26 answers

Toothfairy Talk

My newly 8 Year old daughter has a loose tooth (not the first one) and as we were talking about it the other day she said she was going to leave a note with the tooth asking for a picture of the toothfairy. She then turned to me and said, "If it's you, you need to leave me a picture of you." When I inquired what she thought she mentioned that sometimes she thinks it's me. I want to be truthful with her but I'm afraid she will then bring up the Santa issue- I would like to get another year out of that! Should I tell her or not? Thanks for the advice!

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Hi J.,

I have sort of brought the idea up that all these characters have helpers (like all the Santa's all over town) and that sometimes mommies and daddies are helpers too. I think it is fun for them to pretend and fun for us too!

With my 6 yr old we have always taken from the Polar Express idea and given him the "if you believe...". It seems to work with him but then he's 6, not 8. My husband and I will talk about how we believe in Santa and the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny, etc with him.

I bet at 8 she knows about santa, if nothing else because of kids at school. I would talk to her some more and follow her lead. If she wants to know, she wants to know.


ps. in little house on the prarie, there's a great explanation of what "santa" is about how it's everyone loving and the magic it makes. Have you guys read that book together?

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They only get to be little for so long, I love the magic that they get to experience, I do not see it as harmful or as "lying"...I say if they suspect the "truth" it is time to let them in on it, that doesn't mean it has to end...you can still pretend together = )
Trust your mommy instincts

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It's such a funny thing. That we tell these tales to our children. Mine are older now but I remember being in the position you are and struggling with it. The tooth fairy thing never really came up. The santa thing did. When I couldn't brush it off any longer. I told them there was a "Santa Claus" not like the one on tv. But one that went from house to house and left gifts for the children. Then when he went to heaven many other folks liked the idea so much that they decided they wanted to give children presents too. So now there are all kinds of Santa's. And they can be Santa's too. When you give a gift to someone you are a Santa. That took care of it they thought that was cool.
Kids at school talk about so much they hear it pretty early. Probably in kindegarten for most. There are always some kids who parents don't tell them about Santa and some who just don't have the money to spend. You could always say: Do you really want to know?

You could take a picture of yourself in the dark and leave it. lol That would be funny. Cover up the flash. :)

L. (H now)

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I would just tell her.
My 7 y/o son knows there is no tooth fairy. It was something that I didn't want to even get started, but the school system did. We still give him money for his teeth because we have had to pull every tooth that was loose. He has never had a tooth fall out, but he has had an adult tooth come in behind the loose baby tooth & we had to pull it. I figure that he is brave enough to let us pull his teeth, then he should still get money for it. He also likes that I keep his baby teeth & that he can look at them later if he likes.
Personally I feel like I am lieing to my kids when I reinforce the tooth fairy or santa thing.
My boys also know that there is no magical Santa, as I have told them many times about the real santa. I want my boys to focus on Jesus durring christmas & not "what is Santa going to bring me". They do get excited about gift giving, helping others & recieving gifts, so it is not like I have taken away the fun. I have just modified it.

God bless!

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Here is an idea that still leaves a little room for "fantasty" but isn't a lie either. Have your husband take a picture of you...in a robe or something...as you are disappearing around the corner of the bedroom door...you can tell her that the tooth fairy is just too fast as she flits in and out...to get a good picture of her. Sometimes we have to improvise as parents...I have vivid memories of one of the first times that our oldest daughter got a "visit from the tooth fairy". We were a poor strugging young couple, living on $750 a month ( this was 34 years ago!!) I THOUGHT I had put a one dollar bill under her pillow but she came out in the morning with a TEN dollar bill!!! I could NOT afford to let her have that entire $10, that was dinner for the next couple of nights. I told her that the tooth fairy must have run out of change and if she would just put that $10 under her pillow when she left for kindergarden, that the tooth fairy would come back and make change, so that she would have the money for the other little boys and girls. LOL...she bought it...
As to Santa Clause...I agree with one of the other Moms...I never made a big deal out of Santa Claus...I always told our children that Santa Claus was "the spirit of Christmas"...we always centered our Christmas Celebration around the birth of Jesus. The same idea with the Easter Bunny...we had fun with it...my husband uses flour to make "bunny tracks" from the front door to the hidden baskets...but they always knew the REAL reason for Easter was the Risen Lord. Children are so much smarter than we give them credit for...they can balance the fantasy AND the reality.

