First periods can be both an exciting and scary time for a young girl. I distinctly remember the day I got my first period. I was 11 years old and spending the night at friend’s house. We were playing with our dolls and pretending that they got their first period. The next morning, I woke up with mine. I was beyond excited about it. I was becoming a woman and thought it was the coolest thing ever.
My mom played a big role in making sure that my first experience was a positive one. She prepared me for its arrival by talking to me about menstruation and answering all my questions. I’m grateful that she took the time to explain to me what to expect and made me look forward to getting it! None of my friends had their period yet so they were all a little jealous of me for being the first of the group to get their period.
How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her First Period
With my own two daughters, I’m following in my mom’s footsteps by educating them about periods and ensuring that they are ready for its arrival. Olivia is turning 18 this year so she’s an old pro, but Bridget, who is 11, is awaiting its arrival any day now. I have some tips to share with you about how to talk to your daughter about her first period if you haven’t already. These tips are based on my own personal experience and what has worked for me with my girls.
1. Brush up on the topic first before you chat. You’ll want to give yourself a quick refresher about menstruation so you’ll be able to explain how it works and be able to answer questions that might pop up. I learned about it as a young girl, but didn’t remember all the specific details. Go online to a reputable website and read over how it works and you’ll feel much more prepared for this important conversation! The more comfortable you feel about the information, the smoother the conversation will go.
2. Find a relaxed and comfortable place to chat. It’s best if you can start the conversation where its just the two of you without interruption. I found it easier to talk to my daughter in her room when I was tucking her in for the night. She was relaxed and open to the information and there were no distractions from the TV or tablets.
3. Watch for cues to naturally bring up the subject. Maybe you’ll see a commercial on the TV about pads or tampons and you can ease into the conversation that way. My oldest daughter saw a package of tampons in the bathroom and asked what they were for. It was a natural segue into having the period talk.
4. Ask your daughter what she already knows about periods. Chances are, your daughter may have already heard about periods from friends at school. You’ve brushed up on the subject so you can provide her with correct information if what she heard isn’t completely true.
5. Talk about your own first period experience if it’s a positive one. I find if you open up first, it makes it easier for the other person to do the same. I shared my story and we had a chuckle about the strange coincidence about the doll getting her period and the next day I got mine.
6. Be open to her questions and find out the answers for anything you don’t know. Tell her to ask whatever questions she has, no matter how stupid or silly she thinks they might be! If one of the questions stumps you and you aren’t sure of the right answer, go look it up later on and get back to her with the answer.
7. Use tools to aid the conversation, but not replace it. Books, videos and reputable websites can add value to the discussion, but they should not be the sole driver of it. You and your daughter’s dialogue should be! I have a couple books about getting your first period that my daughters have read.
8. Prepare for its arrival by buying the supplies she’ll need. My daughter had anxiety about getting her first period while she was at school and not knowing what to do. We ran through a “what if” scenario talking about the steps she should take if it happens there. I made her a small care package of period supplies to keep in the bottom of her school bag just in case. She told me she feels better knowing it’s there if she needs it.
9. Talk to your daughter about tampons and how they work. Tampons can be intimidating for a young girl. I remember how unsure I was at first to try them. I didn’t really understand where they were supposed to go and was worried they would hurt. My mom bought me a box of Tampax tampons and went over the instructions that came in the box. She said with practice, I’d eventually get more comfortable doing it. She was right and I got to be an old pro with a bit practice.
I showed my daughter the videos from Tampax Training Camp where two young girls are sharing information about tampons and how they work. The goal here is to increase her confidence and ease her fears.
I also opened up a box of tampons so she could see what they look like. I recommend a tampon with a slim applicator like Tampax Pearl Actives Lites. They are small, easy to use and comfortable to wear.
10. Celebrate the special occasion when it arrives. Give your daughter something to look forward to when the day comes! Talk about some fun ideas you can do together to celebrate whether it’s going out for ice cream, having a movie night or dining at her favourite restaurant. Make it a happy memory for her and one she can look back on and smile at!
Talking with your daughter about her first period may be a little nerve-wracking because you are worried you are going to say the wrong thing. Don’t worry about that! Be open. Be available. Be willing to listen. I found it helped strengthen the mother-daughter bond to open up about such a personal topic. Know that there isn’t anyone else, but you that she’d rather learn about this momentous time in her life! Treasure the memories and celebrate her becoming a woman.
Do you have any tips to share? I’d love to hear about your experience.
Disclosure: I created this blog post as a paid ambassador for Always and/or Tampax. All opinions and advice are my own and I fully disclose that I have been given free product, samples, coupons, money and other forms of consideration.
Judy Cowan says
Definitely important to talk about it. I got mine when my Mom was away and it was just my Dad, now that was fun (not!).
Laurie P says
great post! I’ve got some years before the talk….phew lol
Elizabeth Matthiesen says
A wonderful post and so important. I remember my mother just throwing a pamphlet on our bed (my sister and I were twins) and telling us to read it – that was it and she was a nurse but the subject wasn’t really talked about in those days, 50 yrs ago. I know we were really naive about our bodies etc back in those days.
Karen Evans says
I had no idea of what was happening, the first time I got my period. My mother never talked to me about anything. I was scarred and thought I was dyeing. (Well I didn’t know). I decided to have the talk about periods and pregnancy for both my daughters, at about 10 years of age. I must have been too “Technical” as my daughters said : Oh Gross Me Out Mom (lol). My oldest has given her girls the big talk (and even has them on the pill) I guess it is always easier on the next generation. 😮
Amanda saltsman says
I am not looking forward to this talk but I want her to be educated and not,scared
A wonderful post and so important to read
Debbie Bashford says
Personal things were never discussed in my house growing up, my swimming coach talked with me. I talked with my kids about everything
DARLENE W says
I have two granddaughters that within the next year or two should get their 1st period. When I grew up this was not discussed at all. My daughter and I talked about this and now it is time for her to talk to her daughters
Yeah my mom never had that talk before
With me and I learned a lot from my niece
She’s a teenager and I’m in my tweenager years
My mom will tell me if I say anything about it but
If she thinks I don’t need to know something
She says that suit case is too heavy for me right
Now. Like I get really nervous about getting it
Because my mom got her period at 11 and I’m
Almost there, I made my own emergency kit and
I’m excited and looking forward to getting it and I have all the hormones except for the period. So like yeah I usually look up everything I need to
know about periods online, because my mom is
Not really open about that.. she acts funny when
I bring it up..
But from what I’ve learned I know so much about
Puberty in girls it’s crazy.
Btw all girls go look up :Camp Gyno: it’s pretty funny about periods..