I have a 3.5 year old that tattles NON-STOP all day long. In a 30 minute period, she will have tattled to me 10-15 times. It really is annoying, but worse, it cheats her out her playtime with friends.
I made a "tail" out of some pipe cleaners and called it the "tattle tail". If they repeated come to me with pointless tattling, they have to wear it for a couple minutes. She sometimes cries when she wears it, but it doesn't deter her from tattling the next time.
Explaining hasn't worked, ignoring hasn't worked, even time-out.
But I think one of the reasons nothing works is because she gets a payoff sometimes. About 30% of her tattling is legitimate - someone's climbing on a table, hurt, actually being mean, etc. - I swear she sees everything. So sometimes she'll see me running to help someone or giving someone a consequence and she thinks her tattling is useful
. However, I never use her as my "eyes" - I hate when providers do that.
So anybody have this kid? If so, what works? I know Nan directs tattle-tales to the youngest walker in the room, but all my kids are the same age, 4-ish, and they definitely don't want to hear it.