"Attitude" has 2 main meanings

1 [countable] the way that you think and feel about somebody/something; the way that you behave towards somebody/something that shows how you think and feel

attitude towards somebody/something These societies have to change their

attitudes towards women.

the government’s attitude towards single parents

to have a positive/negative attitude towards somebody/something

attitude to somebody/something changes in public attitudes to marriage

attitude about something social attitudes about education

attitude on something changing attitudes on issues such as gay marriage

Youth is simply an attitude of mind.

If you want to pass your exams you'd better change your attitude!

If they can adopt that kind of attitude then the future looks very promising.

You're taking a pretty selfish attitude over this, aren't you?

2 [uncountable] confident, sometimes aggressive behaviour that shows you do not care about other people’s opinions and that you want to do things in an individual way

You'd better get rid of that attitude and shape up, young man.

Don't give me any attitude!

with attitude a band with attitude

Also, I by chance watched this video

It seems that American parents often say "you always have an attitude" or "you have an attitude problem" to their toddlers. Because they use "an attitude" as a countable noun so I guess it falls to the first meaning because the first meaning can be a countable or an uncountable noun & the second meaning con only be an uncountable noun.

And, I try to apply that saying to my situation.

That is:

My toddler always refuses to eat vegetables whenever I ask her to, can I say this "you have an attitude about vegetables" to him?

Sometimes, he likes to wear funky clothes, can I say "you are wearing clothes with attitude" to him?

Note: I really love these videos of parents talking to children in real life. I don't like English children teaching videos because they are too structured, they only use words that are too simple such as "play, run, cook, dance, etc", which do not reflex the real life situations very well. The vocabularies in real life are way more complicated and more exciting.

That is why even I master English structures i textbooks, I still can not express real life situations like a native speaker.

If you know any source that has a lot of real life English expressions between parents and children (For example, a kid asks "what is it?" Mom answers "It's a headband / hairpin, etc"; sometimes Mom sees the kind lying on the front, she says "lie on the side or back, not on the front", textbooks are not gonna teach you "headband or hairpin or lie on the side or front", they think those words are too specific, but we need to know those words in real situations to teach our children), please leave the links on the page. I would thank a lot for that.

Some of you may suggest English movies, but movies talk about some stories and are not interested in those real life situations like the above video.

  • Is your toddler a boy or a girl? In your title, you call the child both 'her' and 'him'. Commented Feb 13, 2021 at 16:19
  • 1
    Come on, try the Muppets.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 20:08

1 Answer 1


Short answer: Yes that is okay.

Slightly longer answer. It doesn't really matter. Toddlers are not competent English speakers, so she won't understand what you mean. There is no point discussing this in terms of "comprehension" because the word won't carry meaning to the toddler. So what is the context of this? It is then really a question about parenting and not about English. If you have chosen to speak English to your toddler, then just using a word slightly incorrectly won't harm her, especially not if they have other sources of English inside or outside the family.

A native speaker probably wouldn't use "attitude" since this is about the toddler's thoughts and feelings, and not about her behaviour. It's not the toddler's attitude, but just her actions. Older children develop an attitude, but young children just act on instinct, and instinctive behaviour isn't "attitude".

  • How do you suppose toddlers become English speakers? I wouldn't say it to a toddler but I would take great care when actually speaking to them. Because it will form the basis of their learning English.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 20:02
  • 1
    How do you suppose toddlers become English speakers? I dunno. It is one of the great mysteries of intelligence. Obviously through interaction with their parents, but also with their peers, yet they seem to learn despite mostly having baby language. People use natural language with errors and yet they learn. Anyway... this is ELL and the stack is about learning English as an additional language. Questions about teaching toddlers are odd misfits here.
    – James K
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 20:08
  • I agree the question is not great here. However, they learn because the caregivers say things they cannot say at first, but they understand them.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 20:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .