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How to Encourage Your Toddler to Call You Mama

For most parents, hearing their toddler utter their first words, particularly “mama” or “daddy,” is a momentous occasion. However, it can be quite discouraging when your toddler seems to ignore your coaching and refuses to call you “mama.” Let’s delve into the reasons your toddler won’t call you mama and some effective strategies for addressing this issue.

How to Encourage Your Toddler to Call You Mommy

If you’re struggling with getting your toddler to call you “mommy”, here are some effective strategies that can help:

  1. Use Consistent Labels: Consistently refer to yourself as “mommy” when interacting with your toddler. For instance, you might say, “Mommy is going to get you a snack,” instead of, “I’m going to get you a snack.” This can help your child associate the term with you.
  2. Repetition: Repetition is key in language learning. Try to use the term “mommy” regularly throughout the day to help your child learn the word.
  3. Reading Books: There are many children’s books that use the terms “mommy” and “daddy.” Reading these books can help your child learn these terms and understand their meaning.
  4. Positive Reinforcement: If your toddler says “mommy”, respond enthusiastically and offer praise. This encourages your toddler to use the word again.

Why My Son Doesn’t Call Me Mom

There can be several reasons why a child may not call their parent “mom” or “mommy”. This could be because they’re still developing their language skills, they find the word hard to pronounce, or they’ve just picked up another name for you and are sticking with it. If your child is otherwise developing normally and communicating effectively, it’s usually not a cause for concern.

Toddler Rejecting Mom

It’s common for toddlers to go through phases where they prefer one parent over the other. This can feel hurtful, but it’s a normal part of child development and doesn’t mean your child loves you any less. The reasons for this could range from asserting independence, dealing with separation anxiety, or simply going through a phase. Maintaining consistency and patience can help you navigate this stage.

Age Kids Start Saying “Mom” Instead of “Mommy”

The transition from “mommy” to “mom” varies widely among children. Some may start as early as their pre-school years, while others may not make the transition until they are older, perhaps in their pre-teen or teenage years. Often, this transition is influenced by what the child hears around them. If older siblings or peers refer to their parents as “mom” and “dad”, younger children may start to do the same.

Reasons Your Toddler Isn’t Calling You Mama

You’re Always Available

One theory suggests that if the mother is the primary caregiver or always around the toddler, they may not feel the need to address her as “mama” as she is always present. Learning language is a gradual process, and “mama” may not be a priority if the child knows you’re always there.

Developing a Sense of Self

In the first year of life, the bond between mother and child is strong, making it hard for the child to see you as a separate entity. This close bond can delay the use of the term “mama” until they learn to differentiate between themselves and others.

‘Dada’ is Easier to Say

The word “dada” is easier to pronounce than “mama,” so don’t be disheartened if your toddler says “dada” first. It’s not a reflection of favoritism but merely a language development process.

Language Development Variances

Every toddler develops at their own pace, and language acquisition is no exception. Some toddlers might not use terms like “mama” or “daddy” until they’re two years old or even older. If you’re worried about your child’s language development, consult your pediatrician.

They Have Their Own Name for You

While “mama” holds significance for you, for your toddler, it’s just another word. Your toddler might be calling you something else entirely without you even realizing it.

Single-minded Toddlers

Toddlers have a clear idea about what things are and aren’t. They may have labeled you as something else in their mind, and they’re sticking with it.

Are You Playing the Label Game?

Ensure that you and others in the child’s life consistently refer to yourself as “mama” to make the association clearer.


Bilingual toddlers may develop their language skills more slowly than their peers. They’re learning two languages simultaneously, which can slow the process down but doesn’t harm their overall development.

The Role of Sleep in Your Toddler’s Development

Sleep deprivation can impact many aspects of your toddler’s development, including language acquisition. Lack of quality sleep may result in difficulties with communication and social interaction, contributing to your toddler’s reluctance to call you “mama.” Thankfully, offers a comprehensive sleep program that encourages the natural regulation of your child’s sleep hormones, leading to improved sleep quality. Improving your toddler’s sleep could encourage them to use terms like “mama” more frequently.


It’s crucial to understand that each child develops at their own pace. If your toddler won’t call you mama, consider the reasons mentioned above and patiently continue to encourage their language development. Moreover, paying attention to their sleep quality with resources like can be beneficial in promoting overall development and improving their language skills.

13 thoughts on “How to Encourage Your Toddler to Call You Mama”

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