Raising Little Vegans: How to Talk To Kids About Veganism
Children are naturally inquisitive and if you follow a vegan diet, at some point they are going to start asking questions.
Why don’t we eat meat?
Where does meat come from?
Why do their friends eat meat?
Whatever the question, answering a complex and emotionally loaded question about being vegan can be difficult. Discussing veganism with children requires a sensitive and age-appropriate approach. Starting the conversation can be the most difficult part, but it is important to talk about these things with children. If they don’t hear it from you, they will hear it from someone else, and likely be misinformed or hear things they aren’t ready for.
If you aren’t sure where to start, read on to learn more about talking to kids about veganism.
What is Veganism?
Before you can explain veganism to your kids, it helps to have a good understanding of it yourself. In simple terms, being vegan is a way of living that avoids all animal products. This includes meat, dairy, eggs, honey, as well as products such as leather or fur. It is a personal choice to be compassionate to animals, act more sustainably, and care about the planet.
Explaining veganism to children can be tricky, particularly when the world around them isn’t even remotely vegan. If you follow these tips and encourage open and honest conversations, navigating veganism with your children can be simple.
Tips for Talking to Kids About Veganism
1/ Avoid Harsh and Scary Language
Learning about animal welfare can be scary and a lot of the language around that is harsh and to the point, but for children this can be scary and make them nervous to learn more. Tailor your language to be more positive when discussing animal wellbeing. Talk about the positives of being vegan, such as how you are saving animals or you get to try lots of new tasty vegan foods.
2/ Tailor The Conversation To Your Child
There is no one size fits all approach to talking to children about veganism. Every kid is different and that means the conversation will be different for each child. If you have a more sensitive child, keep the conversations as light-hearted as possible and focused on positive actions you can take. If your child is super inquisitive and loves science, you could go to museums and focus on climate change or the positive impacts veganism has.
3/ Age-Appropriate Activities
Sit-down conversations are not the only way to explain veganism to your children. Especially for young ones, they may lose interest or have difficulty grasping complex topics. Incorporating your plant-based, animal loving lifestyle into their daily activities through books, art, and activities is a great way to have kids engage and start conversations.
Here are some great activities you can try with children of different ages.
12 months and younger
🌻 Board books
🌻 Wooden animal toys
🌻 Soft animal toys
Similar to the activities for younger children, but with more conversation about the animals. You could play games with animals in the wild or have tea parties (featuring your fave vegan snacks) with stuffed animals.
🌻Visit an animal sanctuary
🌻Books about wildlife & animals
🌻Let them help you cook plant-based foods – you can explain as you go along what you are using and why there are no animal products
At this age, kids are developing more critical thinking skills and a sense of empathy. You can begin to introduce concepts of veganism as a lifestyle that is compassionate to animals and protects the environment. You can talk about healthy eating and enjoying all the amazing plant-based foods we have on offer.
🌻Plant a wildlife garden
🌻 Encourage them to do more cooking and help make family meals
🌻 Visit animal sanctuaries (but not petting zoos, and here’s why!)
🌻 Visit natural history museums
🌻 Explore local nature reserves
Preteens and Teens
Your preteens might be more resistant to change if this is a new lifestyle for the family. It is essential to approach the topic of veganism in a gentle and non-judgmental way. Explain in a grown-up way, why you have chosen to go vegan and why the family is involved. Leave them space to think about this and allow them to ask questions. At this age, you can discuss the deeper reasons for going vegan, such as the unethical treatment of farm animals and the impact of farming on the environment.
Activities they might enjoy could be
🌻Vegan cooking classes
🌻Volunteering at animal shelters
🌻Participating in local conservation efforts like beach cleanups
🌻 Watch documentaries like ‘cowspiracy’ or ‘forks over knives’
4/ Connect With the Vegan Community
Joining a vegan group or connecting with vegan families normalizes being vegan. It helps to connect with others who are like-minded and share the same values. Look out for vegan festivals, join Facebook groups, or start your own community and come together to share amazing food and ideas. Your children seeing other people who share similar values will help them to understand it better and make them feel like they belong.
Discussing veganism with your kid can be a challenging yet crucial task. By approaching the conversation with sensitivity and age appropriate explanations, parents can help their children understand the impact of their choices on the world around them.
We have two wonderful books for children which aim to help them on their journey to understand animal welfare and farming – 100% of our proceeds go towards animal rights organizations (yes, we do this for love, not money!)
The second in a trilogy of beautifully illustrated children’s books, this story about the compelling journey of a young chicken named Cluck, told by a sage parrot.