How to Create a Magical Tooth Fairy Experience for Your Kid
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When my daughter first started complaining about a tooth that felt “sandpapery” I quickly realized that feeling was a brand new tooth popping up behind her baby tooth, and that we had about a week until we were dealing with a very loose, on-the-verge-of-falling out tooth. I was totally unprepared to be the Tooth Fairy and hadn’t given any thought as to how I was going to execute that task, so I put out a call for advice on Instagram. I chatted with friends about their traditions and collected the ones that really spoke to the magic of childhood, then I cobbled together a plan that would become our own tooth fairy tradition.
But first, know this: your child will love any effort you make to acknowledge the tooth fairy, so don’t feel you have to go above and beyond just putting a dollar under the pillow. That being said, if you do want ideas to take the whole thing to another level, that’s what we’ll talk about here.
Step 1: Begin with Books
Okay, so where to start? Once you’ve got a kid with a wiggly tooth, books are a great place to begin the journey into the Tooth Fairy realm. A friend suggested Throw Your Tooth On The Roof: Tooth Traditions From Around The World by Selby Beeler. It was a delight to read while we waited those few days for the wiggly tooth to fall out. Funny enough, our loose tooth coincided with the “Dental Hygiene” unit at school, so we sent the book to her teacher to read to the class. It’s a fun opportunity for kids to feel a connection to children all over the world through something as silly as a tooth, and to see how everyone does things differently.
The other book we absolutely loved was Tallulah the Tooth Fairy CEO by Dr. Tamara Pizzoli. The book is beautifully illustrated, hilarious, and features a smart, fashionable woman of color as the Tooth Fairy. It addresses the issue of an actual lost tooth, so it’s perfect to read to your child if they accidentally misplace their tooth before the Tooth Fairy visits and are upset that they have nothing to leave under their pillow. You can also check out this list from Scholastic to view their books on the Tooth Fairy.
And while we’re on the subject of wiggly, not-yet-out teeth, I had to hear this from a friend when we were going through this, so maybe it will be helpful to someone else: just because a tooth is wiggly doesn’t mean it needs to be pulled out. The best way to get a wiggly tooth out is to let it fall out naturally, on its own. I have memories of dental floss and door handles and tears – lots and lots of tears and fear surrounding loose teeth. All those things were completely unnecessary because when teeth are ready, they just fall out. Keep it simple.
Step 2: Bless the Toothless Child with a Special Wand
My favorite Tooth Fairy idea comes from a friend whose mom was the elementary school teacher everyone wanted when we were kids. This mom had a special wand with a silk stuffed star at the top and long flowy ribbons that had exactly one use: to bless the toothless child before they went to sleep on the night the tooth fairy was expected to come. Later, while my friend was sleeping, her mother would slip in, sprinkle a trail of glitter (aka fairy dust) from the windowsill to the bedside table where the tooth was, then touch my friend’s forehead with the tiniest bit of fine glitter.
Step 3: Find a Special Spot for the Tooth
Your next task is to decide how to present the tooth to the Tooth Fairy. When I was a kid I’m pretty sure I wrapped my tooth in a tissue and stuck it under my pillow, maybe a Ziploc bag if I was feeling fancy. Thanks to Pinterest and Etsy, I now know better! A quick search on Etsy for “tooth fairy” turns up endless tooth container options. My favorite finds were these beautiful, simple handmade felt pouches. They have a spot for a tooth in the front and a coin or dollar bill in the back, and are small and easy to slide out from under a pillow.
If you have a light sleeper or a Cindy Lou Who-type who’s trying to stay awake to catch the tooth fairy, Etsy has your solution: a door hanger with a money pouch so the tooth fairy doesn’t even have to enter the bedroom! There’s even a great save for when you have to send a kid to school with a super wiggly tooth: the necklace tooth saver! Have them wear the necklace, and if their tooth happens to fall out while at school they can pop it in the necklace so they don’t lose it. People are amazing and have seriously thought of everything.
Step 4: Plan the Big Night
You’ve read the books together, you’re prepared with a container to place the tooth in, the tooth has finally fallen out, and all that’s left is for you to find your Tooth Fairy mojo and put it to work. Maybe you like to keep things chill and decide to simply place the tooth in the pouch under the pillow and pop in after your child is asleep to leave a dollar (or $5, which is apparently the going rate). Great! Your kid will love it. One helpful tip: set a Tooth Fairy alarm on your phone so you don’t forget to go back in after your child falls asleep.
If you are a little bit extra, maybe the thrills start earlier in the evening with a phone call to the Tooth Fairy hotline! I came across a dental plan that has a number anyone can call to hear a voicemail from the Tooth Fairy. It’s available to anyone, and has options for everything from a first lost tooth, to encouragement for a future dentist visit. Additionally, there are apps you can download to “catch” the Tooth Fairy, and a number you can text to receive a message in the evening from the Tooth Fairy.
For our first foray acting as the Tooth Fairy, my husband and I decided to divide and conquer: I took on art direction and was in charge of crafting the letter and sprinkling the fairy dust, and he acquired a gold coin and was in charge of the swap out. It was a fun way for both of us to be involved at our levels of interest. I used an idea from my friend Erin and crafted a mini envelope and a letter, written in the tiniest handwriting I could muster. I decided to name the Tooth Fairy “Tilda”, signed the letter and stuck one gold dollar coin inside. I added a pinch of the same fairy dust I would later sprinkle on her windowsill, and because I can’t help but be extra, I ordered a fairy wax seal stamp and some pretty wax to close the envelope. The final touch was to trim and twist a silver pipe cleaner into a tiny fairy wand, then I pressed it into the wax as it dried. Our daughter was beyond excited the next morning and told us about everything the tooth fairy had left for her. She noted that Tilda must have explored our house because there was fairy dust on the kitchen floor, and on the hand towel in the bathroom – to which I just raised my eyebrows and complimented her detective skills! (Beware of fairy dust — it will never ever go away!)
No matter how big or small you decide to make the myth of the Tooth Fairy, I highly encourage doing something. Losing a tooth can be scary for kids, and the Tooth Fairy seems to be the perfect pint-sized consolation prize for making it through. And any time you can use play to get through a tough situation, it’s always a good thing.