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The Tooth Fairy
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The Tooth Fairy
I was somewhat comforted reading the archives on this subject,
until it occurred to me that those replies may have been from
years ago. Is $1 still a reasonably common amount for the tooth
fairy to leave? We started out giving my daughter a gold dollar
coin for her teeth, but she asked us to swap the coin for a bill
in the morning, so now the tooth fairy leaves a dollar bill. The
problem is that her classmates seem to receive considerably
more-- ranging from $2 to $20 (!!) per tooth. Each child writes
a little something about losing their teeth for a class tooth
book which is why I can see that it is not my daughter's
imagination that she is receiving less than the average.
make my peace with this very easily except for my daughter's
belief in the magic of the tooth fairy. This morning she seemed
so disappointed to see that the tooth fairy had left her a dollar
(apparently our efforts to fold the dollar in a fancy way did
nothing to help). She tells me she was hoping the tooth fairy
would leave as much for her as for her friends and can't seem to
imagine why she would be slighted by the fairy. I asked if there
was anything special she wanted more money for, and she glumly
said ''no'' and then dropped it. She is rather secretive about
it-- seeing this as really between her and the fairy and none of
I'm considering dropping some big hints about the
real origin of this dollar, but I hate to kill the magic of the
tooth fairy for her. So, this is really a two-part question: 1.
What's the going rate from the tooth fairy? and 2. If you give
less than the average in your community & your child believes in
the tooth fairy (or Santa, or the Easter Bunny, or whatever), how
do you help your child accept the inequality without feeling that
it reflects a lack of love from the magical creature? How do you
reassure a child that the Tooth Fairy loves her teeth just as
much as her classmate's, even though said classmate gets 20 times
the cash for the same tooth?
-Mother of a Dejected Toothless Girl
We gave $5 for the first tooth and between $2-4 for all
subsequent teeth. As far as the different ways the tooth fairy
behaves in other homes, we explained to our kids that we filled
out a form at the hospital when they were born that asked our
preferences about the tooth fairy, easter bunny, etc. This
explains why the tooth fairy leaves the kids' teeth on my bedside
table (with a bit of fairy dust as well) and other kids have
their teeth taken away. Also explains the monetary differences.
It's worked for us so far and my kids are 7 and 10.
White Lie Teller
I'm not sure this will compete with the overly generous parents
giving out $20 bills (lame...), but maybe use a $2 bill? It's
cheap enough to not be excessive, but unusual enough to seem
Dear Tooth Fairy-Have glass of wine and be creative about the BUCK-give a couple
pieces of gum and a nice letter explaining that you are trying to help the other
fallout. They have 28 teeth, she'll be rich. Throw some fairy dust in. Complain
wings and rain when you ''can't deliver'' and occasionally give some other bauble-
Tatoos (fairies perhaps?) a sparkly jewel hair tie. Our tooth fairy has sent the
the SANDMAN as she couldn't fly(wet wings) she has brought gold dollars-two dollar
bills, packs of gum and an occasional toy(small, because she's small) MY boys love
letters and the buck is anon-issue-have fun, be creative and the money aspect will
Tooth Fairy Magic
Maybe you can say that the tooth fairy honors the values of each
family. In your family, you value hard work, or love, or honesty,
or whatever it is that you value, and the tooth fairy honors
that. So she may bring $20 to the family that focuses on money,
but your family doesn't do that. Because that's the truth here,
right? You could pay more than $1 a tooth (even if you're in
tough shape financially, you could probably swing it--it's not
that many teeth). But those aren't your values. Your values are
that $1 is reasonable--and it certainly is. It doesn't matter if
other parents treat lost teeth like lottery tickets. Your family
doesn't. Stick by your values with confidence.
My tooth fairy brought quarters and I'm just fine
Your post was heart-breaking. I read it to my husband, and we came up with an
idea:The tooth Fairy continues to put one or two dollars under the pillow, and
sum of money (5,10,18$...whatever makes sense to you) in either a college fund for
your child, or in a charity fund for a needy child (or puppy..i.e. spca). The
can then leave a note with the next gift explaining where the ''rest'' of the money
going (and perhaps remarking on your child's generosity, intelligence, bright
whatever makes sense). If it's a charity, the tooth fairy can leave an appropriate
or ''thank you'' card from the charity.
As for the second part of your question - how much to leave...My child is too young
be losing teeth yet, but I anticipate that the tooth fairy will be leaving her
dollar coins. I think anything over a dollar or two is ridiculous, unless it is
going into a
special fund (see above.)
fan of a frugal Tooth Fairy
I think that $20 for a lost tooth is absolutely ridiculous! I
would continue to leave what you have always left for lost teeth
and let it go. We leave gold dollars too, and our kids love
love love it.
I give $1. My daughter just lost her nineth tooth, and hasn't
believed in the tooth fairy since her second tooth, when she
decided the whole tooth fairy concept was just completely
implausible (same with Santa). When she reports other kids
receiving more $, I let her know that maybe those kids' parents
just prioritize their money differently and that she gets plenty
money and presents without waiting for a tooth to fall out.
