We all know how frightening the changes that come with puberty can be, especially for our little menstruators. For both the child and their parents, the first period can be a time of many questions. Here are a few important things that you must teach your daughters about their first period.
We all know puberty is hard enough already, but for our little angels, it’s even harder to understand it at such a young age. Preparing your children for their first menstruation, as well as the next 40 years of monthly experiences, can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. To help them understand this new adolescent body transformation as easy as possible, you need to be open, honest, and positive.
Let’s look at 5 simple tips that can help them learn to appreciate and manage their period in the best way possible for their first and the subsequent menstrual cycles.
1. TEACH THEM HOW TO KEEP A TRACK OF THEIR PERIODS
Show your daughter how to chart her menstrual cycle using a diary or an app to relieve some of the stress. Periods can be unpredictable in the first year or so, but they are also significantly lighter, so even if the start of her period catches her off guard, it is usually more manageable. When a girl first begins menstruating, a cycle lasts approximately 28 days, and anything between 21 and 35 days between periods is considered normal.
2. DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOUR DAUGHTER GETS HER PERIOD
Teach your child how to use a pad, when to change it, and basic cleanliness even before her period actually starts. Young people tend to get awkward around period supplies. Demonstrate how to properly put a pad in the underwear and always have their menstrual cup/pads/tampons ready for them—nature loves her little surprises.
3. REASSURE YOUR DAUGHTER ABOUT THE PERIOD PAINS
While the bleeding will not hurt, parents should advise their children that cramping may occur. Make them understand that there is no need to bear severe pain. Inform her about the things she can do to relieve her aches and pains. Options to manage pain are always available. And if there is too much pain, there’s no need to stress themself more by working during a particularly painful period.
4. TELL THEM WHEN TO SEE A GYNECOLOGIST
Give them an appropriate answer to all these questions. What is too much bleeding? How frequent can a period occur? What are the abnormal bleeding patterns? How much pain is too much? When to see the doctor? How can the gynecologist help me? Teach them how to recognize all these for the rest of their lives. Knowing when to see a gynecologist can help to know, prevent, manage, and treat problems regarding our menstrual cycles.
5. TEACH THEM HOW TO BE INFORMED ABOUT THEIR CYCLE
Knowledge about cycle days, frequency, bleeding, pain should be inculcated in them. It’s very different for every menstruator and all of us should know our patterns. It takes just a few minutes to explain what a period is, but explaining the mechanics of a period—how to manage it, how to avoid being surprised by it, how to use tampons or pads, etc. takes time and it should be done at the right time.
Children would feel scared or uncomfortable talking about the changes happening to their bodies. Even trans children have to go through this; their gender dysphoria may make it harder for them to understand and manage menstruation. Discuss it in a non-judgmental manner that demonstrates you are not embarrassed to do so. Help them understand all the basics they will have to keep in mind for the rest of their life. Assuring them that everything is normal can help them cope with their situation more effectively.