First we need to know why children tell lie. Because of
- Loss: if they feel that you can take something from them like their toys, room or you can stop them from going outside, playing with other children, eating ice cream or any kind of loss they may face
- Pain: If you can beat them or scold very harshly
- Embarrassment: Scolding in front of their friends, non-family members, or in presence of younger brother-sister etc.
Remember that this is not only you who can afraid your child, sometimes they get afraid seeing other parents doing the same thing with their children.
Do they really deserve for the punishment?
Children are curious to try out new things. This is how they learn. You must have noticed babies chewing/licking things or kids rubbing crayons on the wall or furniture. These all are the ways, unconcious mind use to learn about unknowns. And when you try out something new, there is fair chance to commit mistakes.
Although they start it for learning purpose but since they don't know what is wrong in this, they keep doing this. And some times they start taking interest in doing this.
So the punishment depends on wheather this is their first attempt, are they doing it for learning purpose or just for fun etc. But before punishment explain them it's cosequences, like: if it is broken you'll not be able to play with this again.
Let's understand them first
- They are not good to understand in words. Better to show some motivating cartoon or rhyme or other child doing the same thing in better way. Again!!! don't ask them to be like others. Let them notice by themselves.
- They are not good in linking with past events. So explain them only when something happens.
- Colours, glittering materials, lights, or something which is not in their day to day life or they are not used to with, can fetch kids' attention. That's why they even ignore what parents say or do. For them, parents are just like a security guard.
- Children are greedy: if you take something from them, they'll not be happy and more concerned. If you give something, even useless, they'll be happy.
- They don't rely on you or your promises: Children are impatient to wait while you complete your promises. In early age they don't even understand what is promise. So if you tell them you are gonna let them watch rhymes once they finish food. They'll just ignore your words, and will start crying for rhymes.
Better ways of explaining
Fogging (Being agree)
Think twice before you punish them. There can be many alternative ways. Discuss with them and try to know the reason why they did it. Don't start with stating that they are wrong that's why you wanna discuss. Show your interest doing the same thing. And then introduce your ideas to do it in better way or explain them what problem you were facing in doing something.
Don't always say 'NO'. Be involved with them. Let them commit mistake. This is how they learn. Instead of teaching them, talk to your partner that what better could have done if you do it in other way. Let them listen you when you talk to your partner. Since kids learn from imitating other they will listen and understand you better when you don't tell them directly.
Change the topic (Red herring)
Babies don't understand your promises, like when you say I'll do it tomorrow. They can still be stubborn. But instead of scolding, move their attention to something else.
If they know bad consequences of telling lie, which may happen later in the future, or benefit of telling truth, they can stop lying. You may take help of other friends or parents (not teacher, they seems boring) to explain them, but again not in words. You can weave a fake story with your friends to actually show them the consequences of telling lie.
I heard about rewards from many people. I even tried it. But my 2 years daughter doesn't understand it. And I feel, it can make a child greedy sometimes. I mean, children start bargaining in everything. But if it works in your case, go for that.