The Tooth Fairy and The $10 itunes gift card

by Scott on September 22, 2008

This weekend I was catching up with a friend and we were discussing what had been happening in the lives of our family over the last few weeks. We talked about school starting back again and how we can’t believe summer is over and fall is around the corner when he mentioned his daughter had lost a tooth. This wasn’t an ordinary tooth, as it had been one that she didn’t want anyone to touch and let her tongue and mother nature do all the work. My friend then mentioned that the tooth fairy was going to deliver a $10 itunes gift card. It didn’t hit me at first, but then I thought $10 and an ipod in the same sentence. We are also talking about an 8 year-old and the thought of paying $10 per tooth and the fact that she already owns an ipod. I didn’t want to ask if it was a nano or an iphone. And yes, I have seen children with nicer cell phones than mine.

When did the tooth fairy index rise from $1 to $10 per tooth?
I actually recall receiving 25 cents for a tooth and $1 when I lost two teeth in one day. Does the tooth fairy visit your house? Do you participate and leave these pearly whites from your beautiful children and trade them for $10 itunes gift cards? Since when did the tooth fairy start working for Apple and Steve Jobs? I was shocked and then it made me think what are we teaching our children.

Does $10 seem rational for a tooth?
Children typically have 20 baby teeth, which would make for a gift of $200 from the tooth fairy. Looks like losing baby teeth could be a source of residual passive income for children. After reading this, please don’t think I’m serious. But, it does make you think what we are teaching our children about a natural event and income. Do you get paid when your hair turns gray or when your belt size grows? Wouldn’t that be fun.

An ipod for a 7 year-old? When I was 7 I enjoyed riding my bike, reading, coloring, and playing games. Does a 7 year-old have the ability to appreciate an ipod? Would you regulate what songs your 7 year-old plays on the ipod? I guess I better start doing my research on Jonas Brother and Hannah Montana lyrics.

A savings account for your child. Whether the tooth fairy brings $1 or $10 for your child’s tooth, could you utilize this opportunity to teach them about saving money? I remember both of my parents and grandparents telling me to save money for a rainy day or special event. I had a passbook savings account and would enjoy reviewing my deposits after major holiday’s and after the tooth fairy would visit. Yes, we would go to the bank even for $1. If a child receives a $10 itunes gift card they will not have the ability to set any money aside and understand the savings opportunity. In fact, I currently have a balance on my itunes account. I wonder how many people have a balance and forget that they have unused money to spend on songs.

Would you compensate your children for losing teeth? What is a reasonable amount, and would you encourage them to think about saving a portion of it?

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1 Work At Home Mom Tara September 22, 2008 at 12:36 pm

$10 per tooth is pretty steep! When I was a kid, I think I got .50. I gave my son $2 a tooth when his came out and thought that was allot.

I have always talked with my kids about the importance of money and my 11 year old is good about saving his money.

A 7 year old has no business with an expensive toy, such as an iPod, in my opinion. They are not responsible enough to care of those kinds of things and could listen to music on TV during their cartoons.

2 pellicanss September 22, 2008 at 12:37 pm

I have an 8 year old son. In our house, the tooth fairy brings $1 for each tooth. She does “splurge” for the two big front teeth. The two front teeth were worth $5 each.

On the ipod, it seems a litttle much for an 8 yr old. My 8 yr old is just starting to gain an appreciation for music. I may consider a cheap mp3 for Christmas.

3 Jennifer September 23, 2008 at 12:51 pm

I agree that $10 and an iPod is kind of too much. My daughter is only 4, but I am thinking $1 or .50 cents when teeth start coming out. I got .25 cents when I was younger.

4 Scott September 23, 2008 at 12:51 pm

@ Tara $2 sounds much more reasonable. I agree that a 7 year old would also have a better chance of losing the ipod or dropping it. Maybe an older portable cd player would be good if they are really into music. I just can’t imagine having my kids walk around with earbuds when I’m trying to talk to them. I have a few years until the kids start asking for one.

@ Pellicanss That’s interesting that the two front teeth are worth $5 apiece. Still a lot cheaper than $10 and your average tooth price is still only $1. Do you allow your child to use the money for toys or do you encourage savings?

5 Scott September 23, 2008 at 3:19 pm

@ Jennifer I was starting to get concerned that $10 was the norm and would have to setup a tooth fairy savings account for future withdrawals. I guess that’s why dentists make a great living.

6 jj-momscashblog September 23, 2008 at 5:38 pm

Hi Scott, Another wonderful post! When I was little I remember getting 25 cents and I think maybe once was 50 cent piece. I will admit we didn’t have a savings account at a young age, but our mother certainly taught the value of a dollar. I guess maybe the “New Tooth Fairy” is just a little richer than the “Fairy” we had back all those years We are on the same wave length here I have a post[s] in the works on “Simplify Your Life”. With all the news from Wall Street on the front page and on the nightly news we have to learn to cut back and only buy if we have cash and really need it. I think the days of putting things on credit cards, and just buying things that we don’t really need are going to come to a screeching halt. I would love to “digg” this for you, but I have been unable to sign up because of prior owner had already signed in and I have to start over and it is causing a few problems. If I can get through the loop holes I will be back to “digg” you, it’s a great post.

