My 3.5 years old recently started lying. Up to now, they where mostly "I didn't do this" type of lies. For exemple, he would unroll the toilet paper in the bathroom or put play-doh in the washer (!) and then pretend he didn't do it. Sometimes he would even come get me to look at his wrong doing and then tell straight to my face that he didn't do it. I didn't make a big deal of it because I figured he was experimenting with lies and it was pretty much inoffensive. My typical reaction was to say something like "look, I now you did this, now help me clean". He then stopped pretending he didn't do it, helped me clean and sometimes said he was sorry.
But yesterday, there was an incident at daycare. When I picked him up, there was a bracelet hidden in his case. He said a friend (let's call him John) gave it to him. Something was strange with his behaviour but I went with it and he brought the bracelet home. Once home, he wanted to hide it in his room and didn't wear it at all, which I found suspicious. This morning, at breakfast, he asked where was his bracelet and when I asked once again where he got it, he finally admitted that the bracelet belongs to Claire. John took it from Claire's case and gave it to my son, then he hid it in his case. Claire was giving the bracelets to her friends and my son wanted one, John knew and they did this.
So I explained to him how it was wrong to take other people's things and that he will have to give the bracelet back and apologize to Claire, which he did. I think he understood this part well (clearly he knew it was wrong, because he lied about it). However, I'm a bit at lost when it comes to make him understand that lying was also wrong. He lied to me by saying that John gave it to him and not saying the truth that they took it from Claire without her knowing. I think he doesn't really understands the words "lie" and "truth" and I struggle to find simple words to explain to him that lying is wrong, it upsets people and it could get him in much more trouble. It's somewhat of an abstract and new concept for him.
How can I address the lying? Do you know of any good resources (books, etc.) that might help?