Build a Foundation of Trust – Lead by example by keeping your word to your preschooler. If you promise that you’ll spend time reading her stories before bedtime, keep that promise. If you can’t, don’t make excuses. Apologize for breaking your promise and make amends. Let him learn to trust that you also keep your word.
Explain the Value of Honesty – Even after you constantly remind them that not telling the truth is a bad thing, your child may only grasp the moral implications of lies after the age of six. To positively reinforce honesty, you can use various stories to drive home your point like “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” or use family history anecdotes that may be appropriate (“When I was a little girl, I once broke lola’s favorite vase. She asked me who did it and I told her that it was my fault. She was very sad but she told me she loved me and I promised never to do it again…”) or use real-life stories from saints, heroes or famous people. It is important to make note of two facts: that honesty is important, and that lies may have serious repercussions.
Be Clear About What You Want - It is very important to establish boundaries of what is proper behavior with your preschooler—using concrete examples helps. Having ice cream is all right for dessert after supper, but not right before a meal. Making watercolor palm prints is okay on paper, but not on the family dog. With experience and time, your little girl will be able to assess for herself what actions are appropriate for what situations. Hopefully, she will carry those lessons with her into adulthood.
Click here to learn more about humor youring preschooler's fantasies, avoiding accusations and how to sympathize and put yourself in his shoes.