-- a mom
We give $1. No complaints from the kids. I don't know if they
compare amounts at school or not, they haven't mentioned it.
We give one dollar. And we got the same question as to the payout
disparity between families. We answer by saying the tooth fairy
knows what amount our family feels is fair, so she knows to give
one dollar. My kids always bought that one. So, it is a good line
or I'm a good liar!
I've always given my daughters (9 & 7) a gold ''Sacajawea'' dollar coin from the
fairy, and they've always been happy with it. They know it's a special kind of
only the tooth fairy has (I don't use them), and I'll sometimes leave a special
I found fairy books in the Target dollar bin and stocked up... but I also always
note. My kids delight in the idea that their tooth is to be carved into a tiny
ball for the
baby forest animals to play with...or something similar. I don't think the kids
more than a dollar. Certainly don't give more at the beginning, because the price
never drop! You'd have to increase the amount each time, if anything. Stick with
Maybe have the tooth fairy write her a special note, or don't
leave money. Leave foreign money, or a book, or something else
that's special. It's more work but more special... the tooth
fairy can write a note to her about why she gets $1 (the rest of
the money is donated to kids who really need it? She thinks the
other kids will be donating money? She got mixed up?) I was so
mortified by the possibility of comparing money (and there's no
frigging way I'm leaving $20 for a 6-yr-old, who has 8 teeth to
lose--that's $160!! and if they still believe in the TF later,
there's a lot more money to lose... That's blatant commercialism
in my book, and I'm not competing with that either.), that I
started writing notes from the tooth fairy. (see ''Dear Tooth
Fairy'' book, which would be a good one for her to base it on).
Our tooth fairy tells our daughter about people from all parts of
the world, and about the world of fairies. It's entertaining if
a bit time-consuming for me too. Maybe even stamps would be a
good thing for the toothfairy to bring? Different pictures?
Stamps from different countries?
I feel for you because we are in the same boat except that my
daughter is probably older. We give $1 for front teeth and $2
for molars although I don't know how we got started on the
higher amount. She has a good friend that gets $10 per tooth
so it is hard to explain how things could be different except
to say that there is no tooth fairy and that her parents give
her more (Many times I would just like to say that). This is
an excellent question and I hope to hear some good retorts. I
guess my main comment would be that we don't bend to paying
more and say ''some fairies have more money to spare than
others'' - I mean, really, what else can you say?
The tooth fairy has always left kids $1.00 for lost teeth in my
extended family, but my 8 year old son has been complaining
that all his friends get $5-$10 per tooth. So I need advice
about what the ''going rate'' is and then what to do with his
older brother (age 12) who will feel that anything more than
what he got is an example of us favoring his younger brother
We give one shiny Sacajawea dollar (the gold one) for each tooth.
Our son is 6.5 yo and has been losing teeth since his 6th
birthday, pretty much. He has a nice collection of shiny gold in
I just wanted to encourage you, and others, to resist the general
price inflation for everything from allowances to teeth. Kids
don't value anything that comes too easily, and just because the
wealthy parents of some classmates are handing out $20 bills for
teeth doesn't mean that your tooth fairy has to do the same.
There's a great rant on the subject in the book the Three Martini
Playdate in which she suggests using those great $1 gold coins as
tooth fairy gifts. They're special (gold!) and affordable. I
remember when i was a kid, I got 25! cents per tooth, saved the
money from each tooth, and when I'd lost my last tooth bought
myself a hat I liked with the few dollars I'd accrued. Granted,
that's the kind of kid I was, but I also think there's something
to be said for encouraging kids to save up for something they
want, soemthing they can only do when you give them LESS rather
than more money.
What do people give for a lost tooth these days? I remember
getting a quarter under my pillow when I was little, but I'm sure
things have changed since then! I'd be interested in hearing all
kinds of answers, whether or not they involve money.
oh I love the tooth fairy and was so mad when a friend spilled the beans
to my son. Anyway a good friend introduced us to the idea of different
tooth fairies.... a money fairy, a nature fairy, and so on. For the first tooth
we gave a crystal in a little tooth pouch and a sparkly note of
congratulations. Later all he wanted was the money fairy and he got a
gold dollar a few times. oh and this american life on npr had a great
segment on the tooth fairy a few years ago in which they asked kids
what the tooth fairy did with the teeth...you can find it on their website I
think it was called ''Kid logic''.
tooth fairy lover
The post office machines give gold dollar coins as change - I
use those to great success.
To a small child losing her first tooth, a quarter can be a big
deal. (Don't give little kids $5.00 bills and stuff; it will
just make them blase.) My daughter started out with quarters. As
she got older, I had her decorate a small box (a match box--
remember them?--works well) with wrapping paper and glitter or
whatever to house the precious tooth and receive the precious
money. I also started adding small treasures to the quarter: a
nice, shiny hunk of rose quartz or a piece of jewelry.
The biggest hit, though, were the messages from the Tooth Fairy,
written in genuine fairy runes on tiny rolled-up scrolls;
astrological symbols and made-up things will do. I would then
translate the message, which usually stated that my daughter was
a wonderful girl who was taking good care of her teeth. (She's
saved all these small treasures and messages.)
