Talking about personal subjects like periods (menstruation) can make parents and kids feel a little uncomfortable. But kids need reliable information! Helping your kids understand their bodies will help them make good decisions about their health.
When Should I Talk to My Kids About Periods?
Talking about periods shouldn't be one big talk at a particular age. Instead, start the conversation early and slowly build on your child's understanding. Girls and boys need reliable information about periods. So make sure you talk to your sons too!
For example, if your 4-year-old sees a tampon and asks what it's for, you could say, "Women bleed a little from their vagina every month. It's called a period. It isn't because they're hurt. It's how the body gets ready for a baby. The tampon catches the blood so it doesn't go on the underwear."
Over the years, you can give your child more information as he or she is ready.
If your child doesn't ask questions about periods, you can bring it up. By the time they're 6 or 7 years old, most kids can understand the basics of periods. Look for a natural moment to talk about it, such as:
when kids asks about puberty or changing bodies
if your child asks where babies come from
if you're at the store buying pads or tampons
Ask if your child knows about periods. Then, you can share basic information, such as: As a girl develops into a woman, her body changes so she can have a baby when she grows up. Part of that is getting a place ready for the baby to grow inside the mom. The place a baby grows is called a uterus. Every month the uterus wall gets ready for a baby. If there is no baby, the uterus wall comes off and bleeds a little. The blood comes out a woman's vagina. The body makes a new wall every month, just in case there is a baby.
Answer any questions simply and directly.
What Should I Talk About?
What you talk about depends on your child's age and level of development. Here are some questions that most kids have:
When do most girls get their period?
Most girls get their first period when they're between 10 and 15 years old. The average age is 12, but every girl's body has its own schedule.
Although there's no one right age for a girl to get her period, there are some clues that it will start soon. Typically, a girl gets her period about 2 years after her breasts start to develop. Another sign is vaginal discharge fluid (sort of like mucus) that a girl might see or feel on her underwear. This discharge usually begins about 6 months to a year before a girl gets her first period.