They grow up so quickly and the baby girl you brought home is no longer a tiny little bundle. You’ve been there to help her learn and grow and have watched her experience so many new things. The time is now coming for your little girl to blossom into a young lady. There’ll be plenty of mood swings, grumbling, some stubbornness, pimples and her first period.
It can be a very scary thing for young girls, the thought of getting her period is really quite daunting (whether they admit it or not). You’ll know when it’s almost time and she’ll start to notice some things too. Hair growing in different places, skin condition changing, sleep patterns may change, her body will begin to develop differently, she’ll start getting cramps and a multitude of other things.
Knowledge is Power
The best way to approach puberty is with knowledge. Help your daughter by supplying her with all the information she will need BEFORE she gets her first period to help her reach this milestone in her life without being scared. Even young children ask questions, be honest with them and start with the BASICS when they are beginning to ask questions and spread the information out. Don’t expect to just sit down and talk about it all and think that’s the end of it. It’s a lot to take in and some of it may not be age appropriate depending on when you start your talks.
Schools will generally help to spread knowledge about puberty and reproduction but it’s still a good idea to be an active part in the education process. Explain the whole process to her, tell her and show her a diagram of the reproductive system and how it works and ask HER questions as well. Explain that for most women it’s around a 28 day cycle and that they can expect their period to last around a week or so and to be heavy some days and light on others. Explain pads and tampons and how they are used. It will be a personal choice later on as to what product they use however, have some pads handy as they are the best option when getting used to having their period.
Although it can be uncomfortable for parents to broach the subject, just remember it’s for your daughter’s sake and once the first conversation has been had it will get easier. Tell her that as she gets older there will be a point in the near future that she’ll notice things are changing and not to be worried. It’s all normal and part of growing up there’s no need to be scared when this happens. Explain the signs of growing hairy armpits (or ‘Arm-Pets’ as we jokingly called them), the hair on her legs getting thicker and darker and that it will grow ‘down there’ too. Explain that it happens at different ages from around 8 years onwards but most commonly, these days, it is around 10-13 years of age.
Do up a little care pack for her to have discreetly stashed in her school bag. Add in a few pads, a change of underwear, a plastic bag and even a small package of baby or feminine wipes would be a good idea. Put them all into a small toiletries bag so they are all together, easily accessible and inconspicuous. This way she’ll be prepared for possibility of her first period arriving whilst at school and will be able to grab what she needs quickly and easily in order to clean herself up.
Make sure you explain how to use them, and what she can reasonably expect the first time.
There are some great books and sites on the internet that are easy reading and will help your daughter understand and deal with puberty. Prepare her however you can. Remember that the onset of her period means a drastic change in hormones and therefore many changes, physically, mentally and emotionally. If you can be there to help her and answer any questions she may have about her period it will path the way for an open line of communication when it comes to relationships and sex in the future.