In most cases, it will probably be mums having the period talk with their daughters, non-binary or transgender children. Sometimes, however, this won’t be possible for one reason or another, and the moment will be left up to dads. But how do you go about this when you’ve never had (or maybe even wanted) to think, let alone talk, about periods with anyone?
We know it might be a difficult subject for you to broach. In 2019, a survey actually found that only 41% of dads felt comfortable talking to their children about periods, and only 50% had even brought up the topic at all.
If you’re among this number but know you need to have a chat with your child about their body and what they may face in the future, there’s no need to worry; we’ve written out this guide on how to have the period talk specifically for single dads. With our help, you can be as ready as you need to be when your child comes up to their first time of the month.
Make sure you’re all set and prepared
Before you set out to have that first period talk with your child, you’ll need to make sure you’re ready. This means learning everything you can about the menstrual cycle. It’s completely understandable if you have to start from scratch (not every school keeps boys and girls in the same room for education about puberty) and we understand that you might not always know where to start. So, we’ve listed a few points that might help to get you started below:
- When your kid is likely to start developing
- The signs your child is likely to start their period
- What causes periods
- What is happening in the body during a period
- Hormonal changes over a menstrual cycle
- Answers to any questions your child may have
The average age girls, non-binary kids and transgender kids who were born female will start their periods is around 12, but it’s not unknown for kids to start as young as 8. As such, you might want to start them off with some of the basics at this age.
Doing this also means you can gradually work your way up in how much you tell them, explaining the things they’ll need to know as they get older. This gives you more time to get familiar with the more complicated aspects. If you want, you can even turn some of the questions your child has into an opportunity to learn together, making it a bonding experience!
Knowing what’s normal
By making sure you know what usually happens when women menstruate, you’ll be in a better position to know what to say if your child comes to you with a question or a worry about something that may have happened. You may think about incorporating more information than just “the basics” on periods as they get older, such as stronger moods and emotions, changes to the body, and irregularities in period cycles.
This way, if there is anything that seems to be “out of sorts” at a later date, you will be prepared to talk your child through it. If it’s something you feel may be beyond your knowledge, you can also direct them to a trusted female relative, friend, or even their doctor or healthcare provider.
Start talking about periods naturally
The idea of having that first period talk can be daunting, both for kids and for adults. Societal culture and upbringing have made even the idea of talking about periods embarrassing, or even shameful, so many people shy away from it and don’t know how to begin.
Really, the best thing you can do is not make it into a big deal. Don’t turn the conversation into a formal sit-down thing because a teen or pre-teen is more likely to think of that as “weird” than as a caring gesture coming from a loving dad. Try having the period talk as part of an everyday conversation instead, perhaps brought up after an ad for feminine hygiene products has come up on TV.
Ask them what they know
You might have already been beaten to the punch (at least a little) by your child’s school when it comes to having the period talk. Puberty, periods, and sex education are often covered in the final year of primary school and the start of secondary school, so there’s a chance their teacher, school nurse, or another medical professional has already explained at least some of what they need to know.
Always make sure you’re asking them what they know about periods when you’re already having a discussion about periods ‒ don’t just bring the question up out of nowhere!
Be sure to have a first period talk with boys, too
You might get so caught up with the idea of talking to your daughter, or to your non-binary or transgender child, that you forget that boys should learn about periods too. They will need to be able to understand periods and the reasons they happen, and learning about the practicalities, the changes in mood that come with the different phases of the menstrual cycle, and a little of what their sibling is going through will help to keep them informed.
Brush up on period products
We know it can be confusing because there are so many different kinds of sanitary products out there, but it’s important to help your child find the right kind for them and to introduce them when talking about periods. Whether it’s period-proof pants, menstrual cups, pads or tampons, you’ll both need to make sure the product bought is the right size, design, and absorbency. This should keep them comfortable and ensure they’re less likely to leak or feel wet during the day.
The best way to start may be to buy a few different products and see which your child finds best. They’re the ones who will be wearing them on a regular basis, after all!
Making a ready-to-use “period kit”
One thing which may be worrying you or your child is the fact that periods can (and do, awkwardly enough) start at any time. To help manage this, it might be a good idea to help them stock up on a few different products for different places that they can carry around as a kind of “period kit”. Together, choose a little bag ‒ maybe a wash bag or something like that ‒ and stock it with spare sanitary products, underwear, pairs of tights (if they wear them), and painkillers. Your child can then keep this with them wherever they go.
Meanwhile, at home, it might be a good idea to keep a pedal bin in the bathroom. That way, all your kids who have periods can dispose of used products without feeling embarrassed. If you want, you can even set up a “menstruation station” in the bathroom by adding in a few extra products somewhere safe. That way, no one has to go looking for products outside the bathroom when they need them right away!
Helping them feel comfortable
We know that you want what’s best for your child, no matter what challenges they’re facing in their day-to-day life, and we know this includes making sure they’re ready and prepared for their period before it comes. We’re more than ready to help you do this with our own range of period-proof underwear for teens and tweens, too!
These super-soft, totally absorbent undies are safe to wear all day without needing to be changed, so they’re fantastic if your kid needs something to keep them feeling dry and comfortable at school. We’ve got leak-proof collections for every kind of flow, and (best of all) every single pair we make is reusable. All you have to do is put them in the wash, hang them to dry, and put them away in a drawer for the next time they’re needed.
You’ll get to send your kid off to school feeling confident, secure, and as ready as they need to be when you buy a set of period-proof undies from us. If they’re not exactly right, you can make use of our 60-day return policy and money-back guarantee. There’s no need to hesitate, either ‒ explore the options we have with your child and find the pairs which work for them today!