Preserving childhood magic in a time of COVID

CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook on how a child's sense of wonder can be fostered even when a pandemic may get in the way of the Tooth Fairy.

Video Transcript

- Turns out keeping the magic of childhood alive in these COVID times is good medicine. Opinion from our Dr. Jon LaPook.

PAXTON: Will Santa to still be able to visit me in coronavirus' season?

JON LAPOOK: During a year full of questions from our children--

PAXTON: What if he can't go to anyone's house or near his reindeer?

JON LAPOOK: --grown ups around the world have understood that embracing science doesn't mean abandoning the magic of childhood.

ANTHONY FAUCI: I took a trip up there to the North Pole. I went there and I vaccinated Santa Claus myself. He can come down the chimney. He can leave the presents. He can leave, and you have nothing to worry about.

JON LAPOOK: Last spring as she implemented nationwide restrictions that successfully controlled the spread of COVID-19, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed issues that were troubling her youngest constituents.

JACINDA ARDERN: You'll be pleased to know that we do consider both the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to be essential workers.

JON LAPOOK: And just last month in Prince George in Western Canada, vice principal Shandee Whitehead faced a tooth fairy crisis when five-year-old Gavin Jensen lost his front tooth twice.

GAVIN JENSEN: So I don't know why it fell backwards or forward. We were looking for it when I was outside.

SHANDEE WHITEHEAD: And when I went into the classroom, he was actually quite upset. We looked on the ceiling. We looked on the ground. We looked left. We looked right.

JON LAPOOK: Since the pandemic began, our kids have had to put up with a lot of change, which makes it more important than ever for them to know there are some things they can always take to the bank.

So like Mary Poppins--

- Well, first things' first.

JON LAPOOK: --Whitehead reached into her magical bag of tricks and pulled out a form letter to the Tooth Fairy that a parent had given her two years earlier.

SHANDEE WHITEHEAD: I was confirming that it was actually lost.

JON LAPOOK: She wrote on official school stationery, "Despite the heroic efforts of a fearless search team, we were unable to recover it. As a trained Vice Principal and hobby dentist, I can verify that there is definitely a gap in Gavin's teeth that was not there this morning when he came in. Please accept this letter as official verification of a lost tooth and provide the standard monetary exchange rate you normally use for a real tooth."

GAVIN JENSEN: When I woke up in the morning, the Tooth Fairy actually did came, and I got the coin. It was a golden and silver one.

JON LAPOOK: Whitehead ended her letter with a PS. "I am still waiting for the money for my wisdom teeth from 2000. Please pay as soon as possible. I have bills to pay."


SHANDEE WHITEHEAD: I had my wisdom teeth pulled, and I didn't get anything.


JON LAPOOK: A sweet reminder that in keeping magic alive for our children, we're also keeping it alive for ourselves.