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9 Tips On Helping Your Daughter With Her First Period

It was one of those crisp, fall New England Saturdays when I arrived at my son’s rec soccer game. As usual, the boys (second graders) were doing more running around in circles than actually playing soccer, and parents were mostly chatting with each other while siblings played on the nearby playground.

As I approached the field, I saw my son’s coach and our good friend walking towards me. “Tom,” I started, “is everything okay?” He calmly nodded and said nonchalantly,  “Lori (his wife) is out of town, and of course, today is the day Lizzy (his daughter) gets her first period. She’s waiting for me in the car. I’m going to run her home, and I’ll be right back.” 

I so appreciated his calmness and matter-of-fact response. I hope his daughter did, too. 

When your daughter experiences her first period unexpectedly, how we respond is key. Our reaction sets the tone for how she perceives this experience. If we appear panicked or flustered, she may feel even more anxious or embarrassed. We need to reassure her that everything is okay and approach the situation with a sense of calmness and composure. It’s hard to know the best ways to help your daughter with her first period. It’s a difficult experience to navigate as parents, so we’d like to offer you the best advice we have.

Here are 9 essential tips for helping your daughter with her first period.

Make sure your daughter has the necessary supplies.

Being caught off guard by her first period can be stressful for your daughter, especially if she doesn’t have the necessary supplies on hand. Try to discreetly provide her with pads, tampons, or menstrual cups, depending on her preference. If you’re not able to be there in person, assure her that you’ll make arrangements to get supplies to her as soon as possible. This proactive approach can help alleviate some of her worries and make her feel supported.

Assure your daughter she will have the privacy she needs.

As we know, privacy is important to our teens (just think of all the time they spend in their rooms!).  Ensure that she has a safe and private space to take care of herself, whether it’s at home, school, or elsewhere. Encourage her to excuse herself to the bathroom without drawing attention to the situation, allowing her to manage her period discreetly and with dignity.

Reassure your daughter that what she is experiencing is normal.

It’s very common for girls to feel embarrassed or anxious when they experience their first period, especially when it arrives unexpectedly. Reassure your daughter that getting her period is a natural part of growing up and that it’s completely normal for it to catch her off guard sometimes. It happens to so many of us as this is a part of our bodies that we really can’t control. It’s going to come when it’s ready to come.  Let her know that it’s okay and very normal to feel a range of emotions, but there’s no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed. 

Empathize with your daughter’s feelings.

Misery loves company, right? Sharing a relatable story from our own experience or from someone we know who has gone through a similar situation is very helpful. Knowing that others have faced the same challenges can be incredibly comforting and can help her feel less alone. Empathize with her feelings and let her know that you understand what she’s going through.

Encourage open and honest communication about her period.

Your daughter may or may not want to talk about it, but try to encourage her to talk to you about her needs, concerns, and questions regarding menstruation. Let her know that you’re there to support her every step of the way and that she can come to you with any issues or uncertainties she may have.

Offer your daughter practical advice and tips that help.

Give your daughter practical tips for discreetly managing her period in public settings. This might include carrying a small pouch with supplies, wearing dark-colored clothing to conceal any potential leaks, or keeping spare supplies in her backpack or purse. Empower her with the knowledge and resources she needs to navigate her period confidently, even when it catches her off guard.

Normalize talking about the menstruation experience.

Use this opportunity to normalize conversations about menstruation within your family. Not always easy to do, but discussing periods openly and honestly helps remove the stigma surrounding menstruation and empowers your daughter and her siblings to feel more comfortable talking about it. You may also want to create a safe space where she feels free to ask questions, seek guidance, and share her thoughts and feelings without judgment.

Follow up with your daughter and see how she’s doing.

After the immediate situation has passed, check in to see how she’s feeling and if there’s anything else she needs. Reassure her that you’re there to support her through this transition and that she can always come to you with any concerns or questions she may have. Let her know that you’re proud of her for handling the situation with grace and resilience.

Celebrate this exciting milestone in your daughter’s life.

Finally, remind your daughter that getting her first period is a significant milestone in her journey to womanhood. Celebrate this momentous occasion and acknowledge her strength and maturity in handling it. Encourage her to embrace her body and all of the changes that come with growing up, reassuring her that she’s capable of navigating this new chapter of her life with confidence and grace.

By following these steps and providing your daughter with the support, reassurance, and guidance she needs, you can help her navigate the experience of getting her first period with confidence and dignity. Remember that every girl’s experience is unique, so it’s important to tailor your approach to meet your daughter’s individual needs and preferences.

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