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Published on August 12, 2016

How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her Period

August 12, 2016

Mom and daughter taking selfieWhile it might be uncomfortable to talk to your daughter about menstruation, it’s important that you help prepare her for the changes she’ll soon face.

Do you remember the day you started your first period? Maybe you were home when suddenly you noticed something wasn’t the same, or perhaps you were at school and had to dig for the trusty sanitary pad your mom tucked into your bag months or years before.

Menstruation is a rite of passage all girls face. How your daughter reacts to this new phase can depend on how well she’s prepared and how you talk about the topic.

Say Something Early

The average age of a girl’s first period is 12, but it’s normal for children to begin puberty as early as age 8. Getting her period before age 8 would be considered a sign of precocious puberty—also known as early puberty—which could be caused by a hormonal issue and should be evaluated by a medical professional.

Start talking about menstruation early so she isn’t caught unaware by the changes her body undergoes. She should know what to expect and how to react on the first day of her first period.

Stay Positive

After years of having your period, odds are you are fully aware of the range of sometimes-uncomfortable symptoms that can accompany menstruation. Try not to lead with the negative when it’s time to talk to your daughter.

Emphasize the fact that having a period is normal. Every girl will go through this process. In fact, some of her friends may already have their periods—and you do, too.

Stick to the facts. You don’t necessarily need to go into scientific detail, but your daughter should know that her period happens when the uterus sheds its lining, and that her body will build up and replace that lining in the coming weeks to start the cycle all over again about every 28 days. She should also know how menstruation fits into the reproductive cycle.

And yes, it is important to tell her that she may have cramps, mood swings and other symptoms when she has her period. Just remember to reinforce that there are ways to help minimize these discomforts.

Keep Talking

With good information given well ahead of time and supplies in place for the big event, your child can come to understand that menstruation is a natural part of life and not to be feared. She may still have questions as she continues to grow, so keep honest lines of communication open. Let her know that she can come to you anytime for information, support or consolation. After all, you’ve been there, too.

KishHealth System offers Girls Only... Your Changing Body, a program for 9 - 12 year old girls and their moms. Knowing what to expect with the natural and emotional changes a young girl experiences can lessen anxiety and make the transition smoother. Learn more here!

First Period Survival Kit

When a girl gets her first period, knowing what to expect is only half the battle. Having the necessary products is also essential to making this experience as problem-free as possible.

At home, that means stocking up on sanitary pads and tampons. Go over how to use these products before she gets her first period so she isn’t in the bathroom wondering where the wings go. Explain the difference between liners and pads and when they are appropriate, as well as how frequently to change them.

Invest in calendar stickers or suggest a smartphone app that will help her track when she gets her period. That way, she can anticipate when it’s coming and plan accordingly.

Menstruation doesn’t always start at home. Pack sanitary pads and an extra pair of underwear in her purse and school bag. If she’s nervous about someone seeing, wrap the items in a bag or travel container.

Sources: cdc.gov, kidshealth.org, womenshealth.gov, plannedparenthood.org

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