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What can I do to help prepare my daughter for her first period?

Girls really do grow up so fast these days. They know so much at such a young age. Most girls will know all about periods and menstruation long before they experience it themselves.

However, this doesn't mean that their parents should just leave them to it. It's essential for young girls to fully understand the body changes they will soon experience. It's therefore one of your most important jobs as a parent to prepare your daughter for this potentially frightening stage of her life.

There are two fundamental aspects of this preparation: mental and physical...

Mental preparation
You must mentally prepare you daughter for her forthcoming period. She may already know the basic facts, either through sex education at school or from talking to her friends. But you should always make sure she knows everything she needs to. Explain why this vaginal bleeding occurs and warn her of the many side effects she may experience, such as period pains and pre menstrual tension (PMT).

You should also make her aware of the typical warning sign of her first period which, in case you’ve forgotten, is a dark coloured vaginal discharge two or three months before your period arrives.

Physical preparation
It’s important to provide your daughter with the tools she needs to deal with her period when it comes. Give her sanitary towels and a spare pair of underwear to take with her to school. If her bag hasn’t got a small compartment where she can discretely keep these items, use a small make-up bag.

You should also offer her a variety of sanitary products to try out. Don’t assume she'll want to use the type that you do. Remember it's her body, not yours.

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