The tooth fairy is one of those magical myths I remember from my childhood. I imagined that a small fairy similar to Tinker Bell, only quieter, would come into my room while I was asleep and exchange my tooth for a shiny quarter. But now that I have my own kids, I feel like I need a how-to manual for this tradition and fast. Our recent trip to the dentist revealed that both my boys have loose teeth. I am anticipating their many questions and have already managed to avoid several: Who is the Tooth Fairy? Is it a she or he? Is she small? Does she take the tooth? Where does it go? How come some kids get money? How much money? How come some kids get presents? I never really thought about the details or what other parents tell their kids until now.
Losing baby teeth is an important rite of passage for kids. I want to make it fun and magical for my kids like I remember it. I’ve learned a bit from talking to other parents, and my sons’ dentist. Children generally lose their first baby tooth between the ages of 5 and 7, although it can vary. In the United States, it seems the tooth is placed under the child’s pillow at bedtime — sometimes in a special container or Tooth Fairy pillow. During the night, only when the child is asleep, the Tooth Fairy visits and makes an exchange (usually monetary) for the tooth.
Tooth traditions from different parts of the world have been collected in an excellent children’s book, Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World, written by Selby Beeler and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. It describes how kids the world over celebrate this special event. It is amazing how many cultures share similar traditions. In Spain, a mouse replaces the baby tooth under the pillow with a coin during the night. In Italy and France the tooth fairy is also a small mouse. In Egypt and Libya, children throw their tooth towards the sun. And in some countries, kids bury their teeth or throw them on the roof for good luck.
What I’ve heard the tooth fairy brings to some kids:
– A special coin like a silver dollar.
– Five $1 bills.
– A shiny new quarter.
– A small rock with a word engraved in it.
– A small toy — like a Hotwheels car.
Click comments below and share your tooth fairy tradition.