Your talk day is automatically set for two weeks from now – but you can customize your date. You’ll find everything you need to prepare for the big talk with your daughter – helpful facts, conversation starters, and answers to questions your daughter may ask. Don’t worry – you’ll do great!
Plan your daughter’s ideal period experience. How can you help her prepare for her first period, no matter where it happens? What would she like to do to celebrate the occasion?
Go to the store and put together a First Period kit – with pads, liners, an extra pair of underwear, wet wipes, a note for the teacher, etc. – inside a cool, discreet carrying case, like a cosmetics bag.
Buy a book about puberty and leave it out for your daughter to find. Let her know she can read it with you or in private, and ask as many questions as she likes. Good books include the American Girl Library’s The Care & Keeping of You, and It’s So Amazing by Robie H. Haris.
Have your daughter write down her biggest worries and questions that she doesn’t feel comfortable asking out loud. You can answer her questions in writing, too.
Buy a few different kinds of pads, liners, and tampons, and play with them together. Pull them apart, dip them in water, and explore how they work.
Make time for a girl’s day – just the two of you. Paint your nails, do your hair, have a home spa day and talk about what it means to be a woman.
Take your daughter out to dinner, either alone or with female relatives. Create a safe space to talk about growing into a young woman and what that means. Share your funny stories about growing up to make her feel more comfortable with the changes to come.
Make her first period a special day by letting her know of a tradition you’ll be practicing. It can be a tradition handed down, or brand new, but make sure it’s something to look forward to, and something that matches her personality – for example, if she’s shy, keep it quiet and low-key or just give her a hug.
If you’re watching TV together and see an ad for tampons, pads, or pain relievers made for PMS symptoms, ask your daughter what she knows about the product. Use that as a starting point for conversation.
Ask your daughter what she’s heard about periods from her friends or at school. This will give you an opportunity to clear up misinformation while sharing a laugh (and reassuring her that she won’t be eaten by a shark if she swims on her period).
Talk about the other rites of passage that may accompany periods, like wearing makeup, dating, or shaving her legs. Discuss what she would like to have the freedom to do, and at what age she should be allowed to begin.
Talk about the activities your daughter does now and discuss strategies for period protection in those situations, such as when she’s playing sports, when she wants to go swimming, or when she has an important event. Reassure her that she’ll still be able to do them all on her period.
Discuss the best way for your daughter to tell you about her first period, whether it’s in person, through text or e-mail, or with the use of a code word. And plan for what she should do if her first period happens when you’re not around, such as when she’s at school.
Ask your daughter how she feels about getting her period, and what she thinks it means to be a woman. Stress the benefits of getting older, and reassure her that getting her period is only one step toward growing up.
If your daughter has or will have a health class in school, ask her what she’s learned there, and what questions she still has.
Tell your first period story as candidly as possible. If you have female relatives that are open to sharing, ask them to tell their stories also. Make sure your daughter knows she can interrupt at any time to ask questions or get clarification.
Tell your daughter the next time you’re on your period. Tell her when it starts, when it gets heavier, and when it starts to taper off. This will give her a chance to see one example of how a period works in real life.
Ask your daughter if she’s noticed any changes in her body, even something as small as feeling a bit moodier. Talk about what other changes she may begin to notice, and what they mean.
Discuss with your daughter how she feels about getting her period. Is she worried about getting it, or frustrated that it hasn’t happened yet? Talk about what it means to be an early or late bloomer, and reassure her that she’s normal.