My 6-year-old looked forward to losing his first tooth for several years as we began visiting the dentist regularly for cleanings. I can remember very specifically when he lost the first one just prior to starting kindergarten last year. I knew he had a wiggly tooth, and we drove down to a local shop to pick up a tooth pillow. Things were going well until my children began racing around the shop filled with beautiful, breakable items.
As I used my mom voice to tell them to sit down on the step and don’t even think about moving, my son’s tooth popped out! Fortunately, the shop owner gave us an envelope to carry the tooth in until we got home.
That day, I realized I was completely unprepared to take on my role as the Tooth Fairy. I’m sharing a few bits of wisdom with you today while my rookie year as this winged, mysterious tooth-gathering visitor draws to a close!
Mistake #1: Not knowing the going rate for the tooth fairy’s services.
When my son had his first loose tooth, I remember someone at a BBQ telling him, “I heard the tooth fairy gives you (insert amount that seemed way higher than what I would consider reasonable)”. Wait, what? My husband and I had not even discussed how much we were planning to give my son for his tooth, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t THAT number. I quickly polled friends and family and we settled on an amount. Obviously, my son remembered what he had heard at the BBQ when it came time to put his tooth under the pillow. My husband and I decided that we would give a higher amount for that first tooth; subsequent teeth were worth less. I explained to my son that the tooth fairy might leave more for the first tooth, as well as a few other special goodies; he was satisfied with this arrangement and didn’t question, luckily! Will the two front teeth be more valuable? What about teeth that are pulled by the dentist? Consider what monetary amount or other items you feel comfortable with beforehand.My son also received a new toothbrush and toothpaste with his first tooth fairy visit.
Mistake #2: Tooth lost at 10 PM with no bills in the house.
Some great advice I received was to keep a stash of $1 bills hidden for tooth fairy emergencies. Your child may lose a tooth late in the evening, and you don’t want to be forced to make a late-night trip to the ATM. Tuck away some extra cash in your sock drawer or jewelry box just in case. Otherwise, your tooth fairy might be known for leaving disappointing IOUs or a used Target gift card. Will your tooth fairy leave special dollar coins, glitter-painted dollars, or money folded into origami as rewards? Is your tooth fairy the type to leave a receipt or printed note? Does she leave a trail of glitter or colorful gems on her way out? Make sure your special items are ready to go or at least easily accessible.
Mistake #3: Tooth lost while child is spending the night away from home.
My son lost one of his teeth during an overnight visit with his grandparents. Luckily, they were willing to play tooth fairy, and my son never knew the difference. What if your child is spending the night at a sleepover and loses a tooth, or you’re hosting a sleepover and you have to play tooth fairy for someone else’s child? If you know the other parent fairly well, a tooth fairy exchange can be set up via text. Or simply let the child know that the tooth fairy only visits at his own house and will surely be visiting upon the child’s return home.
Mistake #4: Tooth fairy misses your house (i.e. forgets or drinks too much Pinot Noir)
This is bound to happen at some point. Just like the Elf On The Shelf that you forgot to move, have a believable excuse ready. Could it be that the tooth fairy did not visit due to the child’s messy room? Was it a weather-related emergency that prevented her visit? A sticky door that would not open, perhaps? You can search Pinterest for printable notes from the tooth fairy with an explanation as to why she missed her visit.
Mistake #5: To keep or not to keep?
What do I do with the tooth? This was one of my biggest questions when it came to all things tooth fairy. Toss it? Keep it hidden somewhere and risk the child finding it? For the sake of transparency, I will admit that I kept my son’s first tooth and hid it in a kid-proof location. Gross? Maybe! I believe it is fine to throw them away, but if you are the sentimental type like me, you may feel like you are throwing your away your baby’s childhood. There are even baby teeth organizer boxes that exist on places like Etsy. I’m not organized enough to for that level of tooth collection, but you might be!
Whether you’re a tooth fairy rookie or one with a lot of experience, I’d love to hear about your tooth fairy traditions!
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So well written.
Excellent advice! I would write a letter with the first tooth to establish ground rules: pay for healthy teeth…what happened to the old teeth…some little detail about losing the tooth and being brave. This was all fun and games until my now 10 yo daughter decided to penpal the tooth fairy. She was extremely curious and would send little notes asking what I looked like or what my house looked like; what my name was or if I lived with other fairies. Saved by Google Images!! Eventually she stopped writing to the Tooth Fairy…then the Elf showed up and I became a master at left handed writing!
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