My oldest daughter, Ava, is now at that wonderful age where she is starting to lose her teeth pretty frequently. She is so funny and has to write a letter to the Tooth Fairy each time a tooth comes out. She really wants to meet her and wants the Tooth Fairy to wake her up when she comes. Every lost tooth brings a more detailed letter with explicit instructions. With the last lost tooth, Ava left a one- page letter explaining how to turn on her camera so the Tooth Fairy could take a picture of herself. I think this is such a cool time in life when she has that unshakable belief and faith in this magical person. I do wonder, though, how much money should the tooth fairy pay?
If you are a parent, you might have struggled with this question too. I have talked to some of my friends and have heard that upwards of $20 has been left for a tooth! In 2006, eBeanstalk.com surveyed 150 mothers this question and found that, according to this small group, the Tooth Fairy had given an average of $2.64 per tooth. A 2009 poll, conducted by The Dental Maven, found that the Tooth Fairy usually left anywhere between $1 to $5. However, there were some reports that she sometimes left as much as $100. Non-monetary gifts such as toy cars, dolls and books were also reported to be left by her.
After reading some of these, I began to wonder if the Tooth Fairy was being a little cheap (or frugal as we Kofke’s like to say it) when she visited our house. When Ava lost her first tooth it was a pretty big deal. She was so excited and could not wait to see how much would be left under her pillow. The next morning she awoke and found a $5 bill waiting for her. She was very pleased and couldn’t believe how much she got. I did explain to her that she might have received this amount because it was her first tooth and that she would probably not get this much for each tooth that she lost.
Since that first tooth, she has lost five more. I was correct since Ava received between 50 cents to $1 for each of these teeth. I do feel this is a fair amount (when I was younger I was lucky to get a quarter per tooth) but, like so many other things that concern money, this can be a tricky matter. Ava has mentioned that some of her classmates get much more than she does from the Tooth Fairy and wondered why this was so. I tried turning this into a lesson about supply and demand and told her that the Tooth Fairy needs teeth to do all sorts of things and was probably a little low on them when she visited her classmates so she had to pay them a little more. I know this was a bit of a stretch but I had to come up with something quick. I know it may seem unfair to her right now but later on will realize why this is so.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. How much do you think the Tooth Fairy should pay and how can you explain the difference in the amounts she leaves different households?