The Tooth Fairy: one of the most enchanting figures of modern British mythology. As your child — or the child for which you nanny or babysit — grows and starts to lose teeth, this magical, gift-giving character can be one of the most fun and special fantasies to share. On the other hand, there’s a very good chance that some of your child’s friends might not share your imagination.
Here are some tips to bear in mind if and when your child comes home from school with questions about the Tooth Fairy’s legitimacy.
Communicate With Other Parents
Most of the time children are encouraged to doubt the Tooth Fairy’s existence by their peers. Talk with other parents or caregivers about how they’re discussing the Tooth Fairy with their children. If you want your own child to hold on to the magic, ask parents who are dispelling the truth to have their children keep that information to themselves.
And vice versa. If you want to share “the truth” with your kids, give other parents a heads up about your plans to prevent any dramatic interactions.
Keep Babysitters in the Loop
Parents and child carers should talk about how to handle these types of common questions from children — what should the babysitter say? Make sure everyone is on the same page about expectations, so the children aren’t hearing different things from different adults.
“The legend of the Tooth Fairy helps children deal with the uncertainty of tooth loss… it is often their first rite of passage– the loss of a baby tooth.” according to College Street Dental Centre. Therefore the ‘Tooth Fairy Conversation’ should probably left to the parents. For example, if children ask a babysitter or nanny about things like the Tooth Fairy, Father Christmas or “the birds and the bees,” they can respond with something like: “That sounds like a question for your parents.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Prolong the Magic
Believing in the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Father Christmas, ghosts, leprechauns and other gift-giving characters is wonderful way for your child’s imagination to grow. Don’t be pressured into having them grow up early. There’s nothing wrong with wanting your child to believe in magic.
Consider Your Child’s Age
It can be difficult to determine an appropriate age to tell your child the truth about the Tooth Fairy. Children typically start to question whether the Tooth Fairy is real between the ages of 4 and 7. If your child is younger than 4, it might be wise to conceal the truth for a little while longer.
Give a Tooth Fairy History Lesson
If you’ve let the cat out of the bag and your child is heartbroken, or even if you want to broaden your imaginative son or daughter’s fascination with the Tooth Fairy, consider teaching your child about the tale’s legacy. Throughout history and all around the world, there have been many different incarnations of the Tooth Fairy. In countries such as Russia, New Zealand and Mexico, it’s a rat or mouse who does the overnight money-for-teeth exchange.
Be in Tune with Your Child
Everyone has a different capacity for suspending disbelief in fictional characters — including children. Gauge your child’s aptitude for imagination, and let that help you decide whether or not to let them hear the truth about the Tooth Fairy.
The most important thing to remember here is that each child is different. Exact guidelines for when to tell your children do not exist – it is best to take an individualised approach to answering your little one’s questions. View these questions as opportunities for conversation, through which you can refine your understanding of your child, their friendship group, and their ideas about fantasy vs. reality.