50 French Terms of Endearment for a Child (Daughter and Son)

50 French Terms of Endearment for a Child (Daughter and Son)

If you want to explore the French language with your little one, French terms of endearment for a child are a fun way to learn some of the most playful and delightful words.

There are countless termes d'affection d'un enfant. Lots are well-known in other languages, but some of the quirkiest ones are totally French.

Many surnoms mignons (cute nicknames) can be mixed together to create more personalized pet names. Even just adding a petit or petite dials up the cuteness.

Despite nearly limitless possibilities, there are some affectionate nicknames you will hear time and again in playgrounds and family homes across France. We've picked out 50 of them: a list of beloved French terms of endearment for a child, complete with translations and audio clips.

Oh, and to make those tricky gender agreement rules a breeze, we’ve included the possessive mon (masculine) or ma (feminine) to easily identify which group they belong to.

The Most Popular Affectionate French Names for Children

It will always be a mystery why moms and dads choose to call one child “mon chaton” (my kitten) and another “mon canard” (my duck).

Yet, for all the imaginative pet names parents can think of, there are some nicknames that generations of French parents instinctively reach for. French terms of endearment for a child that never go out of fashion, like the first ten on our list. 

Mon chou, mon chouchou - Perhaps the most common terms of affection in France, used for kids and adults. Translates as my cabbage (kids love cabbage, right?) More fittingly, it also refers to a dainty pastry cream puff. Use in place of “my darling”.

Mon amour - My love (another one for kids and adults)

Ma puce - My flea (in the cutest sense)

Mon bébé - My baby

Mon chéri, ma chérie - My darling (works for everyone, regardless of age)

Mon ange - My angel

Mon poulet, ma poule - My chicken

Mon coeur - My heart

Mon trésor - My treasure

Mon poussin - My chick (as heard in a popular rhyme that helps children learn French gestures - see video below)

French Terms of Endearment for Your Daughter

Most affectionate French nicknames are suitable for boys and girls. But not all of them. Getting it wrong could be a matter of immeasurable importance for children worried about their playground credibility. With that in mind, we’ve picked out specific French terms of endearment for your daughter that she will love.

Ma princesse - My princess

Ma belle - My pretty (use this in conjunction with other pet names, like princesse, to win bonus smiles)

Ma fée - My fairy

Ma pépette - My baby

Ma poupette - My doll

Ma petite sirène - My little mermaid

Ma coccinelles - My ladybug

Ma fifille - My little girl

Ma choupinette – Um, no precise translation available for this made-up word! A play on the popular term, mon chou, best understood as "My cutie". If you’re still unsure about how to say this one, check out a gentle lullaby that sings it beautifully below.

French Terms of Endearment for Your Son

Just as there are some French terms of endearment specifically for girls, there is a handful typically reserved for boys (even grown-up ones). To avoid a faux pas your son will never forgive, here are some French terms of endearment for your son that they might appreciate, even if they don't show it.

Mon lutin- My elf

Mon étoile - My star

Mon prince - My prince

Mon papillon - My butterfly

Mon beau - My handsome (works for all ages)

Mon loulou - My little one

Mon ours - My bear (one for cuddly guys too)

Mon caneton - My duckling (like the 5 petit caneton in the fun nursery rhyme below)

French Terms of Endearment for Special Moments

You might already have one or two heartfelt and meaningful nicknames you reach for when you're bursting with pride and want your little one to know it. Some of the most versatile French terms of endearment for a child are perfect for those rare and precious moments. Here’s the best of them.

Mon petit champion – My little champ

Mon villain - My naughty (an affectionate way to acknowledge any destruction your young one has caused)

Mon petit monstre - My little monster

Ma lutine - My elf (perfect for little helpers at Noël)

Ma mie – My love (possibly derived from pain de mie — soft bread. Other sources claim it is an old-fashioned use of amie, meaning friend or girlfriend/boyfriend)

Ma douce – My sweet

Mon mignon, ma mignonn - My cutie

Mon ver de terre – My earthworm. Ideal for restless little ones. (If you are trying to calm a wriggly little one, the short comptine — nursery rhyme — about a worm below may help)

Animals as affectionate French nicknames

The animal kingdom is a source of many affectionate names for children (and sometimes pets) in France.

Any animal with even a smidgen of cuteness works, making these terms an engaging way for children to pick up French words and diminutives for some beloved animals. Which explains why they get their own section on this list.

The following entries are well-used French terms of endearment for a child, even the slightly unexpected ones.

Ma biche - My doe

Ma caille - My quail

Ma crevette - My shrimp

Mon lapin - My rabbit

Mon lapinou - My bunny

Mon petit caneton – My little duckling

Mon canard - My duck

Mon biquet, ma biquette - My goat

Mon chaton - My kitten (as heard in the chanson below, which not only helps get the pronunciation right, it also layers on kitten sound effects for good measure)

Best of the rest

We wrap up our list with some of the most peculiar French terms of endearment for a child. Ones that are impossible to categorize but too delightful to ignore. You can even try these ones out on the older loved ones in your life, with only a slight risk of causing embarrassment…

Mon sucre d'orge - My candy cane

Mon trognon - My core, or fruit core (swap for “apple of my eye”)

Mon rayon de soleil - My ray of sunshine

Mon ciel étoilé - My starry sky

Mon bijou – My jewel (or my precious)

Mon petit bout - My little bit (can be added to other sweet names too, like the petit bout de chou in the calming berceuse or lullaby below). For more awesome French lullabies, make sure to check out our blog post on the 10 French Lullabies Your Baby Will Love

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