Stem Protect asks: “Are your kids quids in, or counting the pennies?”
The tooth fairy is an age-old tradition of leaving children a few coins in exchange for their teeth under a carefully created guise, but is the going rate for teeth fair? UK-based stem cell storage company Stem Protect has found in a recent survey that children are receiving varying amounts of cash in exchange for their teeth.
Even though the tooth fairy – along with the Easter bunny – was identified to be a key worker by New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, there's concerns the kids are being bullied by their peers for not getting "enough" in exchange for their teeth.
Stem Protect spokesperson Mark Hall (above) says: “Anyone would think it’s the stock market with the prices per tooth constantly chopping and changing. But it’s the kids who are taking the brunt of it all and being bullied for a low exchange rate with the tooth fairy.”
The tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth
With the price for teeth varying so much, the survey asked dozens of parents how much their kids get from the tooth fairy to find out what the current exchange rate is. The answers were often surprising:
• Charlotte, Bristol: “It depends on how much money we, I mean, (ahem) the tooth fairy has to hand. Sometimes the fairy can only scrape together 50p, other times £1. As long as there’s a few shiny coins under the pillow, our kid doesn’t care.”
• Debbie, Grimsby: “They get whatever they’re given, one time I had no money in my purse, so I left a packet of chewing gum under the pillow. Made her really popular that day at school.”
• Tina, Hartlepool: “I used to give a couple of quid per tooth, but I had to bring in a new rule after my kids realised if they pulled their teeth out that they could cash in with the tooth fairy. I’ve told them that the tooth fairy won’t buy it if it doesn’t fall out naturally, and they could be sued in fairy court. It’s saved me a fair bit.”
But although it’s discretionary as to how much the tooth fairy leaves, the survey found that many parents are experiencing first-hand how this has left their children in floods of tears.
• Raymond, Swansea: “My daughter came home crying the other day because the other kids were telling her that the tooth fairy doesn’t love her, all because she got 50p for her tooth. Turns out the going rate in her class is a fiver every time, can you believe that?!”
• Patricia, Andover: “I’ve been called into the school because my son was getting bullied for being poor, all because he only got £1 from the tooth fairy. I feel like it’s all my fault.”
• Tony, Sheffield: “I gave my kids 20p, but bloody Tarquin down the road got £20 so my kids have been checking the pillow every morning as 'she must have forgotten, dad.' It’s been three weeks, and they’ve been so upset."
Mark commented: “It’s tough to decide how much the tooth fairy should leave under the pillow, but with children being bullied and left upset, maybe there’s a need to set a sensible limit so everyone gets the same.”
Can lost teeth bring smiles?
Although many parents feel pressured to keep up with tooth fairy expectations, some agree with Mark that there needs to be new rules for how much teeth are worth. One parent suggests: “If each tooth for every kid is worth 50p, there’s no huge pressure for parents to pay up, and there’s no fighting in the playground over whose teeth are worth more.”
Mark observed: “There’s a lot of pressure for parents to keep up with how much other kids are getting from the tooth fairy, and it seems like it’s increasing every year. Children have twenty baby teeth. If you’re giving a fiver each time, you’re giving your kid £100 in exchange for their gnashers. Think of all the takeaways and beers you can buy yourself with that.”
But it’s not all doom and gloom, and lost teeth can put a smile on people's faces.
Although many children are being bullied for not earning enough tooth money, ten-year-old Malachi in East London donated his £5 from the tooth fairy to the Salvation Army, which sparked further funding resulting in the opening of a new homeless centre with 42 flats, which they named Malachi Place in his honour.
Mark adds: “Maybe this is a good way to teach children the value of money, by encouraging them to donate their tooth fairy money to good causes. Let’s use the tooth fairy to teach our kids to be kind.”
For more information about Stem Protect, visit https://www.stemprotect.co.uk/