7 things you should NEVER to say to a toddler

There are certain words that you should NEVER say to a toddler and the only way around communicating them to others is by spelling them out. You must have heard other parents doing it. Every child is different so will bring with them their own list. You will probably be able to add to the list until the child is old enough to work out what you are spelling.

Please, I beg you, for your own sakes, l-i-s-t-e-n to this….

 B-y-e. Imagine the scene. You’ve had a lovely morning with your friend/mum/auntie/cousin (delete as applicable) and they are getting ready to go. As soon as the start to move towards the door queue the toddler clinging to their ankle, kicking and screaming. “Nooooooooooooo”. Take a deep breath. Remove toddler from leg and roll your eyes at your friend/mum/auntie/cousin. In future, just a simple act of saying I’d better g-o or -s-e-e y-o-u l-a-t-e-r and slipping out of the door by crawling out commando-style could avert all tears.

 B-a-t-h. Whether your little one love or hate bath time, by spelling it out, you are diffusing a situation before it happens. Trying to sneak the water into the bath and whipping the child in so quickly they have no time to protest or telling someone you are having dinner earlier this evening as it is b-a-t-h night so the little one doesn’t hot-foot it up the stair demanding a ‘splish-splash; there and then. Simple.

 U-p-s-t-a-i-r-s. You know the deal, you tidy the living room at least 15 times an hour so the last thing you want is them going upstairs to mess up there too. Spell it out to whoever you need to tell or better still, tell said toddler you are doing something really boring so they will have no interest in following. I obviously do not advocate lying to children but surely a little white lie can’t hurt?

 C-h-o-c. Oh the dreaded word. My little chocoholic asks for it from morning until night. She would have it for breakfast if she could. I am lucky I suppose, I didn’t give her ‘choc’ until she was over a year old so I have had it for less time than some but still. With toddlers, it’s all a matter of diversion techniques. ‘Oooo look at this lovely apple/grape/blueberry (how long will this work for?)

B-e-d. Ouch the worst. I do the bedtime routine in our house and have learnt from bitter experience, bed should never, never be uttered. Children are bound to say no. Who needs sleep when there’s Peppa Pig on until 11pm. There are toys that haven’t been played with for at least 15 minutes and choc to demand for a bit longer. Surely mum and dad will give in. Sometimes my husband says ‘are you going to bed?’ If looks could kill. ‘Why? Why? Why?’ Never EVER ask if she is going to bed.

 O-u-t-s-i-d-e. Living on a farm with a toddler is a nightmare sometimes. She doesn’t get it that wellies must be worn at all times. Mud gets into the crevices of leather shoes so much and even toothbrushes doesn’t always get it off. Come rain, shine, snow or wind, the farm is an exciting place for my little one so going o-u-t-s-i-d-e, unless you want her to come too is fraught with danger.


D-u-m-m-i-e. Or ‘dum’ as we call it in our house. At nearly three, we are hoping to rid ourselves of this option soon but until then, if we go out anywhere we constantly as ‘have you got a d-u-m?’ We have to spell it out or she would want it. Now.


This list is not conclusive. You may add or take away your own no-no’s. It is a constant learning curve living with a toddler and none of us get it right. For all the time we do it wrong, the only answer is w-i-n-e.


  1. Lol my son loves the word BATH! I guess I am lucky. He used to be bad with the BYE though, but now he’s three and he’s gotten better (but there have still been tears). We often spell out words so he won’t understand 😉

  2. Can’t believe I have only just found your blog – how great is it here! Love the way you write – and man alive, the solution is definitely b-e-d for the kids, and w-i-n-e for the grown-ups! Great post, will be sure to check out more! x

  3. Great stuff!! I think I must’ve erased from my mind the words that used to trigger strops in our house, I can’t remember any. They’re much fewer now, thank god!! Although they can now figure out the words we spell. Damn it!

  4. hahaha! Even though we’ve been “diddy” (dummy) free for nearly a year, we can’t say the word out loud as it becomes an obsession for the next three days. GIN.

  5. Brilliant! We have to spell out Bath or my eldest runs straight to the bathroom expecting it straightaway! She hasn’t caught on yet…

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