How to make that first period chat less awkward
For some mums out there, talking periods is not a problem, however, it can feel quite awkward, so we’ve prepared some top tips from mums who’ve been there before to help make that first period chat less embarrassing for everyone involved.
1. Start the conversation early
It’s never too early to start talking about periods. Some girls can be as young as 8 or 9 when their periods start. However, the key here is to keep it age appropriate – what’s fine for a teenager may be TMI for a younger girl. Make sure you also recognise the signs that her period is about to start as this may help you know when to introduce the subject. This early conversation doesn’t have to be anything major – just be as open as you can about what you go through each month, even if it’s just leaving your sanitary products in the bathroom or explaining why you need to cuddle up with a hot water bottle once a month!
2. Know the facts
While your first-hand experience is obviously very valuable, chances are your daughter will have lots of questions you can’t answer. Buy a book such as The Period Book: Everything you don’t want to ask (but need to know) – or just start searching the web. If you don’t know the answer to a question, you can always make it something the pair of you discover together. This first period thing is an education for everyone!
3. Starting that conversation
There’s never a right time to have this chat. If you’re a busy family, it may need some planning but equally it’s easy to turn a spontaneous moment into an opportunity to talk periods. For example, you could make a joke out of the fact that you don’t bleed blue blood when a tampon ad comes on TV or perhaps ask your daughter to help you find a certain brand of sanitary product in the shop. It will be a great indicator whether your daughter is ready for the talk – if she runs away embarrassed, you know today isn’t the right time and just try again in a couple of weeks.
4. The power of the written word
Even if you’re a very open-minded person, chances are your pre-teen daughter won’t share your approach! This is when writing things down can come in handy. Let your daughter know you’re there for her and ask her to email you or write you a note with any concerns or questions. It avoids that face-to-face first chat that some girls dread but still means she not only gets the information she needs, but also allows your daughter to know that you’re there to offer her support through this confusing time.
5. Allow her to explore in her own time
Once you’ve explained periods and how it’s going to affect her, allow your daughter some time to take it all in. It’s a big change after all. It’s also a great idea to equip her with as much support and information you can find for her. Give her space and let her know you’re there if she has any questions.
A good book, especially for younger girls, is Girls Only! All About Periods And Growing-Up Stuff but there are also loads of great websites out there that explain periods in ‘teen’ language including Teens Web MD and of course our sister site Teen Parcel.
6. Share your story
First periods are unknown territory and the potential for things to go embarrassingly wrong is huge. Sharing the story of your first period will reassure your daughter that it’s not that bad and that while there are some awkward things about bleeding every month, it happens to everyone and is very normal. If you can’t remember your first period, you can always share this Teen Parcel blog post where real women share their stories of how they dealt with their first period.
7. Prepare a period kit
Once you’ve spotted the signs that a first period is on the way, why not prepare a first period kit for your daughter. Fill it with essential things such as panty-liners and sanitary towels and throw in a few essential period treats as well – yes, that includes chocolate! Alternatively, you could also sign your daughter up to Teen Parcel and let us prepare and pamper her each month!
Have you already had that first period chat? If so, what worked best for you? Share your tips in the comment section below.