What if the Tooth Fairy forgot to come? What do you do? There are times in every child’s life when it seems like the Tooth Fairy ‘forgot to come’. But let me clear that up right now:
THE TOOTH FAIRY DOES NOT FORGET TO COME. Like, ever.
But at some point in their childhood (and their 20 baby teeth), a child may find themselves the victim of a ‘forgotten’ tooth fairy visit. The child flips over their pillow to find…nothing. Or worse–their tooth. There may be crying on the child’s part and bumbling explanations on the parent’s part. It’s heartbreaking for everyone involved.
So what happened? If the Tooth Fairy DOESN’T EVER FORGET TO COME, why are teeth sometimes left behind?
I am here to clarify some of the details of how the Tooth Fairy operates. Please share this knowledge with your children as the need arises.
Here are some of the most common reasons it seems like the Tooth Fairy forgot and what you can do to help
A tooth is wiggled out after 8pm.This is just a logistics situation. Unless the tooth fairy is already in your neighborhood, teeth wiggled out late at night will likely get put on the next night’s schedule to get picked up. This is why I enforce a strict ‘no wiggling after 8pm’ rule at our house–to avoid this disappointment.
It is windy.The Tooth Fairy has a difficult time flying in high winds. Of course, you may not know there were winds during the night until the next morning. If there is no other explanation for a missed tooth pick-up, this is usually why.
It is rainy or snowy.See #2.
The tooth is left in a hard to reach spot.This is the second-most common reason a tooth is missed. Sometimes a tooth gets bumped out from under the pillow by a sleeping child. Or it gets buried in stuffed animals. Or tangled in bedding. Remember, the Tooth Fairy is tiny and she may not be able to move things around to get to a tooth.
What to do if the Tooth Fairy forgot?
Tips for kids and parents—how you can help the Tooth Fairy!
- Parents: to ensure a Tooth Fairy-compatible pickup, set an alarm on your phone to check on the tooth before your own bedtime. That way, you can ascertain that a tooth has been properly placed by your child. And that it has not become trapped or accidentally pushed off the bed where the Tooth Fairy can’t reach it.
- Some families have adopted the habit of putting a lost tooth on the kitchen counter where it is easily visualized and reachable by the Tooth Fairy. She takes the tooth and leaves her gift in exchange on the counter. Concerned children can leave a note under their pillow to alert her to where the tooth is. Notes don’t seem to get missed like teeth sometimes do. Research is ongoing to explain this phenomena.
- If your child loses a tooth when they are away from home (like a sleepover or on vacation) please make sure they know that there is no guarantee that your Tooth Fairy will be able to get to them. It just depends. There are no-fly zones and special laws that vary between cities and even neighborhoods that sometimes make it impossible. Just have your child keep their tooth stored safely with their toothbrush until they can set it out once they return home. It’s a good idea to make sure you set the alarm to double-check the tooth-placement accuracy. Tired children can forget to do this and sleepovers make them particularly out of sorts.
Fun fact: Did you know that there are, in fact, multiple Tooth Fairies? They tend to stick with a family over several generations. That’s why your child may receive similar loot to what you received. And also why the loot may be different then what the neighbor kid gets.
The Tooth Fairy sometimes gets a bad rap when a disappointed child believes they have been forgotten. But I believe a better understanding of what the Tooth Fairy is up against will help. Your Tooth Fairy is under certain constraints that she must operate under! Knowing what to do will help alleviate disappointment and ensure that you don’t have to worry about what to do if the Tooth Fairy forgets.
There is some burden on parents and children to be sure that a tooth is compatible for pickup. And to have a reasonable expectation in regards to weather and other factors that might impact the Tooth Fairy’s ability to exchange a tooth.
The Tooth Fairy does not forget. Ever. So if there is a problem, it’s on us.
Let’s make it as easy as possible for the Tooth Fairy to do her job!