Download the NECU app on iTunes. Dismiss

Money Lessons from the Tooth Fairy

Ah, the magic of the Tooth Fairy. Every child looks forward to the discomfort of losing a baby tooth, because they know that a tiny fairy is going to slip under their pillow and leave some money behind. While it may seem like a silly childhood myth, it’s an iconic one that crosses cultures and religions and there is a lot a child can learn from the little lady with wings.

What’s under my pillow? One very basic thing the Tooth Fairy offers younger children is the chance to learn about all the combinations of money that equal a dollar. Leave your kids four quarters, 10 dimes, 20 nickels, 100 pennies and discuss how they all equal one dollar.

Can I spend it? While allowance may have rules around what it can be spent on, Tooth Fairy money is more of a treat, comparable to adults who gain an unexpected inheritance or a tax refund. Kids are not going to be pulling out their teeth to experience this miniature windfall, so why not let them spend the money on anything they want. Life is made richer by little surprises like this!

“But Johnny got…..” Don’t be surprised if your children do market research to find out the going tooth fairy rate! While this can seem like keeping up with the Jones’, it can also be interpreted as a smart on your child’s part. You can spin this into a lesson about how to negotiate job salaries for babysitting or chores.

Pain and gain. Losing a tooth can be painful for many children. To compensate for the pain, talk to your child about other things that can cause discomfort, but offer a reward, such as working hard at school to get a high grade or working towards at an athletic goal and winning.

The Tooth Fairy is embedded in our culture and is not going to fly off anytime soon, so use her to offer your kids some financial wisdom.