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Vocabulary for raising children

Raising and caring for children


Adopt (v)

to legally take the child of other parents into your family and become its permanent parent
  • They decided to adopt a baby girl.

Adoption (n)

the legal process of adopting a child
  • She put/gave her son up for adoption.



Adoptive (adj)

someone’s adoptive parent is the parent who adopted him or her
  • my adoptive mother

Babysit (v)

to take care of a child or children while their parents are not home for a short time
  • She asked me to babysit her kids.

Babysitter (n)

a person who takes care of a child or children while their parents are out, usually for money
  • We can’t find a reliable babysitter.

Breadwinner (n)

a person who earns money to support and provide for their family

Bring up (v)

American English. Raise
Synonym. Rear
to care for and teach a child until it is grown up
  • My mother brought me up after my father died.
  • He was born and brought up in India.
  • I was brought up to be polite.
  • He was raised by his maternal grandparents.
  • She reared a large family.

Childcare (n)

care provided for children whose parents are away or at work
  • She has certificates in childcare.
  • childcare facilities/services

Childproof (adj)

designed to prevent injuries or hazards to children
  • a childproof bottle/lock

Coddle (v)

to treat someone very well and give them too much care and attention
  • She coddled him when he was sick.
  • She coddled her son.

Crèche (n)

a place where babies and young children can be left for a certain period of time to be taken care of while their parents are busy

Day nursery (n)

American English. day care center
a place where children are taken care of during the day while their parents are at work

Curfew (n)

American English. a specific time by which children must be home in the evening or night
  • My curfew is 10 pm.
  • He does not have curfews.

Dependant (n)

American English. Dependent
a person, especially a family member, who needs you for money, food, clothes, etc.
  • Do you have any children or other dependants?

Discipline (v)

to teach someone, especially a child, to obey rules of behaviour
  • It is important to discipline your children.

Foster (v)

to take another's child into your family and without being the child's adoptive parent
  • The couple decided to foster (a child).

Ground (v)

to forbid someone to go out and spend time with friends as a punishment
  • His father grounded him for a week for lying.

Guardian (n)

someone who has the legal responsibility for taking care of another person, especially a child who has lost both parents

Homeschool (v)

to educate a child at home instead of sending him or her to a public or private school
  • They homeschooled all their kids.

Mothering (n)

the process of caring for and protecting children like a mother
  • Her mothering instinct is strong.

Nanny (n)

a woman who is paid to take care of a child or children in the family's home
  • She is working as a nanny for a rich family.

Nuclear family (n)

a family unit that consists of a mother, a father and one or more children

Extended family (n)

a family unit that includes the nuclear family and their other relatives such as grandparents

One-parent family (n)

American English. Single-parent family
a family that consists only one parent (either a father or a mother) and his or her child or children

Orphan (n)

a child whose biological parents are dead
  • an orphan girl/boy
  • She was left an orphan at an early age.

Parental (adj)

involving one or both parents
  • Parental responsibility

Toilet-train (v)

to teach a young child to use a toilet


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