Is the Tooth Fairy paying children too much?

Is the tooth fairy paying kids too much? (Picture: Getty)

It’s a longstanding tradition that when a child loses a tooth, they get a payout from the ‘Tooth Fairy’.

But how much should that be?

According to research by YouGov Omnibus last year, the average amount left by the Tooth Fairy across Britain is 88p.

But that can vary. According to the poll, one in 20 people (5%) would leave just a penny, while a further 1% respectively would pay just 2p, 5p and 10p.

Just over a fifth (22%) would pay 50p, while four in ten (41%) would leave £1 – the most popular price per tooth – while 5% value each tooth at £2.

It also varies according to region, with the Tooth Fairy most generous in Scotland (leaving £1 a tooth), but more stingy in the Midlands and Wales, who are below the average at 80p.

It’s clear the amount of cash parents pass to their children via the Tooth Fairy varies. But what amount is the right amount?

If parents leave too much cash under their child’s pillow, are they teaching them to be frivolous with cash, or by depriving them are they making theirs the only kid in class who didn’t get a visit from the tooth fairy?

Money expert Simon Read, former personal finance editor at The Independent and an expert on BBC1’s Right On The Money told the Britain is a Nation Of…. podcast that the tooth fairy is an important tool for teaching children how to manage their cash,

“It’s all linked with that teaching children the value of money and what you can do with money,” he said.

“If they are getting a pound or even two pounds, this is some money they can do things with.”

Listen to the full episode of Britain is a Nation of… below


And if the ‘Tooth Fairy’ leaves a note encouraging children not to fritter the money away, Read says the cash could be useful in teaching children the value of money and saving up for things.

“It would make sense to me as a parent to say to a child, ‘oh great, you’ve now got £20 if you’ve lost 20 teeth… So you could use that towards giving yourself a treat or save up for something’. And parents can encourage that saving thing by offering to match whatever the child can save.”

Parents can even take it one step further into teaching children about saving as they grow older, he added.

“They can even say, ‘well let’s put it into a savings account’. There are plenty of really nice children’s savings accounts out there, you can start with £1 so that can be the first tooth and by the time they’ve lost the whole set they’ve got money. And then encouraging them to do other things to raise money – odd jobs round the house, helping with the washing up. Whatever it is, they can earn more money.”

Asked whether the Tooth Fairy is part of a problem that sees parents spending more and more on their children, Read said: “I always thought from an early age it was important to teach children the fact that if I did buy a pair of trainers for £90 it took this much time to earn this money so that they understand the cause and effect that this money doesn’t just grow on trees.

“You have to earn it somehow and that earn is a hard graft and then how you spend the money is a reward.”

To hear more unpacking of statistics about British people, listen to the full episode above, or download it on Apple Podcasts, Acast, or Spotify to listen while on the go.