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Teach Kids the Importance of Using Kind Language

You’ve probably heard the old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Although words may not have the power to cause physical harm, they can cause harm in less obvious ways. Words have a profound influence on opinions and behavior on both conscious and subconscious levels, and this is especially true for impressionable children learning how language works.

Even though calling animals “it” and using phrases like “kill two birds with one stone” might seem harmless, they’re examples of speciesist language, which sends children the message that other animals are less important than humans and undeserving of kindness and respect. Calling animals “he,” “she,” or “they” and using kind phrases like “feed two birds with one scone” can express the same ideas without the unkind imagery and harmful implications. That’s why TeachKind, PETA’s humane education program, created “Words Matter: A Language Guide for Teaching and Raising Kind Kids” to help teach children about the power of words and the importance of using respectful language for all.

This guide is full of helpful information for educators, parents, and guardians on how to navigate away from harmful language and teach children that words matter. You’ll find inspirational and thought-provoking quotes, a sneak peek at our animal-friendly idioms, ideas for kind language activities, and other free resources—like animal-friendly versions of nursery rhymes and songs! 

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