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  • My 8-Year-Old Daughter Started Her Period. This Is Too Early, Right?

    What is the normal age for a girl to get her first period?
    by Kitty Elicay .
My 8-Year-Old Daughter Started Her Period. This Is Too Early, Right?
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  • Parents wish that their children won’t grow up too fast, but they’ll soon find themselves dealing with tweens and teens. If you have daughters, one of the things you need to prepare for is their first period, also called menarche.  

    When will my daughter get her first period?

    On average, girls will experience menarche at around 12 to 13 years old. But what if your daughter gets her first menstruation at eight to 10 years old? Isn’t that too early?

    Every girl’s body has its own schedule. It is not uncommon for girls to start their period as young as 8 or 9 years old, says experts. Typically, they will get their period around 2 years after their breasts start to develop, according to KidsHealth.

     If your daughter gets her menstruation at a young age, it is usually because the hormones in her body responsible for puberty are being produced earlier. “In most cases, there is no obvious or abnormal reason for why the body has started producing these hormones early, although body weight, heredity, ethnicity, and activity can be important factors,” says Dr. Sara Kreckman, a pediatrician at UnityPoint Health in Iowa, USA.

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    What to expect during your daughter’s first period

    A girl’s first period may only last a couple of days. For the first few years, it may also not come regularly, according to KidsHealth. After 2 or 3 years, the period should come around once a month. This time, it can last longer, around two to seven days per cycle.

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    How to prepare your daughter for her first period

    Talking about personal subjects like menstruation can make parents and kids feel uncomfortable, but it’s crucial to talk to your daughter about this before it happens. This is especially true for girls ages 8 and 9, as it can be “emotionally and mentally challenging for girls this young, as well as their parents,” according to Dr. Kreckman.

    She adds, “If your daughter is going through puberty earlier than her friends and classmates, she may feel isolated and embarrassed. The best thing you can do as a parent is to reassure her and explain exactly what is happening to her body.”

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    Here are some tips on how you can help your daughter deal with her first period.

    1. Start the conversation early.

    You can start the “period talk” as early as 4 years old. Slowly build your child’s understanding and don’t just have one big sit-down conversation to get it over with. This goes for both girls and boys!

    For example, if your preschooler sees a sanitary pad and asks you what it’s for, you can say that mommy bleeds a little from her vagina every month. Tell her that it’s called a period — it doesn’t hurt but it’s how her body gets ready for a baby. The sanitary pad catches the blood so it doesn’t go to the underwear.

    2. Talk to her often.

    By the time your child reaches 6 or 7 years old, they’ll be able to understand the basics of periods, says KidsHealth. Look for natural moments to initiate the conversation, like when your kids start to notice that their bodies are changing, or when they ask where babies come from. You can also talk to them about it while in the grocery and you’re shopping for sanitary pads.

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    Talk often and answer your child’s questions as best as you can. You can also use this as a starting point for a talk on sex, consent, and sexuality.

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    3. Tell her what to expect.

    In your conversations, it’s also best to educate her on menstrual cycles and all the changes that puberty brings. There are tools you can use to help her have a better understanding, such as books and videos.

    Talk to your daughter about what to expect such as a light flow during the first few years, the color of her blood (from red to more brownish shades), and that it will have a faint odor.

    You can also let her know that she will likely experience some discomfort, like a bit of back pain or cramps in the lower abdomen, especially at the start of their period. Don’t focus too much on period problems — these symptoms will likely show up after your daughter has had her period for a couple of years. However, it is important that your daughter lets you know should she ever feel pain whenever she bleeds.

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    4. Practice and build a “period kit.”

    To help your daughter feel ready for her first period, you can show her how to position a napkin on her underwear and let her know how it feels like to wear one. Teach her how to properly dispose of a napkin as well, by rolling it up and wrapping it in paper or tissue.

    You can also buy a small zippered pouch and both of you can stock it with sanitary pads and clean underwear. Tell your daughter to keep the pouch with her at all times (you can also keep one with you!).

    How can you help your teens navigate adolescence? Click here for a list of books they can read!

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