As experienced child care givers in Newtown, we are no strangers to behavioral issues. When children are around three or four years old, they are learning about how parents and teachers respond to different things, and testing their limits. One common behavioral problem that happens at around this age is lying.
The first thing that our daycare center wants you to know about lying is that it isn’t usually malicious for young children. In most cases, kids that have just discovered lying don’t understand that it is wrong. Once you understand why your child is lying, you can help to resolve the issue. There are essentially two main categories of lies that small children tell: tall tales and lies for self preservation.
Children use their imaginations every day when they play, and sometimes, the lines between reality and fantasy are blurred in their minds. In some cases, your child may even believe the tall tales that they tell their friends! Children also understand that lying can help them get out of trouble, so it is no wonder that a child will tell you that they didn’t eat the cookies or paint on the wall. Again, children aren’t doing this to be malicious, they just don’t want to get into trouble!
Dealing with a lie can be challenging, but it is important to handle the situation wisely. Don’t accuse them or get angry with them. Instead, point out the lie, and acknowledge the reason for it. Punishing a child for something that they don’t know is wrong won’t get you anywhere. A better alternative would be to explain to them about why lying is bad.