You'll never be ready, but it's happening earlier and earlier. In the early 1900s, the average girl started her period between 14 and 16. Now the average age is between 11 and 12, with some girls starting at age 7, while still being considered normal.

So, it's a good idea to have a plan in place to talk to your daughter about these life changes earlier rather than later. Working alongside your pediatrician, you can have a good understanding of what the future will look like with a pubescent daughter. (Don't pass out.) A few questions you can consider asking your pediatrician are:

  1. What signs should I look for before a period starts?
  2. What medication do you recommend for period pain?
  3. How important is a regular period?
  4. Which activities should we avoid altogether?
  5. Do you recommend the HPV vaccine?
  6. What are the possible side affects of the vaccine?
  7. Are there supplements I should give my daughter during her period?
  8. When should my daughter get her first annual exam?
  9. Do you have age-appropriate literature on puberty for pre-teens?
  10. What are causes of early puberty?

Even writing about this takes me back to that uncomfortable place of my adolescent days. Some things you'll want to talk about with your tween are growing breasts, arm pit hair and other hairy places, body odor, and tactful ways to solve those problems. Also, discuss pads versus tampons.

Pads vs. Tampons

There is no age limit to introducing tampons. However, there are some considerations. Keep in mind, hygiene is extremely important with tampons, as the longer they are kept in, the greater the risk for toxic shock syndrome, which can be fatal. If your daughter is still rather young, it may be best to stick with pads, until you can be sure she'll remember to change a tampon at least three times a day.

Books About Puberty

If you're really shuddering, because this all happened so fast and you don't feel you can give all the accurate answers to her questions without running out of the room screaming, here are some book recommendations to get your tween started on gathering information:

If books aren't your thing, there's also a kit with a DVD that can help you explain menstruation to your daughter.

Humor is my go-to for uncomfortable situations, which is why I loved Judy Blume so much as a child. Teaching our daughters that change is inevitable, embraceable, and laughable takes lots of pressure off a monumental event. Letting them know that we'll always be there when things get hairy, is priceless.

See Also: