32 answers

Talk to 5 Year Old About Menstrual Cycle..???

Hi! Ok, I can't believe I have to ask this...I am very discrete about what needs to be done in the bathroom when I am on my cycle, but I have a VERY observant little girl and when we have been in a public restroom together she has noticed things, or she has seen what I keep in the bathroom and started to ask me some question. I think the "truth" would freak her out! And I have always been able to answer her truthfully when has has been curious about things. But I have been stumped and just changed the subject on her when it comes to this subject!
I just need an age appropriate answer..and somehow cannot seem to find the right words. any suggestions would be appreciated!

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hi everyone! Thanks for all the answers! More than anything, it just reminded me that raising a Daughter is going to bring lots more questions in the future, and I want to set up open communication now- So, we always have that relationship! The opportunity presented itself tonight-more questions :)..so I went with something like " God made Mommies bodies to create babies and this is part of how we do it....it doesn't hurt....yes, someday it will happen to you....."...and lots more ? came as the night went on...but it was great! So, thanks again for the quick responses! ...and the encouragement!!

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How about "These are things that grown-up women use. When you are older, there will be changes in you, and you will need to use them too. I will show you how when that time comes."

Something simple like that is completely honest, and in my opinion, enough info for a 5 year old.

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I have a five year old daughter as well, and I struggled with this same issue last year, wanting to "protect" her from the truth. But the issue was decided for me when I gave birth to my son 3 weeks ago. I have given birth at home with both of my chlidren, and Peanut was there for her brother's birth and saw all the blood, and she has seen the ensuing blood since then. It was a very simple explanation of, "that is what happens when you have a baby." She justs sees it as very normal. Good luck!

Just try being brief and truthful. Like "this is something all women have to do when they are older and they become adults. It's private, but I will tell you about it when you're 12."

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Going to the bathroom in my house is usually a spectator event. Showers, brushing teeth, applying makeup, and urinating are all up for grabs with my 5 1/2 year old girl. Like your daughter, she is also very curious and intelligent. She asks every time "is that blood?" And I assure her that I'm not hurt, that it's just my period.
What I've told her is that every woman has a uterus - kind of like a type of pillow in their tummies and each month that pillow fjlls up with blood to cushion a baby. I tell her, if I don't have a baby that month, my body gets rid of the cushioning stuff which looks like blood. I tell her it doesn't hurt at all.
This seems to put her at ease until the next month when she asks about it again.
The big thing is that she gets worried that I'm bleeding and I take it that's what may concern your daughter too. Just assure you that it's natural and it doesn't hurt one bit.

Good luck to you!

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Sorry to jump in so late, but I've always been very open with my girls, and enjoy explaining things at their level. I hope it helps.

For what it's worth, we started out calling it "my -special- blood." I've explained to my daughters (my 6-year old noticed it a few years ago, right after I had my youngest), and asked about it. I explained that there is special blood inside Mommy's tummy, that helps to grow a baby. If there's no baby in there, I don't need it, so it just comes out, and every month my body makes more blood, just in case I want to have a baby (and that it doesn't hurt, because there's no "owie").

Also, if it helps, my oldest has asked about the various holes "down there." I've explained that one is for tee-tee, the one in the back is for poo-poo to come out, and the middle one is where the "special blood" and babies come out.

Best wishes and luck, and remember, always be honest, even when you're leaving out the gory details.


4 moms found this helpful

The truth is always the best! My daughter was about 3 when her older sister got her period so we discussed it in simple terms then (such as - mommies and older girls have a period once a month where they bleed a little, and there are things we use to keep the blood from being messy. the blood isn't an owie but it's from a part inside our body called a uterus. it's no big deal but you can ask me anything you want about it and I'll try to explain.) Kids like honesty, and it's good to start now and not just change the subject. Believe me, the questions get harder and harder as they get older because they are exposed to so much in the world. It's much better she hear the truth from you than stories from her friends. Start now and get in practice talking to her.

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I think everyone's suggestions have been good. I would just like to add that now is a great time to begin having a talk with your daughter about her body and how it works. Experts now agree that, instead of having "the talk" at some point when your kids are ready, you should instead have a constant (age-appropriate, of course) dialogue with them, about sex, puberty, and all those difficult topics. This will help them realize that they can always come to you for straight answers, and also gets rid of that embarrassment about talking about "private" things. You sound like you are a bit embarrassed to talk to your daughter about this topic, but I don't see why. Every healthy adult woman goes through it, and it would be better for your daughter to hear about it from you than from her friends (who may or may not have the correct information to share).

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I've always had an ongoing OPEN communication with my now 15 yr old daughter. The truth should not freak her out.....it is a part of life. She should not be taught that something is "wrong" with her body.

I am not the most discrete..... I'm the first one to hop in the shower at home or gym and not worry about what someone else is thinking. I am confortable in my body and I teach my daughter that it is ok to be comfortable in her own skin.

