You’d be surprised how many girls aren’t prepared for their first periods and how much misinformation about menstruation they retain. Both girls and boys have so many questions; they just may not know where to direct them. Here’s a selection of topics to consider discussing with your children:
1. Promote period positivity
Periods are normal and healthy, and if kids are told this from a young age, they will believe it. Getting your period is as important as having a healthy diet, going to the bathroom regularly, getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water. Let’s promote it as the healthy and normal bodily function that it is.
2. Promote facts, not myths
All girls get their periods. Periods are not gross, period blood is not different to normal blood, girls can exercise during their periods if they want to, hormonal side-effects are normal and, no sharks won’t attack you if you swim during your period!
3. Starting your period prepares your body for pregnancy
A lot of the misinformation about periods is because we as a society have an issue talking about sex and reproduction in a healthy manner. Boys and girls need to understand how pregnancy occurs – if nothing else than to help prevent unwanted pregnancies – but also because it’s essential to menstrual and sexual health. The menstrual cycle works on a (roughly) 28-day cycle. If an egg is not fertilised then the uterine lining comes away as period blood – not that dramatic after all.
4. Teach kids about anatomy
Many girls believe they urinate and menstruate from the same body part. This is basic 101 stuff, but many girls are not taught about how their own bodies work. If girls think this then imagine what boys think?
5. Promote menstrual products
Education is power and being informed empowers girls to take control of their periods and manage them with dignity. There are four types of products; pads, tampons, liners and menstrual cups. All come in different sizes and absorbencies / volumes. Have a chat about the different products and what they’re used for. A fun experiment for both boys and girls is to dunk tampons in a glass of water and watch them expand. It demonstrates the absorption properties and brings a bit of fun to the topic.
6. Promote menstrual hygiene
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is extremely rare but can be fatal. Girls need to be taught to:
- Wash their hands before and after they insert tampons
- Only use tampons when they have their periods
- Use the correct tampon size to meet their flow; minis in the beginning, regular and super as the flow increases
- Change tampons every four to eight hours
- Shower daily, and wear clean, breathable (cotton) underwear during your period
- Use clean towels – a high level of personal hygiene needs to be encouraged
- Girls cannot lose their virginities from using tampons. This is a dangerous myth and one that confuses girls and boys. There is only one way for both girls and boys to lose their virginities and that’s through sexual intercourse.
What topic did you find was important to discuss with your children about menstruation? Join the chat in the comments below.
Luna is an online community that supports girls through their first and subsequent periods and empowers them by normalising periods and promoting period positivity by busting myths and fighting taboos. Luna provides a monthly subscription service that offers girls choice and control – packs are categorised according to the stage and phase a girl is in.
Read more on Kidspot:
- The stages of the menstrual cycle
- Stages of puberty in boys
- Educating children about domestic violence