Ask Difference

Kids vs. Children — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Maham Liaqat — Updated on April 18, 2024
"Kids" is a casual and informal term for young humans, often used in a more relaxed or affectionate context; "children" is the formal term, typically used in official, educational, or serious discussions.
Kids vs. Children — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Kids and Children


Key Differences

"Kids" is a colloquial term that conveys a sense of informality and affection. It is commonly used in everyday speech, family settings, and when speaking in a friendly or casual manner. On the other hand, "children" is the more formal term, appropriate in legal, academic, and professional contexts, and is used in written and spoken language where formality is required.
While "kids" may be favored in casual conversation and in less formal writing, "children" is preferred in any context that requires a specific acknowledgment of minors' rights or status, such as in policies, laws, or discussions about education and welfare. This distinction highlights how the choice of words can reflect the tone and intent of the communication.
In media and literature, "kids" often appears in works aimed at a general audience or in content that seeks to create a friendly, approachable tone. In contrast, "children" is used in textbooks, academic articles, and formal reports, underscoring its suitability in serious or scholarly discourse.
The use of "kids" can also imply a more familiar or endearing relationship, suggesting a level of comfort and closeness. "Children," meanwhile, maintains a level of distance and respect, appropriate in discussions that analyze behavior, development, or rights without personal attachment.
"Kids" might be used more freely in American English as part of the informal and relaxed style of communication, whereas "children" might be more prevalent in contexts emphasizing respect and formality, reflecting cultural nuances in language use.

Comparison Chart


Informal, colloquial.
Formal, official.

Usage Context

Casual conversations, friendly discourse.
Legal, academic, professional settings.


Affectionate, familiar.
Neutral, respectful.

Preferred Media

General audience content, casual advertising.
Academic texts, formal reports, policy documents.

Cultural Implication

Suggests closeness, informality.
Implies formality, respectfulness.

Compare with Definitions


Informal term for young humans.
The park was full of kids playing soccer.


Formal term for persons under the age of adulthood.
The school is designed to accommodate 500 children.


Often used in casual or marketing contexts.
Our new line of kids' sneakers is durable and stylish.


Used in legal, educational, and formal contexts.
Children’s rights are a crucial aspect of international law.


Used affectionately to refer to one's own children.
I'm taking the kids to the zoo this weekend.


Denotes a sense of seriousness and formality.
We need to discuss the effects of advertising on children.


Can denote a sense of fun and playfulness.
The movie is a hit with kids of all ages.


Frequently appears in scholarly or policy-related materials.
The study explores learning behaviors in children.


Commonly used in everyday conversation.
How many kids are in your son's class?


Suitable for official or respectful discourse.
All children are required to be vaccinated according to state law.


A young goat.


Plural of child.


One of the young of certain similar animals.


Plural of child.


The flesh of a young goat.


Pl. of Child.


Leather made from the skin of a young goat; kidskin.


An article made from this leather.


A child.


A young person.


(Slang)Pal. Used as a term of familiar address, especially for a young person
Hi, kid! What's up?.


Made of the skin or with the meat of a young goat.


(Informal)Younger than oneself
My kid brother.


To mock playfully; tease
They kidded me about my mismatched socks.


To deceive in fun; fool
I could only hope they were kidding me when they said my car had been stolen.


To deceive (oneself), especially by allowing one's desires to cloud one's judgment
You're kidding yourself if you think that plan will work.


To engage in teasing or good-humored fooling
You want that much for your old car? You must be kidding!.


To bear young. Used of a goat or similar animal.


Plural of kid

Common Curiosities

What is the difference between 'kids' and 'children'?

"Kids" is informal and casual, often used in everyday conversation, while "children" is formal and used in official or serious contexts.

Is it appropriate to use 'kids' in academic writing?

Generally, "children" is preferred in academic writing due to its formality and specificity.

Why is 'children' used in legal documents?

"Children" provides a clear, universally recognized term that specifies a legal category of persons, important in formal and legal contexts.

Can 'kids' be used in professional meetings?

It depends on the tone of the meeting; "children" is safer in formal settings, while "kids" might be acceptable in a more relaxed environment.

Are there contexts where both 'kids' and 'children' are appropriate?

In general discourse or informal discussions about youth, both terms can be used, though the choice should match the desired tone.

What are the implications of using 'kids' in advertising?

Using "kids" in advertising can create a friendly, approachable tone that may appeal more effectively to young audiences and their parents.

Does the media have a preference for one term over the other?

Media targeting children directly or covering topics of a serious nature may prefer "children," while more casual content might use "kids."

How do cultural perceptions affect the use of 'kids' vs. 'children'?

Cultural norms around formality and respect can dictate whether the more casual "kids" or the more formal "children" is appropriate in different contexts.

How do the terms 'kids' and 'children' reflect societal values?

The terms reflect societal attitudes towards youth, with "kids" showing a more relaxed, affectionate approach and "children" indicating formality and respect.

Is there a difference in the emotional connotation between 'kids' and 'children'?

"Kids" often carries a warmer, more affectionate connotation, while "children" is more neutral and formal.

What are the historical origins of 'kids' and 'children'?

"Children" comes from Old English 'cild,' used historically to refer to offspring, while "kids" originally referred to young goats before becoming slang for children.

When should I teach my child to use 'children' instead of 'kids'?

Teaching the use of "children" is appropriate when discussing school, formal situations, or any context where respect and formality are emphasized.

Can the use of 'kids' seem unprofessional?

In certain professional or formal settings, using "kids" might come off as too casual or insufficiently respectful.

Why might a teacher choose to use 'children' in the classroom?

A teacher might use "children" to maintain a formal and respectful atmosphere that emphasizes the educational setting.

Are there age limits associated with the terms 'kids' and 'children'?

Both terms generally refer to individuals from infancy up to the teenage years, though the exact range can vary by context and cultural perceptions.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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