MONEY kids

Shocker! Tooth Fairy Surveys Can’t Be Trusted

girl holding up tooth
Getty Images

The big lie about the Tooth Fairy—one of the big lies anyway—is that the reports about how much a child gets under the pillow after losing a tooth are meaningful.

According to the just-released Original Tooth Fairy Poll from Delta Dental, losing baby teeth has gotten significantly more lucrative for American kids. The survey, based on input from more than 1,000 parents around the country, indicates that the average gift left by the Tooth Fairy for a lost tooth was $4.36 in 2014. That’s up from an average of $3.50 in 2013, representing an increase of about 25%.

Based on the data, kids who live in the South have more valuable teeth than their counterparts nationally: They average $5.16 per tooth left under the pillow, compared with $4.16 and $4.68 in the Northeast and West, respectively. Children in the stingy Midwest, on the other hand, receive only $2.83 per tooth on average.

The poll is being presented as a positive economic indicator, with the idea that the Tooth Fairy becomes more generous hand in hand with households getting raises and a surging stock market. “Kids are benefiting from the recovering U.S. economy,” the press release announcing the poll states.

It should be somewhat worrisome, then, that another Tooth Fairy payment study has it that the amount of cash kids get for losing teeth has been on the decline. The Visa Tooth Fairy Survey shows that American children received an average of $3.70 per tooth in 2013—not far off from the Delta Dental estimate of $3.50—but in 2014 that figure dropped 8%, to $3.40. That’s nearly a full $1 off the Delta Dental figure for 2014.

The results of both surveys are in agreement that the Midwest pays the least for lost teeth, but in the Visa poll, it’s the kids who live in the West, not the South, who are most spoiled with premium payments under the pillow. Children in the West average $3.60 per tooth, according to the Visa survey, followed by the South and Northeast (about $3.50), with the Midwest at the cheap end ($3.10).

Why are there such disparities between the two surveys? Among other reasons, outliers, in the form of households that pay big bucks for baby teeth. A few years back, for example, instances of tooth rewards hitting $20 and sometimes even $50 a pop began surfacing. “Only” 3.6% of Visa survey respondents said the Tooth Fairy Left $20 or more in 2014, a fall from 6% the year before. The most common gift, named by one-third of those polled, was just $1. So the outliers sure seem to sharply skew the average upward, far above the median or typical Tooth Fairy payment.

A large portion of respondents in both polls, meanwhile, said that the amount of cash one had on hand had a big influence in how much (or little) was left under the pillow. It also must be mentioned that a decent portion of those polled won’t remember exactly how much was left each time the Tooth Fairy visits, and/or that they’re fairly likely to recall the Tooth Fairy being more generous than she was in real life.

All of which indicates that Tooth Fairy payments—and surveys about Tooth Fairy payments—are pretty darn random. Shocking, we know.

TIME Bizarre

Parents Can’t Name Their Child ‘Nutella,’ French Court Says

A judge noted that Nutella "is the trade name of a spread"

A recently-born baby named Nutella was renamed by a court in the French city of Valenciennes after a judge ruled that the parents’ decision to the name the child after a food was against the child’s interest, according to a new report in the newspaper La Voix Du Nord.

“The name ‘Nutella’ given to the child is the trade name of a spread,” the court’s decision read, according to a translation. “And it is contrary to the child’s interest to be wearing a name like that can only lead to teasing or disparaging thoughts.”

The judge renamed the child Ella after the parents failed to show up at a court appointed day in November. The baby was born in September.

[La Voix Du Nord]

Read next: The Definitive Ranking of Nutella Alternatives

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME hockey

Angry Hockey Dad Smashes Safety Glass After Penalty Miss

"Way to go, Paul"

Sometimes people get a little too excited about sports, even if that sport is youth hockey. A parent gave a great example of this at recent tournament in York, Penn., when he became upset with a missed penalty call.

The father slaps the glass which somehow deteriorates under his hand sending shards all over the ice.

