You Might Need to Talk to Your Kids About Puberty Sooner Than You Think
In 1860 the average age for the onset of puberty for girls was 16.6 years old. And in just 100 years we have seen the rapid decline from 14.6 in the 1920’s, 13.1 in the 1950’s, 12.5 in the 80s to what more and more paediatricians are witnessing now with the onset occurring for girls as young as 8 or 9 and boys 9 or 10.
Some scientists believe this could be due to improvements in overall health while others have concerns that increased obesity may increase blood levels of oestrogens. However, one Danish study last year found puberty occurring earlier in children regardless of body mass index at age seven.
Regardless, it is an issue that parents must be on top of before it happens.
Getting your period for the first time at thirteen isn’t exactly a barrel of laughs. Entering the world of mood swings, sore boobs, cramps and the flow of blood at unexpected times in unexpected places, carting around pads, what to do with soiled undies – it’s all a lot to deal with.
I still remember like it was yesterday what it was like dealing with it at school. Trying to sneak a pad into the cubicle, disposing of the used one, worrying if it was showing through under my gym shorts – having my bestie look for tell-tale bulges (these were back in the days of BIG pads). It was awful.
So how do you prepare a nine year old? By starting early, having honest and open conversations about it and answering any and all questions as soon as they arrive. Kids talk at school, more than you may think, so make sure they have the facts right.
The less of a big deal we make of it, the less traumatic it will be for the kids when it does happen. But being prepared is key. It can be traumatic and frightening to start bleeding unexpectedly when you haven’t been forewarned.
And a particularly great idea is having a “Period Kit” ready. Ideally any kit should be compact enough to fit into their school bag ready to grab in an instant and perhaps keep a spare at home too.
Start with a cute little bag and include some basics like:
Panty liners for light days (and a calendar to keep track)
- Pads and/or tampons
- Leakproof period underwear or spare undies (incase of leakage)
- Zip-lock bag to dispose of soiled undies or pads (in case they haven’t got anywhere to put them in a hurry)
- Wet wipes to freshen up arm pits or any leakage
Your daughter may feel just that bit more secure, confident and at ease knowing in the back of her mind that she’s fully prepared to tackle it head-on when it happens being fully prepared.