Make your first period talk the first step in removing period stigmas for females.
The first conversation with a child about menstruation will greatly impact how they see periods. In this guide, you will find tips on how to prepare girls for their first period and reassure them in a way that can help prevent negative period perceptions.
That first conversation you have with a child around the age of 10 about menstruation will greatly impact how they see periods. It is important to protect them from the same stigmas you might have had to face as a child by being the grownup and correctly answering questions like, “How do menstrual cycles work?” and “Do I use pads or tampons for my first period?”
Let us end period stigma in the next generation before it starts.
End period stigmas before they start.
It is time to teach children that periods are nothing to be ashamed of and nothing they should be teased about. There is no reason to hide tampons or pads when going into a bathroom, or to call a period by a silly name. Call it what it is – a period. Teaching children to do seemingly harmless things, like hiding period products or using silly names, is really just teaching them to be ashamed of their periods.
Things to reassure females about:
- The average age for a girl’s first period is between 10 and 15, for some it is younger or older. Give her a heads-up and tell her there are some things she could look out for to know when her period is coming, like underarm hair growth, white vaginal discharge, or cramping.
- Relate to her by letting her know that the amount of menstrual blood differs for each person. The flow at the beginning of the period is usually heavier and gradually lightens up until it is gone.
- Let her know that it might take some time to figure out what product is right for her period.
- To answer the question on, “What colour is menstrual blood supposed to be?”, simply explain that the colour of normal menstrual blood can be anything from bright red to dark brown.
- Explain to her that it may take a few years after puberty for a regular cycle to settle in, and that irregularity is common in the first few years.
- Reassure her by telling her that she never has to feel ashamed to ask for tampons or pads when she needs them
- Review each aspect of the menstrual cycle, but at a high level – a general knowledge about it will help prepare children.
- Do not only focus on the negatives (like cramps). Focus on the positives – they are growing up!
Teach children that periods are nothing to be ashamed of. They are not something to joke about, but we also should not avoid talking about them. After all, periods are the only reason we are all here anyway.
The advice provided in this material is general in nature and is not intended as medical advice. If you need medical advice, please consult your health care professional.