Your Child’s First Period: How You Can Help
Getting your first period is a large step in the life of a teen or tween and can be overwhelming and scary. It is important that they get support from home, as well as from their school and peers. In this post we will explore ways in which to approach the issue to ensure your teen or tween is ready for this next step, and to ease them into the normalisation of this reality.
At what age should you talk to your child about periods?
Your child will most likely get their period between the ages of 9-16, so it is important to approach the topic before their first period arrives, to ensure they are aware and prepared. In general, it is great if you are able to be open with your child(ren) from a young age, regardless of their gender, as it is important to normalise and educate about a bodily function that happens to over 50% of the population. For example, if a young child sees your period products in the bathroom and asks about it, answer it with an easy explanation. For example, “Every month women bleed from their vagina which is called a period. It lasts around 5 days and does not hurt. It is the way for the body to prepare itself for a baby. I use products like that to capture the blood and make sure I can carry on with my normal activities, although sometimes it does make me feel more tired.” This information should be age sensitive and should be adapted to the child's development level to ensure they understand the topic and words uses. By the time children are the age of 6-7 they are old enough to grasp the basic concept, so this is a good time to sit down and talk them through it. They will additionally be likely to be informed about it at school. It might be useful to speak to the teacher about the curriculum and time the conversation to match what is ongoing at school. This combination of an educational approach, with a personal touch from yourself could be extremely useful.
In preparing for this conversation, it is important to cover all aspects of the period, from the educational and more technical side, to how it makes you feel, how to manage your period products, tips and tricks, and how to tell when something is not right. Ideally, you ensure the conversation is two sided, encouraging your child to ask questions, to clarify points and to share their thoughts and feelings.
What products to buy for my child in preparation of their first period?
When choosing a period product it is vital for the child to feel confident and comfortable. They will want something that is easy to use, discreet and low maintenance. It is important to share the options your child has with them, and allow them to be part of the decision making for which products they would like to try at what point.
There are various options out there, from the classic one-time-use products such as pads and tampons, to the eco-friendly options like the menstrual cup and period underwear. It is a good idea to physically show your child all of these options, explain to them how to use them and give them some personal tips with pros and cons. Allow them some time to explore these products by themselves. They will likely then google, touch and feel the products and speak to their friends about them. All of these options give them more power to explore and make the decision that is right for them.
Why Period Underwear is a great choice for teens?
Period underwear are a great choice for teens as they are easy to use, discreet and do not require a change in their routine. Moreover, they are really useful to use when you are not sure exactly when the bleeding will begin, and can therefore be worm as a protective security in the days leading up to the expected start of the period to ensure there is no unwanted leaking.
Unlike tampons and menstrual cups, period underwear does not require anything to be inserted into the vagina and it does not come with a risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. Pads are commonly chosen for this reason for teens or tweens, but as these are throw away products they create a lot of unnecessary waste and also need to be changed multiple times in the day. This could be an annoyance to the child, but also could be embarrassing to need to carry around a few pads in their bag at school for example. Period underwear can be worn for a whole school day, and changed right at the end of the day before bed, which means your child does not have to worry about it throughout the day. They can always have a backup pair in their bag in case of any concerns or issues. We recommend buying the duo pack of dais teen period underwear and the wetbag, which can be used to swap a spare and a used period underwear on a trip or during long days out.
Another great part about period underwear for teens is that it gives them a lot of insight to what their period is really like. By bleeding freely, they can see the colour and texture of their blood more easily, they can tell the difference between the heavier first days and the lighter final days. With tampons for example, this is less obvious.
Things parents should know about period underwear.
Parents, period underwear are not just for your teens, they can also be used for yourself. Children often look up to their parents, and will therefore find it more normal if their parent also makes use of the same period products. You can check out our wide range of dais period products for adults here. You should also be aware of the way in which to wash the period underwear, to ensure that it is cleaned properly and that the product is treated properly to preserve the longevity of the period underwear. You can check out our washing instructions for dais period underwear here.
Are there differences between first periods and the rest of the periods you get for life that you should make your child aware of?
For the first few years after the first period, periods may not be fully regular, so it is important to let them know this is normal. You might want to recommend them to keep track of their period so that they develop an understanding of the cycle and even keep track of any mood changes or symptoms. This can be easily done using a standard calendar, or there are many apps available for smartphones, for example Clue, which are subtle and a great way to track your cycle digitally. The first periods might also be very light, and either shorter or longer than a classic cycle. This is also totally normal as the body prepares to slip into a routine.