The York Daily Record spoke with the arena’s president, who said the man wedding ring concentrated the impact causing the safety glass to crumble.

“He broke the (wedding) ring,” Menzer said. “Apparently, his hand wasn’t in great shape either.”

Be sure to listen closely for the parent who drops a perfect “Way to go, Paul” after the refs stop the game while the glass is cleaned up.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME Family

How to Talk to Your Kids About Immigration

Hannibal Hanschke—Reuters Participants hold a banner during a demonstration called by anti-immigration group Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (Pegida) in Dresden, Germany, on Dec. 15, 2014

News stories about the debate over the DREAM act, the tens of thousands of children who arrive unaccompanied in the U.S. each year and even the backlash against immigrants in Europe after the Charlie Hedbo killings can raise all kinds of questions and stir up all kinds of emotions for kids. This is especially true when they involve children being separated from their parents.

We talked with William Perez, Professor of Education at Claremont Graduate University and author of Americans By Heart: Undocumented Latino Students and the Promise of Higher Education, for his tips on starting good conversations with kids about immigration.

Elementary age kids won’t grasp the more abstract issues surrounding immigration, Perez says. So conversations with them can begin with the fact that almost everyone living in the U.S. today comes from a family of immigrants – including theirs. “A good start would be discussing their family’s history of migration to the U.S.,” he says. “Why did they first come? What were the conditions in the country of origin?” From there, the discussion can widen “to conversations about contemporary migration, and the reasons families decide to live in a new country.”

Middle school kids can wrestle with more complex issues, says Perez, so parents can encourage them to broaden their horizons, by “reading narratives from families of different backgrounds about their immigration experiences.” And all the stories don’t have to come from the pages of a book. Middle school is also a great time, says Perez, for students to start “asking friends, classmates, or extended family members about their migration experiences.” How did their friends’ families come to this country? What was the experience of their grandmother, grandfather, aunts and uncles?

High school students “should begin to understand how immigration policies affect immigrants and their families,” says Perez. Families can discuss questions like why do some states have pro-immigrant laws while others have anti-immigrant laws? Perez also suggests that high school students read news stories about immigration from different sources, regions, and countries. Parents can encourage them to absorb what they read by asking questions like “Do these sources talk about immigration in different ways? If so, how? And why?” (One place to start might be this story in New York about an immigrant family who works fast food jobs in Texas.)

The bottom line, according to Perez: make sure that kids understand that immigration didn’t stop at Ellis Island. “Teaching about the history of immigration is important,” he says. But it’s also very important to help kids connect that history and current policies to their families and community.

TIME Parents

7 Ways to Monitor Your Kid’s Phone, Tablet and Laptop

kids and devices
Richard Lewisohn—Getty Images/Cultura RF

It's not spying if they're your kids

As a parent, you have the right to know what the kids in your care are doing with their digital devices, and to control what kids can see and use. It’s key to introduce controls and rules when a device is new so you and your child can be clear about what is and isn’t O.K. during screen time.

First of all, the device your family or child will use likely has its own parental control options. Some can screen out Internet access altogether, and others can filter out certain sites. Because they are all different, the best plan is to read up on the parental controls for each device and operating system your family will use.

Below are some tools for monitoring or limiting the amount of time the device is in use, tracking the software or apps used, and more.

Windows PCs When you create an account designated as a child’s account, you get the option to enable Family Safety settings. Family Safety allows you to monitor and /or time the usage from your child’s account, block certain applications or sites, and get weekly reports reviewing the activity on the account.

Macs If you and your child use separate Macs, you can share screens in addition to turning on Parental Controls. Log on as Administrator on your child’s Mac, go to the Sharing preferences and choose Screen Sharing. Continue to “Allow Access For” and choose Administrators. When you are on your Mac, go to the Finder and choose Go: Network to see your child’s Mac. Click on Share Screen to see the activity.

Software You can purchase software to further monitor or block kids’ access, which allows varying levels of censorship, depending on your kids’ ages and your house rules. Intego makes a highly rated one for Macs, Verity by NCH Software makes a popular one for PCs.

