Raising a daughter is a complex and wonderful job, and it’s important you empower her with the knowledge she needs to grow up happy and healthy.
When girls aren’t prepared for their periods, something that is a natural part of their physical development can become terrifying. Instead, it should be cause for celebration. Try to thoroughly cover the topic of menstruation with your daughter when she is old enough to understand, but young enough to have time to digest the information. All girls mature differently, but the tween years (between ten and twelve) are optimal.
Teach your daughter about options for feminine hygiene products. You can show her tampons and sanitary napkins and discuss how they are worn. If you want something completely natural and free of toxins and skin irritants, you can explore sponges or menstrual cups. Remember: what works for you may not work for your daughter. Let her figure out which options are most comfortable.
Once your daughter knows what she wants, encourage her to keep those products in her purse or backpack when she goes to school. Knowing she is prepared in case of emergency will make the prospect of getting her period when she’s not at home less scary.
Girls should know they can go to the school nurse if they get their period at school. The nurse will be able to provide assistance or feminine hygiene products. They also can give you a call to let you know your daughter has gotten her first period.
Bleeding isn’t the only thing your daughter should know about. Part of preparing your daughter for this important life change is discussing symptoms associated with menstruation—many of which can be unpleasant. Cramps, lower back ache and heightened emotions are all common before and during a period.
Help your daughter understand certain physical and emotional stresses are part of her monthly cycle, and give her options for reducing symptoms. Heating pads, ibuprofen, and breathing exercises are all important.
Understanding menstruation is a vital part of a growing girl’s development. Let her know there’s nothing to be embarrassed about, and that she can always approach you with questions. Teaching your daughter about her body and the natural changes she will go through on her way to womanhood help her accept her changing body confidently and without fear.