(And how to start!)
Periods can be scary when you are brand new to them – just check out some of the things that people believed before their first period! If you have children and you’re wondering when you should broach this important and delicate subject, then look no further. Natracare has you covered.
When should we have ‘the talk’?
Experts recommend that you start introducing the idea of periods to children at around age seven – as some people begin their periods as early as 8 years old.
Unfortunately, though, there’s no simple ‘right’ answer to this question. Children develop and mature at different speeds – what’s right for a nine-year-old might not be right for a twelve-year-old. You know your child best – so you know what they’re capable of taking on.
Ideally, you should talk to your child a little while before they, or their friends, start having periods, so that they’re equipped to deal with the conversations and the difficult feelings that come up around periods and puberty.
The easiest way to make sure your children are prepared for their coming of age is to make the period talk an ongoing process, rather than a formal occasion. This helps to normalise the subject and will help information flow (excuse the pun).
How do I talk about it?
Kids are naturally curious – and young people are sponges for information – so it’s unlikely that you’ll hand them too much, too soon. Perhaps a conversation about the intricate process that takes place between the fallopian tubes and the release of luteinizing hormones might be a bit much for a five year old (unless they’re a child genius). Equally, a conversation which only scratches the surface might create more questions than it answers and may frustrate older children who are eager to learn about the wonders of the human body!
If you could use a little help, Amaze.org hosts some excellent age-led content about all sorts of difficult conversations to do with puberty and teenage bodies.
A few more tips:
- Periods affect everyone in life – whether you have periods yourself, or you love somebody who has them. It’s important to talk about periods with both boys, girls, and non-binary children, too.
- It might be a good idea to keep a stash of products in the house, so that you have them to hand when you’re talking about the different options you can use.
- Using anatomically correct language can pave the way for more honest and open conversations about bodily functions as your child grows up – so rather than using your family’s own sugarcoated terms, use the words ‘vagina’ ‘vulva’, etc.
- Remember, this won’t be the only time you get to have this conversation. If you feel that you didn’t remember to cover everything, you can always come back to it.
How old were your children when you first spoke to them about periods? How old were you when you were first told about periods? Let us know in the comments below!