Tablets Each will have its own parental control settings, which will operate similarly to the corresponding computer operating system’s settings, described above.

Phones If your kid has any kind of smartphone, backing up the phone’s content to your own PC or Mac is a good idea. This way, you will be aware of which apps are being used on the phone, and you’ll be able to see what calls and text messages your child is making.

Be sure to activate the basic security features, as well as any further limitations on usage you want, in the phone’s setting before your child begins to use the phone.

GPS location trackers

Life360 Has a security map that will show you the precise location of each family member, as well as allow you all to communicate about you whereabouts. It’s free, and works with iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerrys.

Securafone This app lets parents set up boundaries on a map, and alerts them if kids wander outside the boundaries. It also has a panic button that kids can press to immediately dial a parent or other authority if trouble arises. Free, and works with iPhone and Android.

Phone service providers: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and other carriers also offer GPS tracking unique to their users. Check your plan and see what services are included.

Finally, how about trying to spend less time on your own Facebook page or gossip news site, to allow more time for joint media experiences with your family? You can block yourself (and your distractible kids) from such time wasters. SelfControl can be yours, free of charge.

This story was part of Time For Family’s special report on kids and screens. Click here for Time’s special deal for families.

MONEY First-Time Dad

Why You Should Spend $0 on Baby’s First Christmas

141223_FF_TEPPERBLOG

...And why my wife and I will ignore this advice.

The act of parenting often requires accepting the absurd.

For instance, my son Luke hates lying on his back. He squirms and rotates and flops around like a fish on dry land whenever he’s forced into prostration. All of which puts me in the ridiculous position of begging/bribing my child to remain still while I clean his rear-end.

Mrs. Tepper and I have found ourselves willing to sacrifice anything to make our guy happy. Sometimes that sacrifice is our integrity: To mollify instances of restlessness or crankiness when we’re out, for example, we find ourselves surprisingly okay with giving him whatever he wants (including—gasp!—our smartphones) so long as the show of good faith shuts him up.

Sometimes the sacrifice is also financial—like ordering no less than three outfits and one homeopathic amber bead anklet from Amazon in hopes of improving his sleep. For the record, nothing will make you feel sillier faster than lassoing your child’s leg with a homeopathic anklet.

The end of December presents my wife and I with another seemingly absurd proposition: Should we buy our 10-and-a-half-month old son a Christmas present?

I Say: Call Off Santa

When you reflect on the question, you soon realize that your answer reveals quite a bit about your sense of value and, perhaps, your morality. This is a deep philosophical, maybe ontological, quandary that new parents who give presents on Christmas cannot avoid.

Knowing that parenting dilemmas are often most easily solved by asking those more veteran than ourselves, I tapped blogger Elissha Park, founder of the blog The Broke Mom’s Guide to Everything, for her thoughts.

“I didn’t get anything for my son his first Christmas,” she told me. “We had tons of stuff for him from the grandparents, and we were as usual, financially strapped.”

She added that she wouldn’t recommend we get Luke anything major.

Music to my ears! We too are financially strapped, and meanwhile our son has grandparents who have already told us they plan to buy shelves and shelves worth of new clothes and toys for the little guy.

Parks made another point that rang true. Her son wouldn’t have known who the presents were from anyway, and he certainly “had no idea about Santa.”

He’d probably enjoy simply opening the boxes more anyway.

Also, it occurred to me that any funds we save from not buying presents could go toward paying our nanny’s Christmas bonus—or even, gasp, to us having a rare date night. Happy parents equal a happy kid, and it wasn’t like ours would be deprived with the grandparents were already in spoiling mode.

My Wife Says: Cue the Elves!

Going giftless sounds great to me, except the part where I’d have to convince my wife.

Mrs. Tepper derives great joy from buying Luke things—whether that’s a toggled sweater vest she knows he can’t yet say no to or a big loud plastic red firetruck.

It doesn’t matter to her that Luke won’t know who these are from. She’ll know.

