On average, a girl's first period begins at around age 12, but according to HealthyChildren.Org, some girls may start menstruating as young as 8 years old. It's important that young girls are prepared and know what to expect before beginning menstruation. If you wait until it happens, your child may feel scared and unsure of what is going on with her body. Eight can be a good age to have a simple, clear talk about periods, but if your younger child has questions about the topic after witnessing you or another female caregiver dealing with menstruation, initiate the conversation early by answering her questions and explaining the basics.
Things You'll Need
Choose a time when you can talk without distractions. Be positive. Begin by telling her that you are going to explain something wonderful that she will experience as she grows into a young woman.
Find out what she already knows. She may or may not have heard things from other kids. Ask her if she's heard of a period and what it is. This gives you an idea of where to start and if you need to dispel any false information.
Give a simple explanation: Women release a little blood and tissue from their vagina once a month. Most women start this at about age 12, but it can be different from person to person. This is called a period. It's a sign that a girl's body is capable of having a baby. Some girls and women have cramps, moodiness and breast tenderness, but some people have no negative symptoms at all. The period usually lasts about one week, goes away and returns in about another month.
Explain the biological process involved if she is curious and ready for that kind of information. Discuss how the ovaries release one egg each month. The uterus lines itself with blood and tissue to protect a growing baby. If the egg is fertilized, it stays in the uterus and the baby begins to form. If the egg isn't fertilized, it is shed along with the uterus lining during the next period. Show her diagrams if you like.
Show her a pad and a tampon and explain how they are used.
Ask if she has any questions, and answer her questions patiently. Let her know that she can always come to you with questions or concerns about her period.
Tips & Warnings
- Explaining sex and the responsibility that comes with having periods may be too much information for many 8-year-olds. However, these are very important subjects to cover at a later time.
- Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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