How To Explain Periods And Puberty To Your Daughter

Dr Nihara KrauseDr Nihara Krause

All content within this page has been reviewed and endorsed by

Dr Nihara Krause, Consultant Clinical Psychologist

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Two women sitting on a couch and smilingTwo women sitting on a couch and smiling

Having "The Talk"Smiling emoji

Puberty, with its physical and emotional changes, can be a rollercoaster ride for girls, so it’s important to have honest and open conversations. How you explain puberty to your daughter will set the tone for the next few years (no pressure!).

If you think it’s time to explain puberty to your daughter and have the ‘period talk’, follow these tips.

Daughter and mother talking while sitting on a couchDaughter and mother talking while sitting on a couch

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Start talking early

As soon as you notice the first signs of puberty, start having regular talks to help your daughter understand the changes she’s experiencing & how to cope.

If you’ve noticed signs of vaginal discharge in her underwear, reassure her that it’s completely normal. Talk to her about using pantyliners, which can help her feel fresh all day long. This is also the perfect time to explain periods to a child.

9 signs she’s hitting puberty

Puberty usually starts between 9 and 13 years old. During this time, your daughter will experience most or all of these changes:

Post It
  • Developing breasts
  • Weight gain
  • Spots / acne
  • Body hair growth
  • Greasier hair
  • Sweating / body odour
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Mood swings
  • Broadening of the hips and thighs

Reassure her that she shouldn’t be self-conscious as all of her friends are going through these changes – or will be soon!

If she hasn’t shown any of the signs of starting puberty by the age of 13, it’s a good idea to speak to your GP for advice.

Daughter and mother holding hands and looking each other in the eyesDaughter and mother holding hands and looking each other in the eyes

2

Be matter of fact

Nothing is guaranteed to make her toes curl more than you tiptoe-ing round the subject.

When starting to explain puberty, avoid euphemisms. Using phrases like ‘foof’ or ‘front bottom’, or replacing words like ‘period’ with ‘time of the month’, can send out subtle messages that periods are something to be embarrassed about.

Be clear that puberty is something that everyone goes through – mums, dads and brothers included!

Daughter and mother looking at a laptop screenDaughter and mother looking at a laptop screen

3

Use tools to help

If you’re worried about discussing puberty or need help on how to explain periods to a child, there are plenty of tools you can use:

Daughter and mother sitting on a couch and looking at each other while drinking teaDaughter and mother sitting on a couch and looking at each other while drinking tea

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Share your experiences

Research has shown that when a mother relays her own experiences to help explain puberty, it gives her daughter a framework with which to understand the world.

It doesn’t matter if your story is about something difficult, such as feeling embarrassed because of your period in the school changing rooms. As long as there’s a positive resolution, your experiences can provide valuable lessons, and help her feel like she can talk to you.

Girl smiling while reading a noteGirl smiling while reading a note

5

Write her a note

Your daughter – or indeed you – may feel awkward discussing her first period. Rather than having to explain periods to a child straight off the bat, open up the conversation by writing a note and leaving it somewhere she can find it. You could try something like:

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I don't want you to be confused or worried about your period. I'll always be here for you, any time you want to talk about periods, or ask about pads or tampons or anything, just let me know. Love Mum X

The important thing is that it’s written in a tone that sounds like you.

Father, daughter and son smiling while looking at a phoneFather, daughter and son smiling while looking at a phone

6

Encourage period openness

The more you can encourage everyone in the household to be open about puberty and periods, the better.

  • Send Dad to pick up pads or tampons from the shop, or ask your son to put your period products in the bathroom when unpacking the shopping.
  • Mention to other members of the family that you have your period so that your daughter understands that periods are not a taboo subject.
Mum and daughter talking on the bedMum and daughter talking on the bed

Getting her period ready

Once you’ve mastered the art of how to explain puberty, it’s time to make sure she’s fully prepared for her period:

Do a show-and-tell

Talk to her about the range of period products on offer – different sizes and shapes of pads, tampons with and without applicators, menstrual cups and period underwear – and show her what you use.

Discuss her needs

Talk about which products she would like to try. Most girls like to start with pads. Suggest she tries Always Ultra, which provide up to 100% protection, and help her use the Always My Fit chart (below) to find the perfect pad to suit her.

Pack a first-period kit

Buy her a pouch to put her products in so that she can carry it in her schoolbag and be ready for her first period. Pack a range of products of different sizes and absorbencies, and include items like spare underwear and hand sanitiser.

Find Your Fit

The Always My Fit sizing chart can be found on the top of all Always’ pad packages and the numbered size is found on the front. The better it fits, the better it protects!

Take our Puberty & Period Myths Busted Quiz

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Puberty & Period myths busted

Read the Always Changing & Growing Up Parents

Parent's Guide

Download our Always Changing & Growing Up Parents Guide for more advice on puberty and periods

Watch Your Menstrual Cycle & PeriodsWatch Your Menstrual Cycle & Periods

The menstrual cycle explained in 3 minutes - Watch the video

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