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The Tooth Fairy: How Much Should She Be Giving?!

ParentingPost Category - ParentingParenting - Post Category - Older KidsOlder Kids

How Many Dirhams Does The Tooth Fairy In Dubai Give The Kids For Each Of Their Pearly Whites? Jane Investigates…

A few weeks ago I was at the compound swimming pool with my two kids. A 7-year old neighbour came to show me that he had lost a wobbly tooth.
Wow, did the tooth fairy come?” says I.
Yes, of course,” says the friendly chap,  “the tooth fairy left me 300 Dirhams”.

It would be an understatement to say that I was shocked! 300 Dirhams? My eldest gets 20 Dirhams per tooth and I thought that was pretty generous!

This made me wonder about the whole Tooth Fairy concept, where does it come from and what is the lesson that we are trying to teach our children by perpetuating the Tooth Fairy tale? Is it money for nothing, a fair trade or utter nonsense?


What I found was really rather interesting.

The Tooth Fairy is a fairly modern American invention and despite appearing briefly in minor folklore, she only really made her mark after WW2.  It seems that the well-received appearance of Disney’s Tinkerbelle and Cinderella helped to put gusto behind the fairy phenomenon.  Family traditions change slightly across different countries but the basic premise is the same.  A child loses a tooth, puts it under the pillow or by the bed at night and along comes a tooth fairy to swap the white gold for money or a present.

But how much dosh should she leave and why do it at all? After much google-ing, I wasn’t able to find a consistent amount or even a common understanding of why she would do such as thing!

However, according to, the tooth fairy in the States dished out a whopping $290 million in 2016! Equating to about $6 per visit. That is the equivalent of about AED 25 per tooth.

But can we compare the going price in the States to the cost of living in our glittering metropolis, where nothing comes cheap?


I talked to a few Sassy mamas to find out what they think of the tooth fairy.

Hannah Armitage has been living in Dubai for 15 years and has two young daughters.

“For us, the tooth fairy is all about innocent fun.  I just love the look on my kid’s face when she sees money under her pillow and thinks that a tiny fairy has visited her in her sleep. She actually forgets about the money after 2 minutes. It’s not the amount of money that matters, it’s about the magical experience and creating memories”.

Joanna Nelson, believes that even though the children are very young, it is a good time to introduce the idea of saving up pennies to buy something that they want.

“My son doesn’t really have an understanding of the value of money, I don’t think that many kids really do at this age.  But we talked about what he would like to buy and how he needed to save up to buy it.  We combined tooth fairy visits with a few chores and when he had enough coins he bought some Pokemon cards.  He was delighted that he could purchase something with his own money, something that he had earned”.

Kirsten Morrison has a practical approach to the pitfalls of splashing the excess cash.

“I worry that parents maybe establishing unrealistic and rather large expectations of future hand-outs if they give too much. It means nothing to a child whether they get 3 or 300 Dirhams. It is just magic to them. But 6 or 7 years old is a good age for parents to introduce the idea of earning money and saving up for the things that they want. That is what I think the whole Tooth Fairy thing is all about”.

All in all the tooth fairy concept is a pretty fickle one that is potentially, a little confusing. Because money doesn’t grow on trees, the tooth fairy brings it!

Whatever amount the tooth fairy chooses to leave, or why, is a family choice, there is a lesson here about earning money, should a parent choose to enforce it.  But, for me at least, the look of excitement and happiness on a child’s face when they have been visited by the Tooth Fairy is worth and few Dirhams either way.

Feature Image by XXX, Image #2 from Pinterest, Image #3 from Pinterest.

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