Is it wrong for educators to use the word ‘kids’?

Question: Is it wrong for educators to use the word ‘kids’?

Choose professional language to foster a culture of respect

Children use the word ‘kids’ when they talk about ‘other kids’, and adults use it when talking about ‘their kids’, for example. We know who people are talking about when they use the word ‘kids’, unless they happen to be goat breeders and they are talking about the baby (kid) goats they are raising.

Using the word ‘kids’ fits with a tendency in Australia to be more informal in many aspects of our language. The word ‘kids’ is often used as a friendly term and disrespect to children is not intended. A word like ‘kids’ is used so often that we may not stop to think about its appropriateness for educators to use.

As an educator, I would not say 'kids' when talking to or about the children in my setting or when talking to their families, not because it is a bad word, but because it is not professional language. We show our respect for children by using their names rather than calling them by some other word such as 'darling' or 'sweetie'. Using the word 'children' rather than 'kids' matches with that level of respect.

Dr Anne Kennedy
Early Childhood Consultant

Is it wrong for educators to use the word ‘kids’?