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All of our children are now grown - let me tell you a little story. As much as we as parents Love to have that excitement and belief that comes with such things as Santa and the Tooth Fairy. When our middle one was around 8 she came home upset because someone else had told her there was no Santa. After speaking with her and reassuring her there is a SANTA life went on. Soon after Christmas that year she came home and was asking again, so we reluctantly told her - a couple of months later she connected the dots to the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy on her own. Now as an adult we talk about this very issue concerning her own daughter and the one thing that she always says is that she felt "Stupid" after she went to school and insisted there was a SANTA because she KNEW her mommy would not lie to her....it's such a fine line to walk with our children - we tell them every day not to lie, but yet, in essence that is what we are doing with them.

In short - if she is already doubting the existence of the Tooth Fairy, it is probably better to keep your credibility and fess up. She will be able to retain all of her good memories of these things and will appreciate that you treated her like a big girl! If she doesn't ask about the others (Santa etc..), don't bring them into the conversation, but do remind her not to blow the myth for the younger children she may come in contact with.

Good luck!


My girls were watching the Macy's Day Parade and they were 8 and 9 at the time and my 8 year old was telling my 9 year old that Santa wasn't real. That the one on tv was fake and there really wasn't a Santa that it was mom and dad...they didn't realize I was listening. It broke my heart, but we decided that after lunch to sit them down and spill the beans. They were actually okay with it and seemed to be ready to hear the truth, which it sounds as if your little one is too.
We did tell them that we acted as these characters because we wanted them to enjoy the gifts they recieved from the characters and not think they were from us. We wanted them to be thankful of what they received and not have to feel they needed to thank someone for them. That we did it this way out of love for them and that we didn't want any credit for the "cool" things that Santa, the Easter Bunny and such gave them. It was sad to let the "dream" go, but they still enjoy Christmas and Easter and we still give them money for lost teeth, well there is actually just one more tooth to go between them, so we'll be a little richer after that one goes, until they get braces, lol. Good luck and God Bless.

You know, I just got around to reading the response you'd received. I love what Lisa said, but when I read what Betsy said something clicked with me. Pretending together is exactly what I've done, without realizing it.

I never wanted to lie to my children about Santa. Presents would appear Christmas morning and I let my children believe what they wanted. I didn't try to persuade them into believing. I encouraged them to think for themselves and come to their own decision, which I hope taught them to think critically and to respect others' beliefs.

I was surprised to find they never directly asked if Santa was real or not! They wanted to believe! But they so quickly got older as children do and I know none of them believe. We don't speak of it; rather, as my mom does with me to this day, we like to speak about Santa in fun as if he exists, as in, "The perfect gift! I guess Santa knew just what I wanted!" or "You must've been a good boy because that big present is for you!" It's all in fun, as we all know none of that is real. But it's still magic I enjoy.

As for the tooth fairy...I was just playful about it once the kids were old enough to question it.

With my 6 yr old we have always taken from the Polar Express idea and given him the "if you believe...". It seems to work with him but then he's 6, not 8. My husband and I will talk about how we believe in Santa and the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny, etc with him.

There is a book that I have read to my children and students called The Real Toothfairy. It is great with dealing with this issue b/c it talks about how the toothfairy takes on the look of someone you love so if you are awoken by them in the night you aren't frightened.

I feel when they start to question it, they need the truth.
My son never really believed in the tooth fairy. And around the age of 5, he knew there wasn't a true Santa.

