Supporting Development


Most children start their periods when they're around 12 years old, but they can start as early as 8. It's important to talk to your child from an early age to make sure they're prepared.

Talking about personal subjects like periods can make you and your child feel a little uncomfortable. Remember, periods are completely normal and natural – they're part of growing up. If periods are not talked about within your family, it can create anxiety for your child about what’s ahead. This can result in your child stressing over what is a totally natural thing.

Helping your children understand their bodies during this time will make their experience of having their first periods a positive one.

Dive Deeper

Talking About Periods

The earlier you begin talking to your child about the changes to expect during puberty, the better. Try to do this during smaller conversations over a period of time. If your child asks questions about periods and puberty try and answer them as honestly as you can.

If your child isn't asking questions, try to start the conversation yourself. You can use some of these tips below to talk to your child;

  • Ask them whether they have heard about puberty and find out what they know so far. 
  • Sharing your own experiences about when you started your period, whether they’re long or short, heavy or light, will help her feel more comfortable.
  • Ask them if she has any questions. 
  • Try watching the video above with your child or reading a book together. There are lots available to order in at your local library.

Preparing Your Child For Their First Period

No one can predict exactly when your child will start their first period. This may happen when they are at school or out with their friends. It is a good idea to make sure they are well prepared just in case you are not there when their period starts. 

  • Talk about how to use sanitary pads or tampons. Open them up and show what to do.
  • Talk about how and when to change the pad or tampons, as well as how to throw them away.
  • Make sure you have some in a cupboard and your child knows where to find them. Give them some to keep in a bag whilst at school or out with friends.
  • If they are at school, let them know that if they think their period has arrived, they can ask to go to the bathroom to check.

Read more about periods

Your child may be confused about the different products available in shops. Talk to them about the differences of each product and how they work.

Tampons, menstrual cups and towels (or pads) are safe and suitable for children who have just started their periods. It might be worth your child experimenting until they find the product that suits them best.

The video below explains the differences between the different types of sanitary products.


Who can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below. 

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