Is The Tooth Fairy Real? 5 Ways to Talk to Kids About It
When I was seven years old, I lost a baby tooth. I had lost several teeth already and I informed my parents that this time, I wanted to keep my tooth. I was not going to be leaving it out for the Tooth Fairy.
What my parents did not know, however, is that I did leave the tooth under my pillow. You see, I wanted to know if the Tooth Fairy was real. I knew that if she really did exist, I would wake up to a crisp dollar bill under my pillow in the tooth’s place. But, if my parents had been doing the job all this time, the tooth would still be there in the morning. I’m sure you can imagine how it turned out.
More: Should I Tell My Child the Truth About Santa?
At some point, every child will learn that the Tooth Fairy is only a myth. Depending on their age and how they come to this realization, kids will react differently. Some might enjoy being an “adult” who knows the secret that their little siblings do not yet. Others will be brokenhearted and mourn the loss of a beloved fantasy. Still others may react angrily, feeling upset that they were tricked or lied to by their parents.
Here are five ideas to help you ensure that your child learns the truth in the smoothest way possible.
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Keep the Faith
When children are devastated to learn that the Tooth Fairy is make-believe, consider reassuring them that even though she may not be physically real, her spirit is. There is still magic in losing their baby teeth, and that magic has its own value. This can be very comforting to young children, especially if they hear the truth from older siblings.
If They’re On to You, Level With Them
As kids mature, they will eventually realize that the Tooth Fairy cannot possibly exist. Don’t try to insist. This just is not fair or respectful to your kids. If they come to understand that there is no Tooth Fairy on their own, validate them. This is a great chance to talk about family traditions and the role mythology plays in popular culture.
Allow Kids to Believe If They Want To
If children learn too young that there is no Tooth Fairy, they may want to believe that she is real. Before age six, kids don’t yet fully distinguish fantasy from reality. If they hear at school that the Tooth Fairy does not exist, they may come to you for answers. If you can tell that your child wants to believe, don’t ruin it for them. Ask them what they think. They’ll tell you what they want to hear.
Decide When They’re Getting Too Old
Although most children will catch on eventually, some especially imaginative kids might hold on to the Tooth Fairy just a little too long. This is a judgment call for the parents. You might want to help them avoid being laughed at or learning the truth in a hard way from peers.
Tell Them the Truth From the Start
There is no hard rule that you must introduce the Tooth Fairy to your children. If you don’t feel comfortable pretending that a myth is real, you can always skip this tradition. However, keep in mind that kids will definitely hear about the Tooth Fairy in school. You will want to make sure they don’t ruin the secret for their classmates! Also, consider paying your child for losing their baby teeth regardless so they don’t resent how much money their friends are getting.
Looking for a way to keep the tradition of losing teeth special? Download and print this free Certificate for Losing the First Tooth.
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Elisa is a well-known parenting writer who is passionate about providing research-based content to help parents make the best decisions for their families.