As a parent, it’s likely that it’s been a while since you went through puberty. Can you think back to what your own puberty was like? Was it awkward and bizarre? Do you wish you had someone help guide you through those period symptoms, like mood swings and period cramps? Now’s your chance to help your child during this transitory time!
At this stage in your life, knowing how to manage your menstrual cycle may come as second nature. Been there, done that, once a month every month for the last...however many years! It might feel tricky to remember navigating your first few periods, learning about your menstrual cycle and how to first prepare for this transitionary stage of life. If you're unsure how to best prepare your child for their first menstrual flow, fear not. Keep reading to find out what you can do as a parent to help prepare your child for their first period.
Let's Talk About It!
Having an open and honest conversation with your child about their first period will help normalize this unfamiliar time. After all, periods are a completely normal and natural bodily function, why try to hide it! Create a comfortable and safe space for your child to raise any questions they may have about their first period.
There are many different topics to bring up before your child’s first period, such as:
- The colour of the menstrual blood
- Blood clotting
- How to use a tampon
- Sleeping with a tampon in
- Cramps and period pains
Preparing for The First Menstrual Cycle
Many folks going through puberty don’t know how to use period products such as tampons, pads, or menstrual cups. Period management is something we all have to learn!
Remove the fear of the unknown by discussing the variety of period products available, such as tampons, sanitary pads, menstrual cups and leakproof period underwear. Many people who get their periods will start with pads as they tend to be the easiest to use, but Kt's period underwear are a great alternative that are less bulky, seamless, moisture wicking and can be worn the same way as regular underwear. They can be worn both on or off your period, or can be paired with a tampon or a menstrual cup during heavier flows. Period kits are a great way to save money while choosing this eco-friendly option.
There are no rights and wrongs in this scenario, it's all about personal preference! Here’s a post to help your child choose which period products may be right for them.
Leading up to when a first period begins, there are a whole range of unfamiliar period symptoms that come along with it. We're talking mood swings, breast tenderness, cramps, acne, cravings, lower back pain, and everything in between! You know the drill. But your child likely does not, and may feel overwhelmed by the rapid changes to their body.
Before their first period arrives, talk to your child about the various symptoms they can expect and how to manage them, such as using a heating pad for cramps, staying hydrated, or the use of birth control pills for period symptoms (speak with a doctor).
It's also important to teach your child about the dangers of toxic shock syndrome, when to visit the school nurse and when to go to the doctor if they experience severe pain.
Pack a Period Product Kit
Carrying a period product kit can help you be prepared no matter where or when your period arrives. Some must-haves for the first period kits include:
- Period protection, such as a few pads or tampons,
- A clean pair of underwear (either period underwear or regular underwear)
- A few candies for emotional support won't hurt :)
Click here to read more about which items you should be packing in an emergency first period kit.
One period done (and handled like a total champ), now time to prepare for the next period!
Once the first period has come and gone, you may want to consider teaching your child about tracking so they can be prepared for their next period...and the next...and the next.. This may remove any future stress about surprise leaks at school. You can download a period tracking app, download the Kt printable period tracker, or track your period using a calendar. It’s important to remember that the first few years of your child’s period can be seemingly random and irregular at the beginning, so surprises might still come around. Wearing period underwear can help prevent surprise leaks, especially before their cycle is regulated.
If you’re a menstruating parent, do you remember your first period? Sharing this memory with your child may remind them that they’re not alone, and periods are a completely normal and natural occurrence. Remember, it’s all about creating a safe and comfortable environment for your child to learn.
For more first period support, download our period guide!
To download in Canada, please click here.