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I’m a child expert – the 10 lies you should tell your kids to make your life easier

CHILD psychologist Dr Alison McClymont tells Kirsten Jones why telling fibs to kids (on average 34 a day) is not always bad.

Here she reveals the ten lies you should tell kids to make your life easier.

Sometimes, white lies are for the best

Your artwork is fantastic

It’s important to compliment your children no matter what so they can develop self-confidence and imagination

NOT every scribble your child produces will make it on to the fridge.

But it is important to praise their efforts, no matter how scruffy or indiscernible it is.

Your compliments will fuel their creativity and the drawings will improve over time.

“Art is a positive, worthwhile endeavour and should always be celebrated, regardless of whether it resembles Picasso or not,” says Alison.



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“Developing creativity encourages self-confidence, imagination and expression.”

I’m going to bed, too

Every mum knows that suggesting an early bedtime can spark a tantrum.

To avoid chaos, tell your child that you are off to bed, too.

“A lot of children don’t understand that adults need less brain rest,” Alison says.

“Saying you’re going to bed as well will encourage healthier sleep patterns and much-needed rest for their developing mind.”

Everything you learn at school is important

We know it is unlikely that we will ever use algebra or reference historic battle facts again.

But stressing the importance of learning will encourage kids to work hard and get the best grades they can.

“Learning doesn’t have to be ‘useful’ or required for a specific output to be worthwhile,” explains Alison.

“All of life is a lesson and to promote a love of learning for learning’s sake is extremely beneficial.”

Playing your Xbox after 8pm is illegal

It is one of the biggest white lies told in the modern home, but children will benefit from reduced screen time and may find enjoyment in exploring other hobbies.

“It’s good to encourage restorative sleep, which is sabotaged by too much ‘blue light’ technology, especially gaming,” says Alison.

“A curfew for games or screens is a necessity.”

This cake tastes bad, are you sure you want it?

White lies can help promote a balanced diet if you act as if unhealthy food tastes horrible

Suggesting that unhealthy food tastes horrible helps to push children towards healthier options, get their five-a-day and feel more energetic and happy as a result.

Alison says: “Not all children are equipped to make informed choices when it comes to food, so it’s important that adults promote a balanced diet.

“Instilling the idea that some food is better for our bodies than others, while refraining from weight-related comments, is a good idea.”

Car won’t start until everyone has their seat belt fastened

Not only does this white lie speed up the morning school run, it also teaches kids about car safety and makes using a seat belt an unconscious habit over time.

“No one should be starting a car journey until everyone is secure — it’s the law,” adds Alison.

“This type of comment is simply enforcing an essential practice until it becomes second nature.”

We can’t watch Frozen . . .  Elsa and Anna are on holiday

Curbing how many times your kid can watch their favourite movie teaches them about moderation and stops them from engaging in obsessive behaviour

Children cannot have what they want all the time.

By curbing how many times they watch their favourite movie, they will learn about moderation and find other ways to entertain themselves rather than engage in obsessive or repetitive behaviour.

Alison says: “This encourages other exploits that don’t require screens and asks your child to find another type of play that inspires other forms of expression.”

Your finger will get stuck up your nose

Watching a child pick their nose in public is never enjoyable.

This fib may stop little ones indulging in unpleasant habits and teaches them acceptable manners, no matter who they are with.

It’s good to nip these habits in the bud,” says Alison.

You can do anything you set your mind to

Empowering your children – even when what you’re saying isn’t really true – pushes them to reach their full potential

While this is not entirely realistic, the empowering phrase pushes children to put all of their effort into the things they love.

“Anything is possible, statistically speaking,” explains Alison. “This white lie promotes motivation, self-confidence, self-belief and most importantly, resilience.”

If you don’t brush your teeth, they will all fall out

We’d all love our children to have sparkling white, filling-free teeth.

While they won’t fall out overnight, the fear that they might will make brushing a daily habit.

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“It’s much more important that we get our children to brush their teeth rather than worry too much about the ‘white lie’ we’ve told,” says Alison.


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