Description: Do you remember how you thought you were going to die when you first saw your stained panties? Oh, don’t you wish someone had saved you from the horror? Well, here’s your turn to take charge and break the cycle!
Periods are a hush-hush topic given the myth, shame and embarrassment in every household which often means periods go undiscussed. The last thing you want as a mother is for your daughter to be afraid and unaware of the changes taking place in her body. As her curiosity grows she will have a bazillion questions and will turn to you for comfort, advice and answers. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are some tips on how to talk to your kids about periods.
So, how do children learn about
There’s no doubt that the conversations and rumours coupled with playground gossip and jokes will start at school well before your daughter needs her first sanitary pad. With children being extremely tech-savvy these days, they are bound to come across many ads, movies or TV shows with instances related to periods. This is going to rouse some curiosity in them.
So, the next time your child asks you questions like ‘what is a pad? or ‘what are periods?’, don’t let it make your heart race. Instead of finding ways to change the topic, use this opportunity to start a conversation with them.
When is it the right time to talk to your kids about menstruation?
It is important to start initiating the conversation about periods at as early an age as 7-8 years. What is great about this age is that children are naturally very curious and will ask you many questions all on their own! So all you need to do is grab a chair and start talking to them in the most open and encouraging way that you can.
Invite questions, talk about their fears and concerns. Let them know that you are there for them. This sets the tone for similar conversations in the future so your daughter or even your son will feel like it is okay to approach you when it comes to periods!
Explain menstruation the right way!
It can get very difficult to find a good way to check all the information you must share with your kids. So, start with the basics to ensure that it doesn’t overwhelm them. A quick tip: Talk to them about periods in the same way you would explain skincare – make them understand what’s going on physically, tell them what they need to do about it and show them the right way to use products.
When it is time to have the conversation about periods with your kids, it is best to have your answers ready for the following:
- What causes periods?
- How often do periods come?
- How long do periods last?
- What to expect during periods?
While covering the process of menstruation is a must, don’t forget to mention these important pointers as well:
- Share pads/tampons with others who might need it
- Dispose of pads in the bin (preferably wrapped in a newspaper)
- Have a proper menstrual hygiene management plan in place
Activities speak louder than words
Not everyone is a words smith and a simple talk may not be enough to paint an appropriate picture. So when you decide to talk to your kids, make sure you explain the concept of period bleeding in a way that is understood by them. Keep it fun, positive and age-appropriate. For example, start with a simple activity like this:
What you will need:
Red food colouring
Fill a balloon with red food colouring and water. Now, invert the balloon and make the water drip on a tissue or sponge placed underneath.
When you use hands-on methods like these to explain what really happens during a period, your daughter will be able to visualize the process while also getting introduced to menstrual products like period pads, cups or tampons.
Maybe even show them an animated video like this or find a book that is related to the topic of menstrual flow. Such interactive yet informative ways are the best way to familiarize your child with the process of menstrual bleeding.
Don’t shy away from menstrual products
Make sure you take your kids along the next time you go to buy your supplies for the month and highlight the pros and cons of each product as you pass them by. Building a period kit from scratch and letting your daughter choose the type of product she wants is a good way of teaching her that she is in control and that you support her decision!
Periods are a natural part of life and as children grow up, they must be provided with the right information that allows them to make healthy life choices. Now that you are armed with these tips, don’t panic the next time your child sees an ad about periods. Instead, go forth, educate and make sure that your daughter has nothing but a bloody good period!