Believing in make-believe and fairies can be an enjoyable part of childhood and many parents and youngsters embrace this magical approach to life. Eventually, as a child grows and matures, he will become ready to learn that the tooth fairy is not real. When the time for ‘fessing up comes, help your child understand the reality in a sensitive yet truthful manner.
Wait until your child asks about the tooth fairy, advises psychologist Susan Bartell, writing for the Education.com website. When a child asks about the tooth fairy, this indicates that the youngster has questions about the validity and is ready to hear the truth. If a child isn’t questioning you, it’s appropriate to wait until she asks to tell her the truth.
Sit with your child and tell him, “No, the tooth fairy isn’t real. The tooth fairy is a made-up fairy that parents created long ago to help make losing teeth fun and exciting for kids. When kids can look forward to a visit from the tooth fairy, suddenly losing a tooth seems like a neat thing, huh?”
Listen to your child’s reaction. A child might accept this news with little emotion or she might become sad or angry. The sadness and anger might occur from disappointment about the truth, grieving for the loss of the fantasy or anger at you for telling him something that isn’t true.
Accept your child’s feelings, whatever they may be. Your child must have the opportunity to feel her feelings and come to terms with the reality, advises psychologist Laura Markham, with the Aha! Parenting website.
Resist the urge to compound any negative issues by telling your child something that isn’t true. Instead, provide support and comfort as your child works through his feelings and comes to accept the reality of the tooth fairy. Your child’s disappointment and sadness are understandable, but with your support, he can accept this truth.
Apologize to your child, if your child needs to hear an apology from you. If your child feels angry at you about a betrayal, it’s appropriate to tell your child you’re sorry that you hurt her. You might say, “I’m sorry that I hurt you. I was trying to help you believe in something fun. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Will you please forgive me?”
Sometimes a child hears information from peers but doesn’t want to give up a belief in the tooth fairy. If your child is grappling with not knowing whether to believe or not believe, tell your child that she can make that decision whenever she’s ready.