Activities to Help Stop Kids From Exaggerating Stories
Your child might exaggerate stories to impress her friends or even some adults. She might feel telling truthful stories will make her seem boring and make her stories less interesting to others. Explain to her that exaggeration is a form of lying and introduce her to fun activities that will help stop her falsifying habits.
Stories can be used to inform a child that exaggerating to someone can have negative consequences 1. Share the Aesop's fable, "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," about a bored, shepherd boy who knowingly exaggerates the existence of a wolf preying after his flock and finds no one comes to help him one day when he really sees a wolf. "Eeedgar! The Elephant Who Exaggerated," by David Jon Martin, offers a similar story about an elephant who constantly exaggerates everything in his life. Remind your child that constant exaggeration can cause others to not believe him when he is in serious danger.
Give your child an exaggerated story of a treat you will give him as an afternoon snack for the day. Tell him that the snack will be a candied apple dipped in caramel with tons of sprinkles and a glass of strawberry milkshake. Instead of giving him a candied apple and a milkshake, place a simple apple and cup of milk in front of him. He'll ask why you're giving him a snack that's far short of what you promised. Explain to him that though exaggeration makes something sound good, it distorts the truth and can leave a person disappointed.
Writing his own stories will familiarize a child with the components of an exaggerated story. Introduce him to similes, which are often used in exaggerated stories to make something appear more significant than it actually is. Instead of telling a person's actual height, someone would say, "He's as tall as a skyscraper." Have your child write his own story using similes. Then, have him write a honest version of the story without the similes. Inform him that exaggeration can be helpful to make an imaginative story interesting but should otherwise not be used in a story for it to remain truthful.
Allow your child to use her artistic abilities and draw pictures that will ultimately help her determine the difference between true and exaggerated information when she tells her own stories. Hand her a piece of paper. Explain to her that you will give her a series of sentences. She must decide whether each sentence is true or exaggerated information. If the information is true, she can draw it on the paper. For example, the sentence, "Pigs can fly" would not be included as part of the picture. When you are done, look at your child's completed picture and see whether she was able to capture all the truthful information.
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