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What do you call someone who gets along with children/babies?

A simple example:

He is such a ________, he makes all children smile.

A single word noun would be ideal but a phrase is acceptable also. There might be a colloquial word or phrase too.


For example, there is a phrase good mixer which means someone who can get along with everyone [See: second meaning of mixer]. So, what we are looking for is almost like a subtype of this characteristic.

There are words like likeable or easygoing but they are too general.

The closest word I could find is avuncular but it does not sound that suitable for this usage. I have never used this word in this way.

Kind and friendly towards a younger or less experienced person: he was avuncular, reassuring, and trustworthy

[oxforddictionaries]

Also, I'm not sure if we can use avuncular as a gender neutral word for this sense. [Because it is a masculine word for its anthropological sense]. It seems like there isn't a common word as a feminine version. Amicular and materteral is proposed in this previous ELU question: Is there a feminine equivalent to the adjective “avuncular”?

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    The most common phrasing in current usage is "He is good with children". Nice find with with avuncular, though.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 16:41
  • Specifically a man or both men and women? I think avuncular is best, although that also can be interpreted as "uncle-like".
    – Tim
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 16:41
  • @Tim: Both. a person.
    – ermanen
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 17:04
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    "S/he's such a softie,...", is sometimes said with affection and evokes images of grandparents and favourite aunts and uncles who spoil the smaller children in the family.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 17:14
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    If don't mind being colloquial, saying that someone is "a kid person" is the good-with-children equivalent of calling someone who's good with people "a people person."
    – Nicole
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 19:21

3 Answers 3

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Maternal and Paternal work in some cases.

Maternal
-- (of feelings) typical of a caring mother; motherly.

Paternal
-- of or appropriate to a father.

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I suggest avuncular. Here is part of a discussion of the term at Merriam-Webster Online:

Avuncular derives from the Latin noun avunculus, which translates as "maternal uncle," but since at least the 1830s English speakers have used "avuncular" to refer to uncles from either side of the family or even to individuals who are simply uncle-like in character or behavior.

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  • Avuncular really doesn't work, or rather it's a word for one way of getting along with kids, out of many possible ones. For instance, I get along with kids not because I'm the least bit avuncular, but because I never bothered to grow up :-)
    – jamesqf
    Commented Mar 5, 2017 at 5:45
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Consider pied piper

a person who entices others to follow him [Collins]

This term has a bit of a dark undertone, often suggesting ... follow him to their doom.

A common, but somewhat mundane phrase is he has a way [or such a way] with children. The specifics of way are left unstated, but it is universally understood to be

ability to get along well or perform well: she has a way with kids; a way with words [Merriam-Webster: 5.b.]

Your sentence might be rephrased

He has such a way with children; he makes them smile.

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    In the (happy) context given by the OP, pied piper is certainly not the answer. Way too sinister... :-) Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 23:22
  • "follow him to their doom" - yes, i'd say that's a "bit of a dark undertone". Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 8:03
  • So I guess "pedophile" isn't a good choice either?
    – fixer1234
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 22:27

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