Trying to explain to a 5-year-old what cheating is turned out to be quite the challenge. I ended up telling a variety of stories trying to explain why taking someone else’s work and claiming it as your own was wrong. She thought that she was now going to get in trouble at school when she drew a picture and showed her friend because her friend would now be looking at her paper. I told her that would not get her in trouble because she gave her friend permission to look at her paper. Then she thought as long as her friend had permission to look at the paper she would not get in trouble. I then had trouble explaining to her that it depends on what type of paper she was showing her friend. That some things are supposed to be for her eyes and her teacher’s eyes only.
Then I decided to take a different angle and talk about how cheating is like stealing. Then she started to understand. She told me a story about a boy at her school who during lunch time, always steals her Cheetos when she isn’t looking. She said he reaches into her bag and takes one every time she looks away. I told her that it was kind of the same thing as cheating off my paper; he was stealing my Cheetos from me. We came to the conclusion that it is a dog eat Cheeto world.