How to Help Prepare Your Daughter for Her First Period

Mother with her tween daughter sitting on a couch

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Many girls are worried that they'll get their first period at school, camp, or when their mother isn't around to help. While you have no control over when your daughter's period will begin, you can prepare her for the unexpected. Here's what you should know.

Many tween girls worry about when their period will begin. Will it be while they're at school, camp, or even a friend's sleepover? The unknown can be scary to a tween who has never had to deal with menstruation before. But you can help prepare your daughter for the unexpected, and ease her anxieties.

Tips for Preparing Your Daughter for Her First Period

For starters, it's important that you talk with your daughter about what to expect when her period begins.

Talk About the Changes of Puberty and the Signs She May Experience

Be sure your daughter is well-informed about menstruation and the normal changes of puberty. There are many wonderful resources available today that truly help girls through these changes in positive ways.

Explain some of the common changes a girl might experience before her period starts such as cramps, headaches, a lack of energy, headache, mood swings, and a feeling of wetness on her underpants, etc.

Show Her How to Use a Maxi Pad and Track Her Period

Take the time to show her how to properly use a pad, so that if you're not there, she'll know what to do.

In addition, if you help your daughter learn to track her period once she's begun to menstruate, that will help ease her stress and anxiety a little.

Discuss What to Do If It Happens at School

Explain to your child that if she thinks her period has arrived, she needs to ask for permission to go to the girl's bathroom to check. It's a good idea for all tween girls to keep a pad in their book bags or school lockers, just in case. A small pad can easily fit into a change purse or a small handbag.

If your daughter doesn't have a pad, instruct her to go to the school nurse right away. The nurse will be able to provide her with one.

Some schools have sanitary napkin machines in the restrooms, but they don't always work or may not be stocked. Friends may also be able to provide your tween with the supplies she needs, but it's best if your tween only uses them as a last resort. 

Make a Plan for When She Is Away From Home for an Extended Time

If your tween daughter is headed to camp or someplace else for an extended period of time, you'll need to think ahead. Pack a few pads and a letter to give to her counselor in case she gets her first period while she's away. The letter should explain the situation, as well as other information her counselor might need to know about.

Make sure your daughter understands that she is to give the letter to her counselor only if her first period comes. Also, explain to your daughter that if her first period comes while she's at camp, she may need to sit out on swimming until her flow has ended. While she'll still be able to participate once she is able to use a tampon, this is not a good option for a first period as it often takes practice.

Why It's Important to Discuss Menstruation With Tween Girls

The best way to ease a girl's anxiety about menstruation is by informing her so that when the change comes, she's prepared and confident. Getting her period can be stressful to a preteen, but with a little information and assistance from you, she'll face the changes with confidence.

By prepping your daughter, she'll know that there is no reason to worry about when her period will begin because when it does begin, she'll be ready.

By Jennifer O'Donnell
Jennifer O'Donnell holds a BA in English and has training in specific areas regarding tweens, covering parenting for over 8 years.