Sorry this response is so late; I have been on vacation. As the mother of four boys of varying ages, this has been a bit of a challenge. I love living out the harmless magic of Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc.
My eldest rarely asked and just figured things out on his own (or at least we thought he did). When we explained about the Easter Bunny and how he could be a helper to his younger siblings, he was devastated. He STILL believed (or at least wanted to pretend to believe and we RUINED that for him). When the twins ask, I always say "What do you think?" They say "yes, I think he is real, but some people say he is not." Sometimes, they ask why the Tooth Fairy, etc. does not visit adults. I tell them that it is because these characters enjoy bringing joy into the lives of those children who believe. They ask me if I believe and I say "yes." This is an honest answer because I do believe in the magic of giving and sharing joy and gifts with others. If that joy and giving comes in the form of a character named the Tooth Fairy, etc. then so be it.
There is NOTHING wrong with keeping a little childhood magic alive. If your child really persists and wants to know if it is you, then answer honestly and say "these characters are fictional embodiments of the reality of love, sharing, etc. (of course, use language that she can understand), they are a part of the fun of being an adult and bringing a little "magic" into the lives of chldren.
It is NOT lying to your child. It does NOT take away from their religious growth. My eldest loves the holiday spirit and carrying on the traditions for the younger boys. He also is the child with the strongest faith in God and Jesus. It does not detract from the holiness of the holidays; it is a matter of parenting. If you emphasize the religious while embracing the "magic," the children get to enjoy the best of all worlds.
If you do tell her the truth in the most straight forward manner, by all means remind her that she does not have the right to "ruin it" for others. It is a choice to each and every family whether to embrace the magic or not. I choose to embrace the magic and the joy of each and every holiday. It is a fun outlet and a way to keep a little innocence and fun in a world where kids experience far too much reality.
Best of luck. Sorry for such a lengthy response. Have a great day and God bless you in your parenting journey!

One of my daughters read a book called the T.F. Letters, it is a story of a girl who begins leaving notes with her lost tooth. then the tooth fairy (T.F.) leaves a return note along with the $. If doesn't discount the T.F but talks through how the T.F grows with the child. I think it is a 3rd grade level book. Look it up and check it out. Our T.F. and all the kids wrote back and forth for years, you just have to be sure that the stationary can't be traced back to your bedroom or desk easily, notebook paper is a good choice or a plain color. each of my kids had an assigned T.F. so each had a different stationary that was challenging. but the whole thing is something that they still talk about, and as the little kids in our house get older and loose teeth they are excited to have letters to and from their own T.F.

Follow what feels right for your child, if you choose to tell her the truth stress to her that other children still believe and she shouldn't spoil it.

my third child decided that he knew that I was the T.F. so when he lost the next tooth, he said mom don't forget, I told him that mom's don't do the tooth/money thing that that was a T.F job and since he didn't believe then the job was done. he decided a little longer with the T.F was good.

good luck to you

be honest...that's really all she's asking of you.

If you don't want to tell her, then just google "toothfairy". You can download a certificate and it has a picture of a little toothfairy on it.

I took a different path than most, when my kids questioned a childhood belief I would tell them that I still believed (I still do, in the magic you create when you tell them these stories). I would also say that it's when you stop believing that the gifts stop coming! If you don't believe in the Tooth Fairy she has no reason to visit you, so no money, same goes for Santa. Of course the kids don't want that to stop and they keep 'believing' with you! My daughters have their own kids now and have said the same things to them, you don't actually confirm anything except the fact that non-believers don't get the visits. A good way to keep them 'believing' for the rest of their lives!

When i was younger I was always told Santa Toothfairy Easter bunny Ect is always in your heart and even though you can't see them they are there...I really like the idea that Lisa B said! every one has a little santa in them...=) and the toothfairy isn't that big of a deal...Just ask how do you get the money if she isn't real? lol if you want money you have to believe! lol

When my son wanted to know what the Tooth Fairy looked like, I drew a picture for him. You could try that. Childhood ends so fast these days, so I dont' blame you for wanting to prolong it. I'm the same way. (Magic and cameras just don't mix, heh.)