And to be fair to Mrs. Tepper, there’s ample research to support the belief that spending money improves the spenders happiness, even more so than if that same person spent the money on him or herself.

Take this one experiment by Harvard researchers from 2008: They went up to random people in the morning in public places and gave them either $5 or $20 and told them they could either spend the money on themselves or on others by day’s end. The researchers took the participants’ baseline happiness levels, and then in the evening registered the change in happiness for each of the four groups.

Their findings reinforced the spirit of Christmas: Those asked to spend their windfall on others were happier at the end of the day than those who bought for themselves.

And I do so like when Mrs. Tepper is happy…

We Say: Open the Flue Partway

So, what does this mean for Luke?

I think my wife and I will strike something of a happy medium.

To satisfy Mrs. Tepper’s gift-giving instinct, we’ve decided to start saving up for him to get a Kindle Fire Kids Edition ($149).

Still, even I would be really forlorn if Luke didn’t have anything to open from us on Christmas. We’re a family now, and families give each other gifts.

But I’m thinking the boxes we’ll give him will be filled with…tissue paper. The crinkling noise when he pulls it out of the box will give Luke undeniable pleasure.

And isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

Taylor Tepper is a reporter at Money. His column on being a new dad, a millennial, and (pretty) broke appears weekly. More First-Time Dad:

TIME Aging

Taking Care: An Intimate Look at How Parkinson’s Disease Has Changed 1 Family’s Life

“Taking Care” is a series intimately covering the lives of caregivers and the people they care for. This month’s edition is on Parkinson’s Disease

When Eleanor Copeman was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, an incurable condition that gradually attacks the nervous system and impairs even simple movements, family life for the Copemans changed forever. The vibrant, joyful matriarch who loved cooking for her family became dependent on her husband Douglas and daughter Tammy for everything from preparing meals to getting dressed.

Now, almost a decade later, Eleanor also has dementia, which strikes 50-80% of people with Parkinson’s. The physical and emotional burdens of caretaking fall to the family.

Abby KraftowitzEleanor Copeman sweeps the porch outside the family home as her daughter rides her horse toward the house in Elkins, West Virginia, on July 14, 2012.

“Physically, taking care of someone with Parkinson’s is intense—you have to be on 24/7,” Tammy Copeman tells photographer Abby Kraftowitz, who has been documenting the Copemans’ lives since 2012. “I think it’s just a whole different level of love and loving your family.”

Douglas says he chose to take care of Eleanor at home to honor a promise he made to her 51 years ago when they first married.

Kraftowitz’s work offers a deep look into life inside one household touched by this chronic disease.

Abby Kraftowitz is a photographer based in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter @abbykraftowitz.

TIME viral

This Couple Tricked Everyone Into Being in Their Pregnancy Announcement

They created a brilliant keepsake

Katharine and Kris Camilli wanted to tell their friends and family that Kat was pregnant, but they didn’t want to send a boring old email or post a boring old picture of an ultrasound to Facebook and wait for the comments to roll in. They wanted real life human interaction and presumably, real hugs, not just the Facebook version of them.

The couple devised a clever, but simple scheme to capture that moment. They got their friends and family together and had them pose together for pictures, but instead of saying “Cheese!” they had them say, “Kat’s pregnant!” With a little sleight of hand, the cameras were set to video instead of photo and the reactions to the announcement were all caught on film.

Kat’s sister edited the various videos together and uploaded the completed clip to YouTube as an incredible digital keepsake for the family — and a great idea for other soon-to-be parents.

[H/T Uproxx]

TIME Opinion

Is Your Kid Still Eating Halloween Candy? Read This.

What is a parent to do when it comes to squaring off against a bag-full of treats?

It’s Day Seven post-Trick or Treating and while the Halloween costumes are old news, the siren’s call of that big stash of processed sugar goes on. And good luck trying to stand between a child and their yearly candy harvest. It becomes a daily battle that almost always ends with someone near tears. (Usually me.) Is the only course of action left to eat all the candy myself?

