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Why My Daughter Believes in Fairies

My daughter is very rational and logical. But she lovingly abandons those traits to believe in things that are so not real such as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. But those are seasonal figments of fantasy or ones that appear only when a tooth falls out—our household fairies are here every day.

I guess I have myself to blame for my 7-year-old's belief in fairies. I put up a tiny "fairy door," in a corner of our front hall. We leave them gifts. They leave her notes. And if anything goes missing I tend to blame the "fairies," mixing their lore with that of Mary Norton's The Borrowers.

Since my daughter is so very rational and logical, as I mentioned before, I was curious why she believed that fairies were real. So I asked her, and here are her reasons why:

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"They're real because I've gotten notes from them and they have super duper tiny handwriting. Only a fairy could write like that." (Note: We print out notes using a really, really tiny fancy looking font, and it also looks like the fairies have fantastic penmanship.)

"They figure out my traps and eat the cookies I leave them!" (Note: My daughter likes to create "fairy traps" so she can see one in person. She lures them with cookie crumbs which we scurry away at night in order to give the impression they ate the cookies.)

"Grandpa saw fairies once!" (Note: My husband's father was in the Navy. He has a long and detailed yarn about how one time when he was at sea, he and a fellow sailor saw fairies skipping across the top of the water. It's a story he swears by and is completely convinced that there were indeed sprites haunting the sea.)

The last time she was there, the fairies were conveniently "on vacation."

"Sometimes out of the corner of my eye I'll see things move; those are fairies flying around." (Note: I often spin around to see if something is lurking nearby, so I understand that one.)

"Because my friend has two fairies. I haven't seen them yet, but I will on our next playdate. She promised that she'd show them to me." (Note: Her friend has a vivid imagination as well and has completely convinced my daughter that she has two pet fairies that live in her room. But the last time she was there, the fairies were conveniently "on vacation.")

"Fairies are real, because they just are. Why wouldn't they be?" (Note: Yes, we established the lore of fairies in our home, so of course they are real.)

In the end, we, her parents, are to blame for not just introducing fairy lore into our home, but also by encouraging it in various ways. Is that a bad thing? Discover magazine posted a story online titled, "The tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth: how belief in the Tooth Fairy can engender false memories."

In the piece it stated, "These findings suggest that children's beliefs in the reality of fantastic phenomena can give rise to genuine constructive memory errors in line with their fantasies."

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But I shouldn't worry, according to the Wall Street Journal piece, "The Power of Magical Thinking," which stated, "Increasingly, child-development experts are recognizing the importance of imagination and the role it plays in understanding reality. Imagination is necessary for learning about people and events we don't directly experience, such as history or events on the other side of the world. For young kids, it allows them to ponder the future, such as what they want to do when they grow up."

As long as she doesn't want to grow up to be a magical fairy, we're fine. And I'd rather live in a world with the idea of fairies than in a world without them.

Do you encourage your child's belief in figments of fantasy?

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