My daughter found a great hiding place behind a couch. We discovered at different times a Christmas and a Hanukkah present unwrapped. I knew she had done the deed, and asked her about it. She denied everything. I tried to explain about waiting to open the presents. I tried to tell her about truth and lying. I don't spank my kids, so she shouldn't be afraid of a spanking.
This is not the first time we have caught her lying, but I have attributed it to her age.
What can you suggest I do before it becomes a real problem?
In Cathy Rindner Tempelsman's, Child-Wise, she observes, "The three-year-old who lies about taking a cookie isn't really a "liar" after all. He simply can't control his impulses. He then convinces himself of a new truth and, eager for your approval, reports the version that he knows will make you happy."
Empathizing with her eagerness to open up presents will offer her more support than lecturing her about waiting and truth and lies. In all instances where she has lied and will lie, find the curiosity or motivation for the deed she did, and what she feels she needs to lie about. Once she knows you understand what caused her to "misbehave" and that you are angry, she will be able to discuss why she did it. I'm not suggesting you condone lying. I'm suggesting you shift your focus.