I think about a dollar a tooth. Instead of a dollar bill,
maybe you can get dollar coins to be a bit different.
We have a very special tooth fairy who gifts our children with a
Sacagawea golden dollar coin. for each lost tooth. Our boys had
never seen them before and we never get them as change so it's
an incredibly exciting gift for them! They refuse to spend them
when they empty their piggy banks as they are too special! Our
tooth fairy also sprinkles fairy dust around her 'entry and
exit' point sort of 'foot prints' of her visit.
We have beautiful tooth boxes that hold perfectly this coin,
which magically replaces that lost tooth. So far at age 8, our
twins completely believe and so does their little brother!
I bought mine from the US Mint website, but I'm sure banks have
some on hand.
The tooth fairy left a two-dollar bill one time that was such a hit! It's being
saved ''for forever''. Second favorite was a set of old-style Chinese coins
the TF had picked up on Clement Steet. Enjoy!
The tooth fairy gives ''gold dollars'' (dollar coins) in our
house (one for one tooth), and our tooth losing kids are now
6 and 8. Some of their friends get more money (I heard $5
from one child!), but our kids are quite happy with their gold
Orinda tooth fairy
I know kids who are getting anywhere between $.50-$5. Other
items I have heard of: decorative pencils/pens, stickers, books,
hair accessories, party bag type toys, candy, matchbox cars.
There are lots of variables... age (I know kids between 4-12yo
who are loosing teeth), gender, day of the week (On Weds. may
not be able to do more than change in pocket...) etc. I think
you should decide what will work well for your family, and go
from there. It may be worth making a bigger deal for first or
last tooth vs. all the rest. Personally, I am a fan of keep it
simple... there are a lot of those baby teeth!
Everybody's tooth fairy is different
$2 a tooth has worked well for us.
Our daughter has her first loose tooth and she is very excited. While the Tooth Fairy
will certainly whisk it away in the middle of the night when the time comes, my
husband and I would like to keep this tooth (like we have a lock of her hair after her
first haircut). What do you recommend for storing the baby tooth? Thanks!
Our pediatric dentist recommended placing it in an airtight container with mineral oil. We used a small plastic container with
a lid that screws on.
This isn't very sentimental, but we just kept it in an empty
film canister, with a label on it! My son has kept all the
subsequent lsot teeth in another one.
Another idea - When my son had a tooth extracted, the dentist
put it into a small plastic ''treasure chest''. You could ask if
your dentist has something like that.
Not that this is a major issue - but I was just wondering...
What do others do with baby teeth bought by the tooth fairy?
When my little darling lost his first baby tooth - it seemed
like such a big deal. A true sign that my precious baby was
growing up! I hated to just throw away such a tangible piece of
his childhood. Well, now I have quite a collection and I'm
beginning to wonder what I'm saving them for. I doubt they'll be
meaningful to him as an adult. Do most people just toss them in
the trash - or are there other ideas? Thanks.
Well, I may be weird but I don't throw them away. I have a few of my own teeth; the 4 huge wisdom teeth are my favorite. I happen
to have all my mother's baby teeth, which her mother saved in a San Antonio, Texas bank deposit envelope 50+ years ago!! Amazing
huh? I think the teeth are beautiful and interesting. I keep my son's teeth in a little velvet box--he has lost 7. I don't know why I keep
them exactly, but it has never actually occurred to me to do otherwise. Come to think of it, I collect lots of weird little things..... ;)
There is a sweet picture book called ''Throw your Tooth on the Roof'' about tooth lore around the world. Nothing especially deep, just a
survey of traditions around children loosing teeth.
Don't throw the teeth away! I know it's tempting...but I did
throw them out with my older child and (1) she discovered one in
the trash and was furious and very hurt (ok, she's sensitive,
but...) and (2) I actually can imagine it'd be kind of fun and
comforting to look at those little teeth and remember how small
they were when that sweet young child turns into a surly
I suggest you give the teeth back to the child maybe in a box or
a pouch. This is only if you think the time for the Tooth Fairy
has passed. I kept my own baby teeth for years and thought they
were kind of fascinating. Many of them fell apart eventually
but I still have a couple in a jewelry box.
My father kept all our teeth, and offered them to us when we
grew up. My brother was happy to have them when he went off to
dental school. I keep our kids' teeth in tiny ziplock bags --
one bag per kid. My son was tickled to see them after he
learned there was no tooth fairy.
Joyce - I made a little decorated ''tooth box/altar box'' and gave
it to my daughter when she turned 13.
My mom kept all my and my sister's baby teeth in little plastic
vials, one for each of us. When I was about 8 my sister and I,
the terrible snoops that we were, found our baby teeth in my
mom's drawer. That erased any fantasies about the Tooth Fairy
right then and there! My mom laughs about it now, and I still
have a little plastic vial somewhere with my baby teeth. I
don't know about anyone else, but I was just as interested in
them as I was my baby pictures as I was growing up. If your
child doesn't want them later, they can always be thrown out.
this page was last updated: Jan 26, 2010
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