Having your first period marks a significant milestone in a young girl's life. But how she feels about it all comes down to how well she was prepared. As parents, talking about puberty and periods is a vital conversation for preteens, and helps normalize what is normal.
Puberty brings many emotional changes, as well as physical ones. When armed with the right information, the transition into a young woman will be so much smoother for any child. If you're wondering where to start, here are some tips around talking to your daughter about her first period:
When your daughter gets her first period can vary widely; it can be anything from 10-15 years old, but in some cases, even younger. The average age is 12, although the general rule is to watch for other developments such as breasts. Periods usually start two years after buds have appeared.
Don't bombard them
When talking about periods or puberty, avoid overwhelming them with information. Instead, initiate smaller age-appropriate conversations over time, and remember to be as open as possible. Tell them what they need to know, let it digest, and encourage them to ask questions.
Get the facts
You don't need to be an expert when talking to your child about their first period; however, you must get the facts right. If you are unsure about a particular topic, look it up together. Cover all topics, and what to expect during periods such as tummy pain, what a period is, how long a period lasts, hormones, spotting, and even the tiredness associated with it.
All girls go through puberty and get periods; it's body science. Instead of talking about the negative, emphasize the beauty of the human body. Your main aim as a parent should be to build confidence and dispel any myths or any shame they may have heard on the playground.
Talk to your daughter about discharge, keeping clean, and the importance of changing a tampon, pad or a menstrual cup every few hours. There are so many brands to choose from, and they will need help deciding which product is suitable for their needs, provides maximum comfort, and of course, protection against leaks.
Consider making your daughter a period pack to have at home or to keep stored in her school bag. Let's face it, they come at the most unexpected times. Include panty liners, sanitary towels, tampons, feminine wipes, pain medication, a small calendar and a pen, along with some extra underwear and a ziplock bag. Oh and chocolate, lots of chocolate.