How to know when your kid is faking being sick…and faking anything else.

Thanks to our brand partner, Dymadon®

Have you ever been told “fake it till you make it”? Well, contrary to popular beliefs, this titbit of confidence-boosting advice was not coined by an entrepreneur, politician or TED speaker.

No, the concept of “fake it till you make it” was actually invented by a canny toddler who didn’t want to eat their veggies or sit on the potty. They probably whispered it into their bestie’s ear at playgroup, and then word spread throughout all the sticky-fingered kids in the neighbourhood, until they all agreed: ‘faking it’ was the best way to gain control of parents and get what you want.

I know this is true, because I’m a parent and am convinced that my children have conducted underground meetings with all the important municipal babies on this very topic. My kids are experts at fakery. Here, for our mutual benefit, is a list of the most popular faked behaviours among young children, and how to bust them.

I'm onto you... Image: Getty.

1. Faking being sick.

Signs: The child will cough when you are absorbed in another activity. When you look at them, they will collapse in giggles. There will be an absence of fever, snot, lethargy or other symptoms associated with genuine illness.

What to do: Tell the child that you will call the ambulance, and that they can have an injection to get better. They will make an instantaneous, miraculous recovery.

2. Faking being full.

Signs: This usually occurs during a meal that is delicious for adults, such as soup or a roast, but not for children (i.e. is not chicken nuggets, spaghetti bolognese or pizza). The child will take one look at the meal and moan that they are full, despite having just complained that they are starving. On extreme occasions – i.e. when the child hates the meal – they will theatrically mime choking or gagging after one tiny spoonful is consumed. In our household, this happens with pumpkin soup, which is also deemed to be “too bicy” (spicy), despite there being no spices in it.

They will do anything to get rid of their veggies. Image: Getty.

What to do: Casually mention the existence of ice cream. The child will then find themselves immediately ravenous.

3. Faking being injured.

Signs: Child will adopt a whiny, needling tone of voice, and say, "My baby brother poked me on the elbow with his pinkie finger, and now it huuuuuuurts." Prior to the injury, there were no sounds of crashing, conflict or screams.

What to do: Give your child a big hug, as they usually just want some attention and a cuddle. Sometimes, offering a sticky bandage helps to distract and placate the child. But this can also be dangerous, as it can lead to a bandage obsession. The fixation is worsened if the bandages have cartoon characters on them. It’s rumoured that many world wars have started over toddlers wanting a Peppa Pig bandage, only to open the package and find a Daddy Pig plaster in there instead. Hide the nuclear weapons, in this instance. Or, at least have some earplugs ready.

What funny behaviours do your children fake?

Carla Gee is a Sydney writer, illustrator and podcaster. Find her on Instagram and Facebook.

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Dymadon®