Menstruation begins for most girls around the age of 12, but it can happen as early as age 8. Your daughter might be frightened about first starting her menstruation cycle, so it is important that you begin to talk to your daughter early and prepare her for the changes her body will go through. She will be dealing with her period for years and needs to become comfortable with tampon use.
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Explain the menstrual cycle and other puberty changes. Tell your daughter that her cycle will come every month, although, according to KidsHealth.org, her cycle might be irregular for the first year or two. Speak to your daughter about her cycle in a series of short discussions, rather than overwhelming her with all of the information in one, long conversation. Reassure your daughter that she can come to you with any questions she has in the future.
Take your daughter on a special trip to the drugstore to choose her tampons. Explain to her that tampons work by absorbing blood inside of the vagina, and explain the different absorption options available. Some brands offer starter kits for teens; ask her if she would like a starter kit or to let you know if she sees a tampon she is more comfortable with trying. Reassure her that if the first tampon she tries does not work, she can always try a different absorption or brand until she finds the perfect tampon for her.
Read over the instruction booklet that comes with the tampons with your daughter. Take the time to show her with your fingers how to properly insert a tampon. You can do this by holding the tampon in the air and show her in a more conceptual, rather than physical, manner.
Allow her to practice inserting a tampon. It is OK if she would like try inserting a tampon before her actual cycle comes. Tell her that it will be more difficult to insert a tampon, but she can get an understanding of the process by trying. Remind her to wash her hands before and after inserting a tampon. Reassure her that she cannot insert a tampon too far into her vagina, and that she always will be able to remove the tampon by pulling the string attached to the tampon.
Reinforce to your daughter the importance of changing her tampon every four to six hours, unless it is saturated with blood before then. Tell her that in the beginning, she will have to figure out how long it takes for her body to saturate a tampon. She will need to check to change her tampon before it begins to leak. Explain to her the risks of toxic shock syndrome, TSS, from leaving a tampon inserted too long. EsKidsHealth states that most women never get ill from using a tampon, especially when they change them regularly.