Are you a first-time parent of a six- or seven-year-old with a loose tooth? Soon, you’ll be thinking about your new role as family Tooth Fairy! In our latest installment of Tooth Truth, we’re educating San Antonio families about the current cash payouts and the best way to leave the tooth fairy money.
Dear Tooth Truth,
My daughter has her first wiggly tooth, and I am not prepared for the Tooth Fairy’s debut in our house. What is the going rate for a baby tooth these days? I know she’ll be talking to her friends at school and I don’t want her to be disappointed. Also, what are the best techniques for going unnoticed while making the “swap”? Help!! It will fall out any day now.
– On Wiggle Watch
Dear Wiggle Watch,
There are so many traditions out there when it comes to the Tooth Fairy that we posed your question to all our patients. We asked, “what is a tooth worth in your house?” The overwhelming winner was 1-5 dollars. There also appears to be some variety to the amount based on the order of tooth loss. Some Tooth Fairies pay a premium for the first and last baby tooth to go.
I would caution you from making loose teeth into a big money maker. One concerned mom noted that when she asked her son what he wanted to do for a living, he told her “Mom, I’m just going to lose teeth and put them under my pillow when I need some cash.”
Here’s a helpful chart that shows when most baby teeth erupt and when they shed (or fall out). This should help your Tooth Fairy be prepared for the top ages of tooth loss.
A successful “swap” will hinge on where your little one leaves their tooth. Let’s break down some of the more common places to leave that teeny little money-maker.
1. The Classic Under the Pillow
This swap technique is not for the faint of heart. It takes commitment, preparation, and stealth. Door hinges must be creak-free. The child must be a sound sleeper. This works best when your child does not share a room with siblings but can be overcome by added measures of stealth.
One of my favorite renditions of the Classic is the Preemptive Classic. This can be risky for a first-timer Fairy, but hugely successful when executed properly:
2. The Decorative Tooth Fairy Pillow with Tooth Pocket
A favorite among grandmothers and other gift givers, this one is great because your child can leave it on their bedside table. The Tooth Fairy will have better access without the same risk level of child awaking.
3. The Plastic Tooth Holder That Came Home from School
This is not unlike the Tooth Fairy Pillow, just smaller and harder to find in the dark. Some kids like tucking this one under the pillow and you will find yourself converted to the Classic (see advice above).
4. The Tooth Fairy Door Hanger
A brilliant invention that removes stealth entirely. Hang this on their doorknob outside the room and the Tooth Fairy can take her sweet time on the swap.
5. The Ambassador
This is a creative, if not lazy solution to the Tooth Fairy swap dilemma. In this version of the swap, you as a parent will claim a close kinship with the Tooth Fairy. With this method, you take the tooth at any convenient time and let your child know that you will get with the Tooth Fairy to make the exchange. Easy peasy. Over breakfast the next morning you can simply tell your child “Oh hey, I saw the Tooth Fairy last night and she asked me to give you this dollar”. This one is so lame that I find it is only acceptable if you have a child that is terrified at the thought of a Fairy entering their room overnight while they sleep.
I wish this was only a rookie mistake, but this actually gets worse as your child loses more teeth. Those early little teeth are fresh and exciting but as your child slogs along through elementary school, homework gets harder, activities are plentiful, and even the best-intentioned Tooth Fairy will find themselves shooting up in the wee hours of the morning only to intersect with their groggy child in the hallway. “Mom – the Tooth Fairy didn’t come to get my tooth”.
You may quickly use one of the following acceptable excuses:
Two missed nights in a row is hard to recover from so GET ON YOUR GAME. If you have to, bust out the Preemptive Classic. I promise it’s risky but rewarding!
Hopefully, you feel better equipped for the upcoming loss of the First Tooth and remember, you only have to do this 20 times!