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Tooth-Fairy Fairness

You thought a quarter would be fine when you did tooth fairy duty. That is, until you learned that the rest of the neighborhood kids got a dollar. Uh oh.

Early grade-schoolers are preoccupied with fairness, says Becky Spritz, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI. And no kid wants to think the tooth fairy likes the kid next door better!

So what do you do?

Act like you knew about the disparity all along. Explain that the tooth fairy respects how families spend money: She consults with parents on the exchange rate for lost teeth.

Toss in a treat. Wrap up a small "mom" present and say that you're adding to the spoils.

Up the offering next time (if you want). You don't have to go along with the crowd, but if you do want to raise the fairy's rate, get creative with your next-morning explanation: "Oh, yes! Third through sixth teeth get a dollar, didn't you know?"

Spill the beans if he seems ready. If your child is picking your explanation apart, he might be on to you. In this case, explain that the money you leave is what you've decided is appropriate for this particular family, kid, and tooth.

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