7 Blake September 23, 2008 at 8:05 pm

And then we wonder where the overwhelming sense of entitlement comes from… Showering an 8 year old with Ipods/Iphones and the like is only going to set them up for a hugely painful lesson later in life when everything isn’t handed to them.

I always wonder the same thing about teens whose parents buy them EVERYTHING. Car, phone, spending money, whatever. It’s got to be really painful when that inevitably ends.

8 The Nester September 24, 2008 at 7:17 am

confession time.

My 10 year 11 month old has an ipod shuffle {$49}. My parents bought it for him for Christmas {2 years ago this Christmas}. They asked us if it would be ok and made it clear that if he lost it they would understand.

He has it even today and only has about 8 songs on it that my husband helped him pick out. So, I have no idea if this is good or bad but, this is us and he has really seemed to enjoy being responsible with it. My parents even talked to him about it and told him they knew it was a nice gift for a boy his age and that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if something happened to it. Weird. I think that motivated him to really take care of it and he always gives them a report on where it is and how he keeps it!

Rambling is now done.

9 Dan September 24, 2008 at 11:07 am

My children, ages 7 and 10, get $1.00 from the tooth fairy when they lose a tooth. I agree that $10 is too steep. I disagree, however, with those who say a 7 year old has no business with an expensive “toy” such as an iPod. Both my children have iPod shuffles. They are both VERY responsible and take excellent care of them. Perhaps some parents have not raised their kids in a way that they trust them with such items, but I for one would rather have them listening to music on an iPod than “on TV during their cartoons”. I don’t promote or encourage my children to spend time in front of the TV. They love their music, and my wife and I have been able to expose them to a variety of styles including classical, reggae, African, etc. With iTunes, I can set parental controls to restrict explicit material and cap the maximum volume on the device. Although the tooth fairy does not bring them iTunes gift cards, family members have purchased them for birthdays or Christmas. They absolutely LOVE getting on iTunes with mom or dad and picking out new songs from the Jonas Brothers, High School Musical, or the newest Disney movie. They also use GarageBand to compose their own music, adding their songs to their iPods or sharing them with friends.

Parents, get on board!!! This is 2008! It amazes me when some parents say a child is not old enough to appreciate a device such as an iPod (the shuffle only costs $49) but don’t think twice about buying a $400 gaming system and several brainless games at $50 a pop.

10 FFB September 24, 2008 at 11:21 am

For my daughter’s first tooth we gave her $5. We realized that would be expensive if we continued so the next teeth were only $1. Other family members gave her money as well. It was then that we opened up an ING sub-account in my daughter’s name so she could put her money away. Whenever I check my balance I call my daughter over so she can check her account. I explained to her that her money earns money too. She’s always excited to see what’s in there. We’ve given her the option of spending the money from time to time but she always refuses even though there’s stuff she would like to buy.

11 Scott September 24, 2008 at 2:26 pm

@ JJ I agree that we will all need to evaluate CC charges and starting saving more money. Although banks and credit card companies don’t want us to stop spending money as they need fees to make money.

@ Blake I wonder what age parents start buying cell phones for children. I understand the safety and communication aspect of it, but at what age is it appropriate. This could be a question for another post.

@ The Nester It sounds like your son is able to handle the responsibility of shuffle and your husband is helping him choose music options. Does your son keep the shuffle at home or does he take it to school? I would be concerned that it could be stolen at school.

@ Dan $1 sounds like the average price for a tooth today from the tooth fairy. I’m more relieved now:) You make a good point about TV and time spent watching cartoons and commercials. It also sounds like you family is very connected and use music as an opportunity to communicate and educate. Much different from the parents that just give an ipod to a child and walk in the other room. You make an excellent point about parental controls and volume. I did not even know you could set the ipod volume control to limit noise damage.

@ FFB Wow! You are amazing. You’ve established an ING account already for your daughter? What a fantastic way to show compound interest to your kids. My 4 year old probably wouldn’t understand just yet, but I still should open one anyway.

12 carol at A Second Cup September 26, 2008 at 12:20 pm

This is an interesting topic. We played tooth fairy but as a game. We paid for the first two teeth because we wanted this bit of childhood fun to remain a flight of fancy, not become a another high expectation gift opportunity. Also we kept the tooth fee in line with the market (about $1, 8 years ago)

It was fun to read about how parents today are tooth fairing.

13 Scott September 30, 2008 at 9:01 pm

@ Carol Interesting idea to pay for a few teeth. Did you child ever ask why the tooth fairy didn’t come back for the other teeth? I’m sure you had a wonderfully clever answer.

14 Mom in Atlanta October 4, 2008 at 6:33 am

I give my children a new book for each tooth lost.

15 Scott October 4, 2008 at 4:11 pm

@ Mom in Atlanta Books are a fantastic alternative to cash from the tooth fairy. Somehow a book always sneaks into my cart at Costco for the kids. I should really use the library more, but I can’t pass up some of the massive coloring or activity books that Costco has. Taking your idea another step, I wonder if someone has created a tooth fairy activity book? Mmmm. Could be the next big money maker :)

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