In my 3-year-old’s room, we have a nightlight that’s hooked up to a timer (the kind you hook up your lamps to when you’re on vacation). When his nightlight comes on in the morning, it is time for him to come out of his room. Until then, he is expected to stay in his room and play (relatively) quietly.
This morning, he opened his door at about 7:15 and said that his nightlight had come on. I wasn’t able to easily check because I always pump breastmilk at this time of the morning, this morning being no exception. I said, “Really? It turned on?” and he said, “Yes.” So I let him come out and have some breakfast that was sitting out for him, even though I thought it was about 15 minutes early.
A few minutes later, he said, “My nightlight isn’t on.” (Don’t you love how kids this age out themselves?) So I unhooked myself from the pump and went to check. Sure enough, it wasn’t on.
I then explained to him that he lied to me, why it was a lie, and what the consequence was: an extra half-hour in his room.
I doubt that he’ll lie about this topic anymore, but the next topic is sure to be just around the corner. Fortunately I know better than to freak out about this, since it’s perfectly normal (though not acceptable, of course). Per John Rosemond, I try to make consequences “memorable,” which is why I chose an extra 30 minutes in his room as opposed to, say, 5 minutes.