Preparing your child for their first period is a rite of passage for many parents. Since times have changed so much since you went through puberty, you may not be exactly sure how to approach the conversation. Try these eight tips when you’re thinking about how to talk to your daughter about periods.
If you begin talking about periods with your daughter in the early years of childhood, they will feel better informed when puberty does roll around. For most girls, the first period happens around 12 or 13, but some girls* begin menstruating as young as 8 or 9. It’s important to equip your child with this information by having this conversation sooner rather than later, and more importantly from you than from what they hear or see online!
Cultural language around periods is often negative, with common nicknames like “the monthly curse.” When you talk to your child, emphasize the beauty of the human body and the excitement and pride you feel as they grow into an adult. It’s body science and everyone goes through puberty! Remember it’s not always the words you say, but how you say it will make all the difference in how they experience it as well.
Get the Facts
Chances are, it’s been some time since you reviewed the finer points of female anatomy. Fortunately, countless educational resources from YouTube videos to graphic novels explaining puberty are available at your fingertips. Get a refresher course while your child learns about the physical and psychological changes involved in becoming an adult.
Be open with your child and answer their questions so they know what to expect. They might ask what their period will feel like, how long it will last and whether or not it will hurt. Another common question is: What are the symptoms for a first period? What are the best ways to relieve period cramps? By sharing your own experiences, it makes this bodily change feel less foreign and shows how strong you are as their parent(s)!
Pack an Emergency Kit
Having period products handy when your child is out and about could ease some of their anxiety about getting their first period. Look for absorbent, comfy organic pads online, then pack them in a cute pouch with a change of panties and hey, maybe even a special treat.
Use Hands-on Learning
Don’t be afraid to show your child the different types of period products and how they work. From reusable menstrual cups to cloth pads, today’s youth have more choices than ever. Shop organic tampons and other samples so they can become familiar with the necessary supplies and choose what’s most comfortable for them.
Rally Your Tribe
Teens have busy schedules, so don’t be surprised if your child gets their period at school, sports practice or a friend’s house. If you aren’t available at this key moment, make sure they have a trusted person or two that they feel comfortable enough to ask for help. Coaches, friend’s parents, close relatives and teachers are all possible candidates, especially for those who feel like they need some experienced backup!
It’s so important for everyone, no matter our shape, gender, colour, to embrace all that we are. It is especially a pivotal and special time to be a woman and continue this fight for equality! For people with uterus who experience periods, it is a part of adulthood and should not be something that is feared by younger generations. With education, access to information, support, and safe period products, they are able to conquer each day even while having a period.
Getting ready for your child’s first period is about more than how to handle the cramps that come with it. The most important part of preparing your growing child for the big physical and emotional changes to come is to remind them that you will always be there to help guide the way and support their journey! Being a woman is something to be celebrated, something to be proud of and getting your first period can be a special part of it.
*girl/daughter/woman is not intended to exclusively refer to a specific gender but to people who get periods
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