I could always blame Jimmy Kimmel. The late night comedian staged his now-annual Halloween prank where he has parents inform their children they ate all their Halloween candy and record the inevitable meltdown. The reactions are both funny and sad, but while some saw the prank as uproarious and others viewed it as a cruel hoax, I thought: Hey, that’s not a bad idea. If the candy just disappeared, the struggle would be over in one fell swoop. Off with the proverbial band-aid and on with the limited intake of sugar. But it’s kind of mean and the ensuing tantrum would not be fun to weather. As a parent, though, do I need to make the healthy choice for my kid, whether he likes it or not?

In general, my kid can usually take or leave sugary junk food, but he spent a lot of energy collecting his plus-sized bag of Halloween treats and seems to view it as his own personal Candy Land version of Mt. Everest. Like a wizened mountaineer, he must surmount it, simply because it’s there. At this point, if the FDA had an RDA, or Recommended Dietary Allowances, of carnauba wax, I assure you, it’s been met as he determinedly makes his way over Mt. CandyCoatedChocolate. He doesn’t care about my equally large mountain of studies showing that while delicious, copious amounts of sugar are simply not healthy.

But what is a parent to do when it comes to squaring off against a bag-full of treats? Some parents are lucky enough to live near wily dentists who will buy Halloween candy for cold hard cash and deliver them to troops via Operation Gratitude. The more organized among us plan in advance with the brilliant Switch Witch gag where a “witch” steals the candy in the middle of the night and switches it out for toys. It’s a great ploy for those of with enough free time to pull it off. (Some of us would pay $2,700 for an extra hour in the day in which to plan a Switch Witch-style swap.)

If a parent doesn’t want to be seen as a real witch, though, what are the options? It’s just us vs. the candy and currently, the corn syrup is winning. At the risk of getting that Frozen song stuck in your head again, should we just let it go? Double up on the vegetables and double down on the flossing and brushing and let the kids eat every last fun-sized morsel and just let the sugar industry win this round, despite the studies that show that sugar is the only cause of tooth decay?

Maybe?

I know it’s something that my hippy mother struggled with when I was a child. Normally we were allowed no processed sweets—seriously, I got a box of sugary cereal from Santa each year, otherwise it was all health food store versions of Cheerios—so Halloween was a bonanza for us and a nightmare for my mother. Each year she had a new approach to the onslaught of sugar. One year we were allowed two pieces a day, which stretched the candy consumption until March and quickly became a supposedly fun-sized thing she would never do again. The next year we were told to eat all we wanted on Halloween and the rest would be done away with, the result being a now-infamous evening of candy-colored vomiting. After that, each year the candy trove seemed to be eaten by the dog, despite the fact that the stash was hidden on a tall shelf in the back of a closet and the dog was an overweight corgi with no vertical lift.

As a parent now, blaming the dog for a disappearing candy hoard doesn’t seem like a bad option at all, but I think I am going to attempt to strike a balance. I’ll let him have a few pieces a day for a few more days, while carefully supervising brushing and flossing and vegetable intake and side-eying a copy of the Year of No Sugar. After a week of daily candy intake, though, it might be time to take a page from my mother’s book and blame the dog when the stash disappears.

And if you don’t have a dog, well, there’s always Jimmy Kimmel to blame.

 

TIME Education

School Accidentally Tells Parents That All 717 Students Have Gone Missing

An employee handling the school's messaging system accidentally sent an absentee note to all parents instead of a select few

A California elementary school caused a wave of panic among the parents of its 717 students after sending a text message to say that their children had gone missing.

But the group note was erroneous and accidental, and all the pupils at John Adams Elementary School in Corona were still in class, the Press Enterprise reported.

The school moved quickly to reassure frantic parents, many of whom showed up on campus.

“It was human error coupled with technology error,” said the school’s spokesperson Evita Tapia-Gonzalez, explaining that the employee handling their Blackboard Messaging system accidentally sent the note to all parents instead of a closed group.

Read more at The Press Enterprise

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com