My sweet oldest daughter lost her first tooth almost a year ago at the tender age of five. I was completely surprised at this event which for some reason I assumed happened to older children! At the time I quickly researched Tooth Fairy traditions because beyond putting money under the pillow I hadn't prepared anything.
A little googling and some of my own ideas came together and for the benefit of others I'm posting what we did/are doing. My #1 word of advice is plan ahead before your children's teeth start getting loose!
We were able to use our ideas a few times last year because she ended up loosing (or having pulled) 4 more! She has another loose tooth right now so I'll be pulling out my "Tooth Fairy" stash soon.
Loosing Teeth/Tooth Fairy Traditions
1. Exchange Tooth for Money - Now this is pretty basic but required a mention. :) Basically your child puts the tiny little tooth under their pillow when they go to bed. During the night you exchange the tooth for some money. We have been reimbursing a $1 for a tooth but you could give any amount that seems reasonable. Remember they have a lot of teeth to lose so don't start an expensive precedent!
I'd like to make a mention to the creative way my family handled loosing teeth when I was a child. Instead of putting them under a pillow we put them in a glass of water. Up on the dresser the Tooth Fairy would replace the tooth with a couple coins. When I was older the glass was kept on the kitchen counter and change was added to the tooth (b/c I was saving the teeth myself since I knew there was no Tooth Fairy at that point). My sister and I would keep the glass on the counter until we thought there was enough change in there, ha! Note I still have a tiny little pink pouch full of all my baby teeth saved somewhere around here. ;)
2. Tooth Holder - If you're not using a glass of water I suggest putting the tooth under the pillow into something as those teeth can be very small and you don't want to be fumbling around behind their bed because it fell! We used a small plastic jewelry box but if you planned ahead you could order a nice Tooth Fairy box like this one. Or a bag like this one.
After a couple teeth fell out I got my act together and sewed a little Tooth Fairy Pillow. It's not the prettiest pillow ever but it works. I followed this tutorial on: fresh paint.
3. Write a Tooth Fairy Note - A Tooth Fairy note was an idea that came to me that first night. I thought a little encouraging message would be appreciated. I addressed it like a real letter with her name and our address and wrote with a silver colored pen which seemed fairy-like to me. :) I put her dollar in the envelope with the card and slipped it under her pillow when I took the tooth.
Now, if I'd planned ahead I could have purchased special papers or kits especially for this purpose! As it is I'm saving the specific stationery that I used so that I have enough for the many teeth to come!
4. Special Circumstances - In an ideal tooth-losing world your child would lose a tooth, put it under their pillow and receive money. However, sometimes glitches can arise such as a swallowed tooth, lost tooth or pulled tooth! What to do then?
We've only had pulled teeth here and decided that a pulled tooth deserves double $$ so she gets $2 each for a pulled tooth! For swallowed/lost teeth I've been told the child can write a special note (or parents can write for them) that explains to the Tooth Fairy about the lost/swallowed tooth. I don't recommend giving extra $$ for swallowed teeth b/c I think you may find more teeth being "accidentally" swallowed if your child is bright enough to figure out that makes them worth more!
5. Family Celebration - The night of the lost tooth we have a special toast to celebrate the accomplishment. We chill some sparkling grape juice and pull out the wine glasses. I think this may be my daughter's favorite part!
6. Tooth Fairy Books - When their teeth start to get loose I recommend picking up some books about the Tooth Fairy. There are many to choose from, my daughter especially likes this one The Night Before the Tooth Fairy by Natasha Wing.
7. Take Photos - Another obvious one but take photos, especially with the first few teeth. When my daughter lost her first tooth we were at the playground. We did a little jump up and down, scream/ shout celebration and quickly sent a photo to her dad at work so he could see. She was SO proud!
Hey, before we know it they'll be all grown up with adult teeth so enjoy these "firsts"!
Now about keeping those baby teeth. Some of my friends toss them in the trash but I'm keeping them for now. I stashed them way up high so that my daughter doesn't accidentally discover them while she still believes in the Tooth Fairy. Perhaps someday she'll want all her baby teeth if she's sentimental like her mom. If she's like her dad she'll think that's gross and throw them in the trash. Only time will tell, ha!