J....you have received lots of great ideas, and here is my thought. I learned in 1st grade from kids at school that there was no Tooth Fairy, Santa or Easter Bunny. I would have rather heard it from my parents. And that was 35 years ago. Something else to think about.

I don't blame you for wanting at least one more year of her believing! Try searching online for photo of toothfairy. You never know what you may come up with! Hopefully it will work.

This may take a little experimentation, but take a flash picture looking in a mirror so that the head and sholders are hidden by the flash. This can also reenforce the idea that the tooth fairy does not like to have his/her picture taken. As for the other item. I placed a rug if front of the fireplace, and after the children were in bed, I left footprints coming out of the fireplace as though Santa had gotten ashes on his boots. Evidence like this will help the children enjoy the season.

Good Morning J., our 10 yr old gr daughter asked about the tooth fairy also a couple of months ago. I asked her why she thought it was her daddy. Well I saw him leaving my room. Ahh I see, well just between you and me sissy, your right it was daddy. A long time ago, someone thought it was a good idea to reward children when they lost a tooth to show them how proud they were they had been so brave. I don't know who started this but we as parents and gr parents have carried on this tradition. So now that you know can you keep our secret from your brothers and not tell? Yes, cause i know they like getting money too. LOL

When the Santa topic has came up with our own boys and now the grand children, if they ask I tell them the same story. A Very Long time ago there was a man named St. Nicholas and every year he went through the village and placed pieces of candy & coal in the shoes of little children as a gift to help keep them & their families warm. When he went to heaven the parents took over the secret gift giving. We give gifts to each other on Dec 25, the day we celebrate Jesus' birthday. See God gave us his Son as a gift, even though he didn't have to, He did because he loves us. We can't give the perfect gift like God did, but we can give gifts to those we love in His Honor.
So on Dec 25 we give gifts to our kid-os on the Q/T because we love them just like God does.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)
Has worked for me since our son's were little so why change it now. Neither of our son's ever felt lied to when presented with truth & traditions placed together.

God Bless you J.
K. Nana of 5

I bet at 8 she knows about santa, if nothing else because of kids at school. I would talk to her some more and follow her lead. If she wants to know, she wants to know.


ps. in little house on the prarie, there's a great explanation of what "santa" is about how it's everyone loving and the magic it makes. Have you guys read that book together?

Hi J.,

I have sort of brought the idea up that all these characters have helpers (like all the Santa's all over town) and that sometimes mommies and daddies are helpers too. I think it is fun for them to pretend and fun for us too!

If she already suspects it's you, it's time to tell her the truth. You don't want her to believe you would lie to her, do you ? She will ask about Santa too.
Here's what I did ..... I told them Santa is a game we play at Christmas. No, he's not real, but don't we have fun pretending ?
Kids love pretend. They pretend all the time. Little boys don't really believe they are Spiderman, and little girls don't really believe "Barbie" is real, they just have a lot of fun pretending.
So Santa is the same.
As for the tooth fairy, When my child loses a tooth, I offer to "buy" the tooth from them. They hand me the tooth, I give them the money and thank them for the treasure. Then I ask them to "hold the tooth for safe keeping" for me (so the child can still take it to school for show-and-tell). Works well for us !

I have never lied to my children about the tooth fairy, santa or any other imaginary being. Would you punish her for lying to you about something and then tell her how it hurts the trust between the two of you. These are not harmless, they hurt the trust between the two of you! She is asking you to be honest with her!!! Lying is wrong, period, just wrong!

My opinion from my heart is that if she did not point blank ask you I would milk it as long as I can, either print a picture of a fairy OR leavea note that says my identity must remain a secret!

My brain says that this is probably her way of opening the door for you to explain the tooth fairy to her. Don't even bring up Santa and maybe it will go over. I always told my kids 14 13 and 10 that if they don't believe in Santa that he won't come. I know that they know it is me, but I can still pretend like they don't and have fun with it!

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