The morning routine at school is the same everyday: take off coat, check in by moving your photo to the "At School" board, and wash your hands. We've been doing the same drill every school day for almost nine months now. Recently though, after completing steps one and two, Big A has begun heading straight for the sensory table or another activity. Upon prompting of "Did you wash you hands?" a quick response of "Yes!" is received, when in fact, the bathroom has not even been visited. The first few instances seemed like a game, a ploy to get to the activity of choice faster, but a couple of weeks later it dawned on me that a discussion about telling the truth might be warranted.
Telling fibs is actually not uncommon in the toddler/preschool years, and the self-serving kind are the first type of lies many toddlers will try out. In a stage where it is "all about me," the urge to adjust the truth for personal benefit is certainly part of the experiential learning process. Around the age of three and a half children begin to understand that they can purposely use language to convey a message that isn't true. A child may tell a lie because they think it is funny, to place blame, avoid doing something they do not way to, or to play with you. Knowing when lying behavior can appear and why it happens is an important starting point as you manage this component of toddler development.
How you respond to these early tales is just as important as recognizing their occurrence. Here are a few tips for finding the truth in the toddler tale, and helping to build character along the way:
Watching your toddler tell a tale can be funny, embarrassing, and even frustrating. Do your best to remain consistent, calm, and patient if/when your toddler starts telling fibs. As with any concept, your child will need time to understand that lying is wrong. Parenting requires a great deal of patience and this particular part of toddlerhood is no exception.
How do you feel about your child's fibbing and what strategies have you found helpful in these situations?
ABOUT CHRISSY K
I am mom to three boys (one with several life-threatening food allergies) who will never own too many picture books or create Pinterest-worthy snacks. Simply Chrissy K is a place to find helpful tips on parenting that stem from my work with families and design ideas based on our adventures building a home from the ground up.
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