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.
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.
Puberty usually starts between 9 and 13 years old. During this time, your daughter will experience most or all of these changes:
Spots / acne
Body hair growth
Sweating / body odour
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.
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!
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:
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.
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:
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.
Encourage period openness
The more you can encourage everyone in the household to be open about puberty and periods, the better.
Once you’ve mastered the art of how to explain puberty, it’s time to make sure she’s fully prepared for her period:
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.
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.
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.
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!