We love bringing a little bit of magic and mystery into our kids lives. It’s one of the best things about being parents! Getting to relive our favourite childhood memories through our children’s eyes is a very special experience, and one that we want to continue on for as long as possible. And while some children are happily wrapped in blissful ignorance, others are born detectives who question everything. So what do you do when your child asks if the tooth fairy is real?
Every family will address this situation differently. To determine what works best for your individual child(ren), ask yourself these 3 questions:
1. WHY is my child asking?
Consider the meaning behind the question. Is your child looking to be reassured of something they strongly believe in, or do they have suspicions and want the truth? You know your child best, try asking your own questions back, such as, “Why do you ask?” or “What do you think?” Your child’s answer may help you understand if they are looking for encouragement to keep believing or not. Sometimes your little ones will answer the question themselves and not need any further details from you. Such was the case for Erica from Our Little Novella when her 6 year old asked what she believed.
2. WHAT do I want my message to be?
There are shades of grey beyond the basic yes or no answer to the question of the tooth fairy’s existence. Many parents feel guilty about lying to their children about the tooth fairy in the first place, but this excellent NPR article reassures us that we aren’t lying, we were entering their world of make-believe.
If you decide that your child is ready for a look behind the scenes, exploring the origins of the tooth fairy might help to break the potentially bad news. If your child is still a big believer, make sure everyone is on the same page. Julie at care.com cautions us to make sure we loop in childcare providers, grandparents, and other adults so they don’t accidentally spill the beans!
3. HOW do I want to deliver the message?
Kids often spring these big questions on you when you least expect it, so it is ok to take some time in responding. Our kids are very used to us responding to their inquiries with “You know, I’m not sure. Let me take some time to think about it.” That gives you some time to think through a conversation, or you could even write a letter.
Regardless of the method of delivery, these handy tips from Colgate encourage us to be gentle with the response. Even if your child is confident they know the truth, confirmation from a parent or guardian can be pretty rattling. Remind them of how much fun they had; show them photos of your tooth fairy memories, let them join in on the fun if they have younger siblings, and celebrate the tooth fairy with these fun movies: The Tooth Fairy, Tooth Fairy 2, Rise of the Guardians, and Toothless (no, not How to Train Your Dragon!).
The underlying current that runs through it all is the essential truth of the tooth fairy’s existence, whether real or imagined. She takes a sometimes painful and awkward period of upheaval in a child’s life, and turns it into something fun and magical. That is something we can all celebrate.
PDG Pediatric Dental Group provides pediatric dental services for infants, children, and adolescents as well as orthodontic services for children, teenagers, and adults. Their doctors are specially trained to allow them to manage children’s fears and apprehensions in a positive manner. They are also specially trained to provide dentistry under mild conscious sedation and general anesthesia. To help your children have the best experience possible, they have tailored the design of our offices, especially for kids. In each office, you’ll find an education fun zone waiting area, movie entertainment, video games, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Heather is a Toronto born mama of two whose parenting journey has taken her family coast to coast across Canada. When she’s not whipping up recipes for the Healthy Family Living website or sharing the latest fun Vancouver events on HFL’s Facebook page, she’s a freelance writer that has recently been published in an anthology entitled BIG, as well as in the Huffington Post, as she and her hubby of 13 years attempt to keep up with their two spirited girls and 3 fur babies!