memory of our French textbooks at school was that someone had drawn penises all the way through it connecting any two people in close proximity. That was regrettably my most interesting memory of French. Your version is far more enjoyable and useful. #FridayFrolics

  11. I remember very little of the french I learnt at school, but one phrase does stick in my head. It is probably not one that you SHOULD say to your kids, but I bet there are many times in the day when you want to say ferme la bouche #picknmix

  12. Excellente! My days of Tricolore and conjugating verbs with etre have all coming flooding back to me. The one phrase that every parent needs to know… “Est confiture inclus?” Fantastic! ? Thanks for hosting x #fridayfrolics

  13. John Adams says:

    Nice selection of French phrases. I am teaching my kids French as it happens as I speak a few words. Without meaning to put a downer on things, the pound has tanked to such a point we simply can’t afford to visit! #TheList

  14. Min says:

    Oh I have fond memories of the French textbooks at school. Tales of French exchange students with names like Fifi Folle and Denise Dontcomeback, plus all that info about La Rochelle and how to find the bank and swimming pool. French was fab! #fridayfrolics

  15. Haha, these are just the phrases a toddler owner needs in France! So much more use than learning to ask ‘Where is the library?’ which is about all I can remember from French at school. I loved the Lego extraction one! ~#fridayfrolics

  16. You too learnt French with le chat noir? I have one of those old textbooks somewhere at home. May I ask where you got some of the examples from? Google translator? It’s so funny. I love the one about being younger than what you look, key sentence here! lol #KCACOLS

  17. Jane Taylor says:

    Can you do a German one next week? I can only say I’ve got a brown skirt and I am 13 years old…Neither of which apply now! Loved this. I’m impressed you know the standard and toddler versions! #KCACOLS

  18. hehe this is super funny πŸ™‚ why do toddlers always come up with random colours for things – and random numbers – when I know he knows his numbers and colours! at the mo everything is called a pinky piney ponky pong. what? Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday!

  19. Sonia says:

    Ha ha! I was only taught how to ask where the library was and the way to the beach! Of course you always need a library when beach holidaying in France! X#KCACOLS

  20. Love a bit of the casual Francais! I’ve been taking mine to a French class for a while and I was so bloody impressed with myself for knowing what ‘cat’ is in French. I can count to 20, do all the colours, and get round a farm. Life skills right there. Thanks for linking to #Chucklemums!

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