Period talk – right first time

If you think back to your first period chat, do you remember it as a positive experience or was it cringe-worthy and embarrassing? Here SUSAN JOHNS from Lunette shares her top tips for making these crucial conversations with your tween a success.

If your tween has started sleeping more, being grumpy or crying more, these are signs that early puberty has begun. If you haven’t talked about periods yet, then it’s best to do so before they go looking for the information themselves, or the (mis)information finds them in the playground.

The first period can start anytime between eight and 14 years old, with the average age being 12. Start talking about it early but keep the chat light, rather than heavy and serious.

You can add lots of little conversations into everyday situations to build on the ‘first period talk’. The earlier you start these chats, the more you will be able to normalise periods.

The first body changes include body odour (particularly underarms), break-outs or tiny spots on their face. Small breast buds develop, and pubic hair starts growing.

Start by discussing and teaching proper body hygiene. Encourage your teen to shower daily, focusing on their face, underarms and vulva. Teens should use deodorant and change school uniform, socks and underwear every day.

An easy way to introduce sanitary items to the conversation is to leave a box of tampons, or a pad or your menstrual cup out and let the questions come. Later you can make a ‘First Period Survival Kit’ together. This is an essential step. You’ll need one for home and one for the school bag. A pencil case or small make-up bag will do the trick and should include a spare pair of underwear, a pad (disposable or cloth) or a pair of period underwear. Talk about how to use the products and discuss what they would do if they got their first period at school or a friend’s place or while you were at work or away.

While sounding uncool to those of us born pre-2000, period parties are the latest thing. So when the first period comes, celebrate it. You’ll need all these ingredients for a good bash: snacks, desserts, drinks, decorations, fun activities, good music, a dress code. But making all these elements period-themed is a must. You can find an excellent guide to throwing period parties on the Lunette website.