Want to know how to help the girls in your life prepare for their periods? It’s SCARY and life-changing. Don't worry though, we’ve got your back!
Getting periods is a big deal. Everyone else might already have them, they might be the first. Either way, it’s SCARY and life-changing.
In a lot of situations, mothers, mums and female guardians or figures are the go-to for discussing the menstrual cycle, but there’s a range of situations where other parents, fathers, dads and male guardians will need to be there too. It’s important that you be prepared!
This is a significant milestone in their life and you have the opportunity to be a positive part of it. Don’t shy away, be supportive and let her know that she can come to you when she needs something.
In Australia, the average age a period starts is around 11 to 12 years old. But, it can happen as early as six years old, which goes without saying that the earlier she gets it, the scarier it may feel (for both of you!).
Imagine going to the bathroom, looking down at your knickers or into the toilet bowl and seeing blood. This can be terrifying for a young girl starting their menstrual period who doesn’t know what’s happening with their body.
This means the first step is to talk openly about periods, so she knows what to expect and that when the day does come it’s nothing to be scared of - it’s something to celebrate.
You might be wondering how to explain menstruation to a 9 year old, or how to explain periods to a child. Not sure if you know all the answers? Check out Jean Hailes ‘All you need to know about periods’.
Periods are unpredictable at such a young age and you’re being counted on you to save your little person at what can be an awkward time, such as out in public. Until she’s got it all figured out, it never hurts to be prepared.
Have a period kit ready which you can have ready before periods start to help prepare for it. This should include all the products she will need.
You’ll know when to prepare, as there may be a few signs your daughter is about to start her period or that your child’s period might be coming soon. These include abdominal pains. mood swings, pubic hair starts growing - if these start, create or buy a kit! Also, if they’ve turned 10, create a kit!
Some people purchase period underwear for their kids to have in their school bag or in the car, so it’s less daunting. Others opt to keep a variety of different stock of pads (regular, super, overnight etc) some tampons and other environmentally friendly options such as reusable pads or a small menstrual cup.
Having these options easily available both at home, at school and in other places your child frequents gives a sense of security for when the time comes. Options also mean they can experiment with what products work best for them.
Also, be sure to have bins for products and/or laundry buckets for reusable items handy! There’s nothing worse than the panic felt when not wanting to put your items out in public. We have a handy guide to washing reusable period items too.
There is a range of companies that create period kits for first-time periods, check them out on The Red Pages.
It’s time to explain how to use these products (yes dads, this means doing some research of your own) why there are different types of pads, how tampons work, how long a period typically lasts etc.
Don’t make it awkward. Chances are your daughter is already feeling a little awkward and embarrassed talking about this with you. Stay calm and reassure her that this is normal and exciting. She’s growing up and becoming a woman and this is just another step closer.
You can even celebrate this milestone too, be the change the world needs!
Check out our list of our favourite books, fiction and non-fiction, by Australian authors on all things periods.
There’s a range of people on social media that talk about periods in all forms, for all age ranges. Check out social accounts to follow suitable for children on The Red Pages.
Explore our database of everyone working towards menstrual equality in Australia.
Within this article, we may use the terms she, her, woman, girl or daughter. We understand that not all people with uteruses who are assigned female at birth menstruate, and not everyone who menstruates identifies as a female, girl or woman. For more information on this, please see our article about the importance of gender inclusivity when discussing periods and menstruation.