How to talk to your daughter about her first period
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How to talk to your daughter about her first period

Setting time aside to talk to your daughter openly about her first period can make a massive difference, as the alternative is getting information from her friends or online, which could be false. You can help your daughter feel more prepared for her first period, by talking to her about the science, writes Vicki Buffery.

How to talk to your daughter about her first period

It may seem like it was five minutes ago you were helping her take her first steps, and now, like all parents, you may be wondering when is the right time to speak to your daughter about puberty and periods. You’ll know your daughter is about to start her period when: breasts have started to develop, discharge in underwear, the body has started to change shape and size, pubic and under arm hair has started to grow, body odour may be more noticeable, hair often becomes greasy, mood swings begin to be noticed, spots may start to appear on the face, chest and back, stomach, lower back and groin cramps can be experienced. Your daughter’s first period is a momentous event in her life, but it can also be a confusing time for young girls. When her period arrives, it’s important she feels prepared and is aware of what’s happening to her. Here are some tips to help your daughter feel more prepared!

Don’t be afraid to talk about the science.

Don’t be afraid to talk about the science. Although it sounds like an obvious thing to say, it’s worth talking to her about the basics of why we have periods, how the menstrual cycle works and the blood loss she’ll experience so she feels more comfortable and prepared.

Provide starter packs. It’s a good idea to give her some pads to keep in her school bag just in case.

How to talk to your daughter about her first period

Help build confidence

Help build confidence in protection. Once you’ve bought a pack, show her a pad, how she should position it and how to dispose of it afterwards. This should give her the confidence to do it herself. The same applies to tampons as they can be really confusing, especially as they come in both an applicator and non-applicator formats. One of the biggest worries many girls have is starting their period when they’re away from home or in school. Very often, wearing a panty-liner on a daily basis can build her confidence as it alleviates any fear that she’ll be caught unaware.

Go through the what-ifs! It’s also perfectly normal for her period to last a couple of weeks too, so again, it’s worth sharing this bit of information with her so she’ll know what to expect. Frequently asked questions to consider include: When will my periods start? Do all girls start at the same age? How much will I bleed? Will anyone else know I’ve started my periods? Do periods hurt? How long should each period last? How often will I have a period? Which products should I use? How do I use the products and how often should I change them? Can I still exercise or swim when I’m on my period?

About Vicki: Vicki Buffery is Lil-Lets’ resident expert on all things puberty and periods! For more advice and support visit www. becomingateen.ie or visit the BecomingateenIRL YouTube channel. Both are dedicated to providing additional support and advice to teenagers and young girls. Lil-Lets have also launched a committed, nationwide, Schools Programme designed to prepare Irish girls for puberty and their first period.

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ASK JESSICA

Q. I’m would like to start an exercise programme that will benefit my emotional health as much as my physical health, but I don’t know which type of class would be best. Should I consider choosing from yoga, pilates, tai chi, or could you recommend a class, please?

A It’s great that you have decided to get into exercise. The benefits to you are going to be great. You’ll sleep better, have more energy, better skin, reduced stressed, not to mention all the amazing physical benefits of your clothes fitting better, and looking healthy, trim and toned! My advice to you would be to try them all. Even if some don’t offer pay-as-you-go sessions, if you get in touch directly with the instructor, they will almost always let you try it out first to see if it’s for you. All of the above things that you mentioned are great for mental health, so it really will be a personal preference as to which you go for. On top of the classes you mention, all forms of exercise will give you great mental rewards so consider the not so obvious interval training sessions, bootcamp, and circuits too, as you will also feel on top of the world after a class like that.

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ASK LUCY

Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….