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Our Favourite White Lies We Tell Children

We often use white lies to create a sense of mystery or to get the kids to do something good for them that they'd usually refuse to do! Here are some of the best we've heard


Regardless of your intentions as a parent, there will be times you tell a while lie or two. Whether you bend the truth a little to get your children to do something, or to get out of doing something yourself, we've all done it occasionally.

White Lies should be well intentioned

Kids tend to believe white liesThe key thing is to remember that white lies are 'well intentioned' and don't involve malice.

Remember how much more magical Christmas was when you still believed Father Christmas was coming down the chimney, or you were keeping the spirit alive for a younger sibling?

Maybe you were once told to eat all those tasty vegetables up or you wouldn't grow up to be big and strong like Popeye the Sailor Man...

Working in childcare and overhearing conversations, we find that up to the age of 8, most children believe what we tell them - although with the increased number of little ones learning to use technology, we're afraid that in the years to come this age will decrease immensely!

White lies parents tell their children

We asked around to find out the most popular white lies told by parents to their children, and found that most of them were passed down from generation to generation, although a few of them have been embellished and updated.

We found a number of common themes...

We're watching you

  • Santa Claus or [insert name of another character, such as the Easter Bunny] is watching you and they aren't going to come this year if you misbehave or don't fess up to whatever it is you're hiding

With the advent of technology, and children questioning things earlier, this has been adapted in recent years to include the terrifying notion that hidden cameras are watching your every move - this tends to prompt a quick confession in most cases.

Foods that will change your lifeEating greens makes superheroes

  • Drinking milk will make you grow taller
  • Eating vegetables will make you grow big and strong
  • If you eat your carrots, you'll be able to see in the dark
  • Eating your crusts will make your hair curl

Parents have given all manner of names to fruits and vegetables to change their appeal, from Codswollops (onions) to Goblin Juice (whichever green vegetables get tossed in the juicer)!

Do you swear to tell the truth...?

Pinocchio got us all started on this one, and in some cases the old lie that if you tell a fib your nose will grow still gets a mention. However, since it doesn't actually get any longer outside the Disney animation, parents have had to adapt the story:

  • When you tell a lie your nose turns green, but only adults can see it
  • Because of the extra pressure in your body when you tell a lie, the blood rushes to your tongue and turns it purple... One parent went as far as fabricating this so that when they suspected their child was telling a lie, they asked to see his tongue - and gradually found that the child offered to stick out his tongue, so they knew he was telling the truth!

The hygiene factor

  • If we don't clean out your ears you'll start growing potatoes there
  • If you don't let me comb you hair, birds will start to nest in it.

Bodily malfunctions

  • If you stick your tongue out it will fall off, or a bird will poo on it - this one seemed to have a few adaptations!
  • If you watch TV for too long, you'll get square eyes
  • If you make a face and the wind changes - or someone pats you on the back - your face will stay that way forever.

Getting out of a sticky situation

  • When the ice cream van plays its tune it means it's out of ice cream
  • Turning the clocks forward in an effort to convince children to get ready faster in the morning or go to bed sooner. Note: this works until they learn to read the time on the TV guide, which can't be changed
  • Pets, special toys and dummies seem to have a tendency to go 'on holiday to [insert far-off place]' when in actual fact, they have ended up in pet cemeteries, lost on holiday, or plain and simply binned.

Oh, really?

Pulling funny faces as the wind
changes Crossing mountains to get to

Many parents seem to make up or deny things they've done to get their children to obey:

  • In the 'olden days' many parents 'walked to and from school, uphill both ways in a blizzard' - compared to the 5 minute walk your children currently complain about
  • There is a little man who runs around underground turning on and off all of the streetlights twice a day. When he's not on street lamp duty, he lives in some fridges as well.... And last but not least, the man living on the moon!
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