Our last post was about the big role primary teeth play in setting the stage for permanent teeth to follow. When your child is around five or six years old and those baby teeth begin to loosen, one by one, it’s an exciting part of growing up, one that sometimes comes with a hint of anxiety. The tradition of the tooth fairy helps ease some of that fear, transforming it to wonder at the winged pixie who appears in the night, donning gifts in exchange for that little piece of childhood.
Children all over the world experience the same transition, but apparently, the tooth fairy doesn’t fly the entire globe collecting teeth. In Mexico, a little mouse named El Raton swaps baby teeth for coins. The mouse is prevalent in France, Spain, and throughout Latin America, as well. Mongolian children give their teeth to a guardian angel to swallow. That guardian angel, a young dog, helps ensure that a strong tooth will grow in the lost tooth’s place.
Here are some ways to help keep the tradition’s magic alive in your home:
Craft a Homemade Tooth Fairy Box
Store-bought tooth boxes are cute, but they can also be expensive. Making the box yourselves is time went spent together, with a finished product your child (and the tooth fairy) will be proud of.
Because matchboxes are small, sturdy, and easy to decorate, they make a terrific starting point. Try lining the interior with felt and wrapping the outside with decorative paper. Children may also add finishing touches with ribbon, stickers, glitter, or beads.
Other ideas include decorating an old film canister, unused pill box, or empty Altoids tin. These now come in extra-small sizes, quaint enough to remain unobtrusive beneath a pillow. Trader Joe’s also sells mints in tins on the shelves near the cash register. You can even make your own box from sturdy cardboard, finding directions for folding online.
In addition to taking from the box, the tooth fairy may also leave her coins or bills behind within its confines. And much later, when the not-so-little one no longer believes in fairies, the box will make an amazing gift, especially if it’s filled with tiny teeth.
Leave Fairy Signs
The tooth fairy comes when the children are sleeping, so part of the magic lies in the spirit of believing. But even though they can’t see her firsthand, kids will be thrilled by signs of her passing through.
Evidence the tooth fairy may leave behind is traces of gleaming fairy dust on the pillow and, perhaps, along the window ledge. Fine glitter, or glitter in the shape of stars, may substitute for fairy dust if you can’t make it out to the specialty store. Thoughtful fairies will also take the time to leave a note, in tiny, legible print or in mysterious fairy script, rolled up in a dainty scroll tied with a ribbon.
Keepsakes over Coins
Traditionally, the tooth fairy leaves coins or bills behind, but changing this memento up every now and then is something that can keep the kids surprised with every visit. Substitutes for money include charms, barrettes, or small jewelry items for girls and keychains, figurines, or matchbox cars for boys.
Have a unique tooth fairy tradition to share? Leave a comment below and tell us about it!