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A Guide to Talking to your Child about Periods

A Guide to Talking to your Child about Periods

Puberty is an important phase in a young person’s life, marked by various physical and emotional changes. A significant milestone during this time is the onset of menstruation or periods.

It may feel uncomfortable or challenging talking to your kids about menstruation due to social taboos, cultural beliefs or the way you were brought up but the good news is, like most things in life, that honesty and openness make things way more accessible for everybody. It's important to talk to your child about periods some time before they start experiencing them. Age seven might be a good bet, but you are the best person to know when the time is right for your child.

If your child doesn't seem interested in talking about periods, try to bring it up in natural moments. It's ideal to have multiple conversations about periods with your kids rather than just one big talk. This way, they can gradually build their understanding and learn more about their bodies.

Talking to your child early on means they will be more likely to feel comfortable asking questions or asking for help when they feel uncomfortable about other things in their lives and with their bodies.


Understanding Menstruation

Menstruation is a natural bodily function in which the lining of the uterus sheds monthly, resulting in bleeding through the vagina. This process usually starts between the ages of 9 and 16, although the average age of menarche (the first occurrence of menstruation) is around 12. It is important to note that every child’s experience with menstruation is unique, both in terms of timing and symptoms.


How Do I Talk To My Kids About Periods?

You're not alone if you're having trouble talking to your kids about periods. It can be tough to start the conversation, especially if you didn't have a great experience with menstruation yourself.

Here are a few tips for effective communication with your child:

  1. Be Open and Honest: It's okay to admit that you're not always perfectly comfortable talking about periods but try to be as open and honest as possible with your kids. This will help them feel more comfortable talking to you about their own experiences.
  2. Create a Safe and Comfortable Environment: Choose a quiet and private space where both you and your child feel at ease. This will help foster open communication and make your child feel comfortable discussing personal matters.
  3. Start Early: Begin conversations about menstruation before the onset of puberty. This allows children to become familiar with the concept, making the transition smoother when they experience their first period.
  4. Keep it Age-Appropriate: How you talk about periods with a 6-year-old will be different from how you talk about it with a 16-year-old. Use language and discuss appropriate topics for your child's age. You don’t need to shy away from anatomy. Teaching them the right words helps kids develop healthy relationships with their bodies.
  5. Address Common Concerns: Discuss common concerns and clarify any misconceptions they may have. See the section below titled "What should you talk about?". Be prepared to address questions about menstrual products, like pads, tampons, or menstrual cups and explain their usage and availability.
  6. Avoid Judgement and Shame: Periods are a natural and necessary part of life, so there's no need to judge or shame someone for having one. While you might influence a healthy no-shame environment at home, the reality is that schools and other friends can affect the way your child feels about it. Make sure you offer open channels to discuss what happens outside the house.
  7. Be a Good Listener: It can be tempting to give your child all the answers, but it's more important to be a good listener. If they have questions, answer them as best you can. If they just want to vent about their period, let them do so without judgment.
  8. Offer Support and Resources: Share scientifically accurate information about menstruation, including the menstrual cycle, hormonal changes, and the purpose of menstruation. Your child may be interested in reading some information themselves and our blog Everything You Need To Know About Getting Your Period is a great place to start. Some government department also have resources on puberty which can assist in ensuring you cover topics your child should know about. One of our favourites is by the WA Department of Health Puberty Booklet (PDF). It covers information on Puberty for Boys and Girls.
  9. Normalise Menstrual Symptoms: Talk about the common symptoms associated with menstruation, such as cramps, mood swings, and bloating. Emphasize that these symptoms are normal and vary from person to person.
  10. Encourage Self-Care: Teach teenagers the importance of self-care during menstruation, including maintaining good hygiene, eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated and getting enough rest. Discuss strategies for managing discomfort, such as using heat packs or taking pain relievers if needed.
  11. Involve Other Support Systems: Encourage teenagers to reach out to trusted adults, such as parents, teachers, or healthcare providers for additional support and information. Emphasise the availability of school nurses or counsellors who can provide guidance if necessary.


What Should You Talk About

There are a few key areas we should talk to our kids about when discussing periods:

  • First, it is essential to discuss what periods are and how they work. This will help them understand what is happening to their bodies each month. There are many fun, age-appropriate videos on YouTube to understand the biology behind it.
  • Second, you should talk about managing periods – both the physical aspects (like cramps and bleeding) and the emotional aspects (like mood swings). Telling them about your own experience or the experiences of other key adults in their life can help.
  • Finally, showing them period products can help demystify them and make them comfortable with pads, tampons, period underwear or a menstrual cup or menstrual disc. You’ll also want to talk to them about the importance of changing their products and how you dispose of your period products or clean and reuse cups or cloth pads.

Talking about these things with your child can help her feel more comfortable and confident about dealing with her period when it comes!


Benefits of Talking Openly about Periods

  • Knowledge and Empowerment: Educating our children about periods equips them with accurate information, empowering them to understand the changes happening in their bodies. Knowledge helps demystify menstruation and fosters a positive attitude towards reproductive health.
  • Normalising Experiences: Open conversations about periods assure young people that menstruation is a natural process experienced by billions of women worldwide. By normalizing these experiences, we can alleviate feelings of embarrassment or shame associated with periods.
  • Reducing Anxiety and Fear: Lack of knowledge often leads to anxiety and fear about the unknown. By addressing concerns and answering questions, we can help alleviate anxiety related to periods, allowing our children to approach this phase of life with confidence.
  • Building Self-Confidence: Discussing periods openly boosts self-confidence as children feel more prepared and knowledgeable about their bodies. This, in turn, can positively impact their overall self-esteem and body image.
  • Breaking the Stigma: Historically, menstruation has been surrounded by societal stigma and secrecy. It has been considered a topic that should be hidden and discussed only among women. This silence and lack of open conversation often lead to misinformation, fear, and shame among young people. By breaking the stigma and encouraging open dialogue, we can empower young people to embrace their bodies and navigate menstruation with confidence.


Talking to young people about periods is essential for their overall well-being and self-confidence. By breaking the stigma surrounding menstruation, we can provide our children with accurate information, normalise their experiences and equip them to embrace their bodies and navigate this natural biological process with confidence and without shame or fear.


  1. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). The Basics of Puberty. Retrieved from
  2. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne. (2020). Talking to Your Child About Menstruation. Retrieved from
  3. Harvard Health Publishing. (2020). Talking to Children About Menstruation. Retrieved from