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3 ways to make your child's first period a more comfortable experience 

1.) Unpack your own feelings about menstrual cycles 

A lot of kids will mimic the emotions and reactions their parents have about their first period. If you feel very awkward and struggle to talk about it, your child may as well. It's easy to feel this way about menstrual health. Many of us grew up in a culture where it was not discussed. This is where it can be helpful to unpack your own emotions about menstrual health.


Grab a journal, or talk about this with a trusted friend or family member and think back to your first period, or what you were taught about periods. How did you feel? What were the reactions of adults? Now think about your own child, how do you want them to feel? What do you want your response to be? Our society has morphed menstrual health into being a taboo topic, but it's not. Keeping your child from being embarrassed about their period can start with you being confident and calm when talking about it. 

2.)  Bring it up early


You can start talking about periods early on with your child, well before they hit puberty age. Casually bring up your own period, or have a trusted family member or friend casually bring up theirs if you don’t have a cycle. Do this in front of others as well. Talk about where you are in your cycle, like if you’re feeling social because you are ovulating, or wanting to cuddle on the couch because you’re on day one of your period.


By starting the conversation early, your child will know that it will come and that it's nothing to fear. By talking about it in front of others, you will show your child that there is nothing socially wrong or shameful about having a cycle. There is no reason to wait to talk about it until the first period, the sooner a child knows that this is a normal, healthy part of life, the better!

3.) Mention that the first period means they are entering into a transition into woman/adulthood

A common phrase to tell a new menstruator is “you’re a woman now”, however, a more true phrase would be "you're in a transition from a girl (or child) to womanhood (or adulthood).

While yes, you can get pregnant once you have your period, the body still goes through many transitions for years after menarche. Labeling it as a transition helps the girl or menstruator understand that their body is changing, but it’s not going to be an overnight thing. They might start to experience new feelings, and be motivated to do different things, but all of these usually happen over a long period of time.

Claiming a (-) 10,11,12,13 year old (+) girl or child is a woman can make them feel weird, can sexualize them, and isn’t true to what puberty actually is - a marathon not a sprint. After talking with many women and adults about their menstrual cycle, everyone has agreed that this phrase would have made them feel better. 

If you're reading this and thinking "I've already said this to my child" or, "I haven't talked about periods enough around them" - give yourself grace. As mentioned earlier, most of us come from cultures where this phrase was said often and periods were considered taboo. Start where you are now and with what you know. 

It takes a lot of work to heal our societal shame around menstruation. Start small and be proud of the small wins you have. We are all in this together! 

For more from Period Wellness, check out the upcoming youth class - The Period Talk, and resources for adults

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