When Do You Talk to Your Kids About Periods?

When Do You Talk to Your Kids About Periods?

It’s always one of the things parents dread when having kids. Talking about the birds and the bees, talking about puberty and planning to talk to your kids about periods. Thing is we have to do it! If you have a girl, they are going to get periods and if you have boys, they need to know how girls work, just like they need to know how they do. 

I seem to have been speaking to quite a few mum friends recently and we’ve talked about when is the right time to tell your kids about periods and what happens. Do you let school do it? Or do you do it yourself?

If I go back to when I was a child, I was about 8 years old. My mum sat me down on the sofa and handed me a little bag, with a sanitary towel and a spare pair of pants in. She explained carefully what was going to happen when I got my period. The memories are blurry but I remember feeling scared!! I was going to bleed? Why? I’m not sure she went into the details about why you have periods but she since told me she had heard of girls starting as young as 10 and wanted me to be prepared. I knew about sex at 8 from a friend from school but didn’t link the two for a while longer. Possibly when I was in year 5 or 6 when I read Forever Judy Blume (anyone else read that one…I learnt a lot then!!) and some books about growing up. I’d have been 10 or 11.

As it happens I had a long wait until I started my periods. I was 15!! Almost about to go to the doctors if I didn’t. I think I was the last in my year to start and I did always worry I would have fertility issues, as was so late to start! Thankfully I didn’t and probably the opposite.

Talk to Your Kids About Periods

I’m not an expert on this at all and I’m not sure there really is a good or bad time to talk to your kids. Of course they will learn at school but I would much prefer it was me doing it and could answer any questions.  It just needs to be before girls start their periods in my mind, as it would be awful to happen and them not have a clue what is happening to them. Very frightening I can imagine.

It so happened that my eldest daughter learnt about periods around when she started school, at reception age. I would guess she was around 4 or 5 years old. It was definitely before I got pregnant with her baby brother. As a Mum (like most of you and Dads too) I get very little privacy. Before the little man was born I would bath with my girls and there were weeks I couldn’t. This often roused questions about why I couldn’t. I was barged in on changing tampons. There would be the odd flash of blood in the toilet after I had finished and of course this led to my very curious 5 year old asking a LOT of questions.

It made sense to just tell her the truth. So I did.

I simply explained that every month ladies bleed from their “baby hole” (this maybe another line of discussion!) but of course since then I’ve had a baby!! I explained I can grumpy, a bit sore and I needed something to soak up the blood. She looked at tampons and she looked at pads. Since then she has looked at period pants too.

talk to your kids about periods

In the early days this was sufficient. At 5 years old they don’t need loads of explanations; a simple answer was fine. She didn’t really question it much but it was useful when I was caught short in the toilet and could ask her to fetch me a tampon!

As she got older and is almost 7 now, more questions were asked and she could take on more information. Plus I’d had another baby and she knew about how he was born and a little about how he was made. I explained the blood was waiting for a baby to be made each month in the womb. If no baby is made, the blood was lost and then the cycle repeated every month. I could tell her if I felt like rubbish due to hormones. I could apologise if I needed to be left alone.

Periods naturally led into discussions about puberty. About breasts growing, hair appearing, grumpiness and general other puberty joys! She was pretty nonchalant about it. I was too. Occasionally I will get asked a question; has your period finished now? Those sorts of things. It hasn’t been a big deal.

Thankfully we are not at the full sex discussions yet!

I think it is so important to talk to your kids about periods before they happen. I was still quite nervous and I was prepared. It is a surprise and it is a big change; something new to deal with each month. I know she may want to use more of the eco-friendly, innovative products available for periods now. I’m dipping my toe in with period pants and will want to discuss with her all the options.

I’m glad my eldest knows. My middle daughter at almost 4 has small inclinations too, as has been around me when I’ve been sorting myself out. In time I hope she will be ready to know more too.

What about you? When did you learn about periods? Or when did your kids learn?

 

when do you talk to your kids about periods?

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9 Comments

  1. August 24, 2020 / 2:20 pm

    I have always been quite open when it comes to periods with my girls. They would always walk in while I was in the bathroom and questions were asked. I don’t think I’ve had a sit down talk with them but we have covered everything over the years and they have started their periods without any dramas. Phew x

  2. August 24, 2020 / 3:08 pm

    Such an important and I feel parents can do a job 1000x better than they ever do at school with this sort of stuff

  3. August 24, 2020 / 9:58 pm

    Thankfully we’re quite far away from this with Erin. I don’t have periods so it’s not something she has ever asked about.

  4. August 25, 2020 / 5:53 am

    i also have been very open , and talked with my girl about them early ,i think it helped her in away to prepare and understand what changes there be ahed of her

  5. August 25, 2020 / 5:14 pm

    I have two boys, but at age 5 & 9 they both know what periods are, why they happen, and what tampons are for. Recently, my youngest had a friend over for a playdate and I overheard him telling his friend all about it.

  6. Melanie williams
    August 25, 2020 / 8:33 pm

    This is such an important subject and yes it should be talked about. good on you for raising awareness x

  7. August 25, 2020 / 9:57 pm

    My friend has just had the chat with her daughter. Her friend started her periods so she had lots of questions.

  8. Vikki Bowker
    August 27, 2020 / 10:58 am

    I have two boys (age 10 & 8) and they both know the body part names, what periods are / why they happen and where babies come from. They seen my reusable pads drying on the line – in awesome fabrics – and asked what they were, they see the box of tampons on the back of the toilet…it’s only natural for them to question what they are and what they are for – so I answered their questions honestly, in age appropriate language. My periods can make me quite poorly so they’re used to having to stay in for a few days each month when my cycle first starts. I don’t want them to be embarrassed if they date a woman and their partner needs them to buy sanitary products. I don’t want them to grow up thinking periods are gross or weird. Boys need as much education about periods as girls.

  9. August 28, 2020 / 12:00 am

    Mine is 9 and we just had this conversation about a month ago. It wasn’t really planned but I made an offhand comment and she ran with it. Her biggest takeaway was that she did not like the idea of mood swings one bit