What you need to support your child through their first period

Chloe Schneider
Chloe Schneider
Chloe is a writer and content strategist with bylines in mindbodygreen, Mashable, Ageless by Rescu, and more. She's a mum to one-year-old Felix, and believes that you can have it all, you just can't have it all at once
Created on May 24, 2024 · 7 mins read

For parents of girls and children with female anatomy, the first period is one of the biggest milestones you’ll navigate in the tween or teen years. It can be confronting, confusing, and emotional — for your child and you as a parent.


As much as we all wish this were not the case, tweens and teens can often feel embarrassed, ashamed, or nervous about their first period.

And let’s face it, many grown-ups in the world feel that way too (hello medical misogyny). The best way to mitigate this is by having open conversations about the menstrual cycle – normalising periods before tweenhood even begins – and ensuring you’re stocked up with everything they’ll need to navigate this new experience confidently.

Signs your child may be approaching their first period


The average age of a first period is 12.4 years old, but anywhere between 10 and 16 is considered normal. This huge age range can be confusing for both kids and adults alike, but there are some clear signs that your kid’s first period could be on the way — and they start years before menstruation does.

First, breast development typically begins two to three years before the first period, around the age of 8. One year later, public hair tends to appear. At this stage, a period is likely one or two years away. 

Unsurprisingly to anyone who has had a period themselves, mood swings, acne, white or yellow vaginal discharge, and abdominal pains are common symptoms that appear right before a first period arrives. You may also observe a growth spurt in the months or weeks before.


Preparing with a period pack


A period pack is a great way to help your child navigate the more practical issues, like finding their preferred menstrual hygiene products or managing premenstrual symptoms. Perhaps even more importantly, it can also be a way to bridge the gap between you and your child — it shows them you’re here to support them through this major milestone and helps open up the conversation. 

Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered in the list below.

A tell-It-all book
A dose of humour can be hugely beneficial when dealing with topics like periods, and this clever book delivers it in droves. Co-written by former Dolly Doctor Dr Melissa Kang and Yumi Stynes, it is jam-packed with honest advice and first-person accounts that will answer the questions your child is too afraid to ask and help them feel empowered.
Welcome to Your Period, RRP $22.99 at Booktopia

Pairs of period undies
Teens and tweens today are blessed to have so many amazing period products at their fingertips — including period undies. Even if you plan on showing your child how to use pads, tampons, and menstrual cups, a couple of pairs of period undies are a worthy addition to your period kit. They can be worn on their own or as ‘backup protection’ for heavy days, providing a little more reassurance. 

This fun pack from Modibodi includes two black hipster briefs in moderate-heavy absorbency, along with a comic strip, handheld mirror, waterproof bag, and more.
Teen First Period Kit, RRP $65.00 from Modibodi 

An assortment of pads and liners
When periods start, they can be a little unpredictable — one moment it’s heavy, the next barely-there. Stocking up with an assortment of different pads and liners can be helpful since they’re easy to use and don’t require any washing. This kit from Moxie includes a pack of regular daytime pads, overnight pads, and liners, plus a few fun extras like a mini hot water bottle to help with cramps and chocolate to boost low premenstrual moods.
Welcome to Periods! Box, RRP $54.95 from Moxie

 

Easy fit tampons
Your child may not be ready to use tampons with their very first period, and that’s okay — there’s no need to rush anything. If they do want to try them out, Libra have a range of tampons specifically designed for growing bodies. They are shorter, thinner, and have a tapered tip that helps insertion, but still offer reliable protection on medium flow days.
Tampons Girl Regular, RRP $4.30

A mini menstrual cup
Many tweens and teens are environmentally conscious — and as parents, we want to encourage this as much as possible. If that’s your kid, add some more environmentally-friendly period products to your kit, like this mini menstrual cup from Pelvi. With a diameter of just 38mm and a length of 60mm, this mini cup is designed for teens and light flow days, making it the perfect introduction to period cups.
Pelvi Mini Menstrual Cup, RRP $37.00

Cycle tracker app
Cycles are rarely regular in the first few months, but it’s never too early to start tracking symptoms to get in tune with how your body feels before a period or during ovulation. Download Flo Health on your or your child’s phone and help them track things like cramps, mood swings, fatigue, and discharge. Over time, they’ll start to see connections between symptoms and phases of their cycle, plus symptoms like discharge will be normalised through the information provided on the app.
Flo Health Period Tracker, Free on the App Store  |  Flo Health Period Tracker, Free on Google Play 

A just-for-you block of chocolate
Chocolate cravings are a normal part of periods for many people, and it’s usually easier and healthier to lean in and enjoy than create an enemy out of food. Adding a just-for-you block of chocolate to your kid’s first period pack can show them you get it, and you care. Tony’s Chocolonely’s Fairtrade, 100% slave-free chocolate is delicious, readily available in supermarkets, and has bright, mood-boosting packaging.
Tony’s Chocolonely Milk Chocolate Honey Almond Nougat 180g, RRP $8.40

A portable period kit for school
Periods can be unpredictable early on, so it’s a good idea to ensure your child has a few supplies in their school bag or locker at all times. This kit includes a compact pouch along with an assortment of pads, tampons, and a pack of sanitary disposable bags to make those emergency moments a little less scary.
First Period Kit, RRP $24.95

A wheat bag to ease cramps
Heat therapy has been shown to ease period pain, with some studies finding favourable effects of heating pads even when compared with pain relief medication. These all-natural wheat bags are a generous size making them perfect for lower back or abdomen pain relief, and they come in an array of beautiful designs like this cheerful daisy print.
A Sack of Wheat, All-Natural Wheat Bag – Spring Daisys, RRP $30.00


Navigating the milestone as a parent


Getting prepped for your child’s first period can help make the transition more comfortable for them. That said, we recognise life as a parent is incredibly busy and these things can creep up on you — so if the time comes and all you have on hand is some wise words of advice and a dash to the grocery store for some pads, Panadol, and chocolate, that’s more than ok. 

The most important thing is opening up the conversation, providing practical advice on managing blood and symptoms, and answering questions as they come. 

And if you’re the one in your feels, that’s completely normal too. A first period is a major milestone that marks your kid entering a new phase of life — just like those first steps or first day at school, it’s exciting and sad all at once. Pick up an extra block of chocolate and give yourself some space and grace to honour the moment.

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