Every woman has an embarrassing period story. It's happened to all of us at some point and it’s something that you will not be able to protect your daughter from either. You can, however, prepare her for what to expect when she starts menstruating so that you alleviate her concern about the unknown and set her up for awareness. You can also open up the conversation, and remind her a period isn’t something to be embarrassed about!
This conversation is another opportunity to build a bond of trust that will make it easier for her to confide in you about the things on her mind.
Girls start menstruating at age 12 on average, with arange anywhere from age 10-15 considered normal. As early as age eight, their bodies start preparing for the change. They get taller and gain weight, their breasts start to develop, and they may get hair under their arms or on their vulva.
Ideally, you should talk to your daughter before the onset of puberty. The conversation can be part of a broader discussion about where babies come from, sparked by her questions or observations (or let’s be honest, in most cases schoolyard gossip!)
Some girls will ask a ton of questions, making it easy to explain the facts of life. Others have questions but don't say anything. If your kid is the quiet type, you can introduce the topic of menstruation when someone she knows has a baby. You can go shopping for a bralette and start a conversation over lunch afterward.
Depending on her reaction and level of understanding, you can have several mini conversations, or one big one followed by clarification of key points. Don't be afraid of being technical! When you're euphemistic, it can cause confusion. When you give facts, it's more likely to lead to questions.
Using illustrations in a book designed for children can help really curious girls to understand anatomy better. Just leave the book in their room so that they can look at it on their own later if they want.
When her body is changing — not later— you want to start getting supplies that are just for her in the house. Although it is totally safe for girls to use tampons right from the start, some girls don't feel comfortable with that. So you should err on the side of caution and build a stockpile of different sized pads and tampons so that she can choose what feels right.
You can show her how to attach a pad to her underwear and there are plenty of videos online that demonstrate how to insert a tampon correctly. The more she knows, the more comfortable she will feel when the time comes.
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