April 14, 2021

Lying is a common behavior of 4-5 year olds and may be concerning to parents. As a provider, you can reassure parents that most lying is actually normal at this age and shows critical thinking skills. You can offer the following suggestions to parents when dealing with lying in young children:

1. Try not to shame or challenge your child about lying. For example, avoid calling the child a liar or asking if the child is lying when you know they are.

2. Try to find a gentle way to encourage your child to tell the truth. If you say “that sounds wild,” or “do you wish that happened” you can then help lead your child to revising their story and telling the truth. You can help your child recognize the difference between wishing something was true and it actually being true.

3. Thank your child for telling the truth, tell them that you’re proud of them for taking responsibility for their words and actions, and that they are brave when they fess up.

If you’re open and have a relaxed reaction, it will make your child feel safe to tell you the truth in the future.