I was raised by a mom who would NEVER get caught in a state of undress like it was very ugly, dirty or something like that. I'll never forget at 13 my mom was almost killed in a car accident and when I was at the hospital, she started freaking out one night because the attending nurse moved a sheet and I saw her private parts....GEEESSS....Thank God that didn't scar me... it just made me realize how prudish my mom STILL IS.

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Most of the answers are very good but I would like to add one thing. Please don't lie to you child about it. My mother lied to me when I was about 6 and I asked about a neighbor girl who talked about starting her period. My mother told me there was no such thing and that the girl was lying. The result was that when I did start my period I didn't feel that I could talk to my mother about it (even though I had learned the basics of it at school by then). That little lie which my mother told with good intentions effectively shut down all communication between us about my body, sex or anything else like that. Within a few years, I had figured out that she lied to me and what I learned from it was that my mother didn't want to discuss these things and that I shouldn't ask questions about them.

Years later, I asked my mother why she had lied. She said she thought I was too young and didn't want to scare me - as she had been by family members who always talked about "the curse" and how awful it was.

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I just explained to my kids that it's mommy's "leaky" time of the month and it lasts for almost one week but doesn't hurt a bit. A woman's body changes to prepare for making babies at around age 12. If she isn't going to make a baby that month, then the blood that lines her uterus will just leak out, little by little, just for about 7 days out of every 30. We where tampons and pads to keep clean and it's just a natural part of being a woman. Now that my kids are 8, I also explain that sometimes mom is more irritable before her leaky time and less patient because of the chemical changes that occur in my body. I warn them when I feel it coming on so they know not to push the limits on those days LOL. They appreciate that I'm honest with them and they know they can ask me anything and trust that I won't be uncomfortable explaining it to them.

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I don't know why the truth would freak her out. There's nothing wrong with menstrual cycles (other than the hassle).

I never had to tell my kids anything, because I'm not discrete, so both my boys and girl knew about women and periods from a very young age. They were never shocked or worried or anything of the sort. It was just a fact. I didn't have to go into the particulars of what it was for, either, until they were old enough to ask about babies.

Since you are a private person, you probably won't change, but I can assure you that 5 is not too young for a little girl to know that mommies bleed once a month.

When you inform her that women bleed, and she asks why, you could start with the minimum answer - they bleed once a month. Then if she pushes you could say something like - it's to clean out the uterus in case there's a new baby. My technique is to give the minimal answer until there's nothing left but the full answer.

And I have found that kids don't usually ask what they don't really want to know and aren't ready to hear.

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How about "These are things that grown-up women use. When you are older, there will be changes in you, and you will need to use them too. I will show you how when that time comes."

Something simple like that is completely honest, and in my opinion, enough info for a 5 year old.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't have any suggestions for an appropriate answer but I did want to add that when I was about her age, apparenlty after a bathroom visit with my mom, we got into the parking lot and I yelled across it to my brother "You won't believe it...mom's bleeding between her legs!" Better to talk to her about it and how to keep it discreet than to have this happen to you! LOL

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It is something women have to do so they can be mommy's later. When you're older, it will happen to you too

too young. I had the same thing happen my son is very nosy and I ust said that it is my thing and it is private and when I feel that you are ready I will tell you all about it. right now you don't have to worry about it.
my kids were fine with that answer and moved on.
:) -C.

I've had similar situations with my 4 year old. I just explained matter of factly that mommy has "eggs" that are inside her tummy for making babies and when they are not used for babies they need to be washed away. So mommy has a "cycle" every month to wash away the eggs. He proceeded with "but it's red, is it blood?" I told him yes, it is blood but mommy is fine, it is completely normal and it doesn't hurt, it's just part of being a mommy.

That was it, end of discussion. :o)

I just tell my kids (my 3.5 yr old son has asked) that sometimes mommies bleed, and that we're not hurt so it's ok. that's sufficient for his age. if she asks more I would just say that we bleed sometimes because that's what helps us make babies.

Be truthful- but age appropriate. When she asks- ask her what she would like to know. Many times we as parents go into a long drawn out explanation- giving all the details, when that is not what they need. Explain to her that it is something that is natural that happens to grown up girls, it doesn't hurt (leave out cramps for now), and it is nothing to be afraid of. I think what may scare her is seeing mom bleed and not know why. For a child- bleeding is a sign of an injury, and pain. She need to know that mom is okay, and that it is okay to ask questions. I would never shy away from questions my kids have ( I have 2 boys) because I want them to know they can always ask me questions and I will tell them the truth. And yes- we've had some interesting topics already! My 5 yr old one day during breakfast had me cover death and where babies come from all in the same sitting! I kept it age appropriate- and asked him where he thought they came from. He knows they come from a mommies tummy, and according to him she "poops" them out ( I am a doula and he knows what birth is), but thats all he needed to know. He did ask how the baby got in there, and I said God takes a little bit of a mommy, and a little bit of a daddy and puts them in there to grow a baby. He was happy with that. I think if you sit down with her when she asks, and just have a casual conversation- led by her, you will be surprised how well she takes it, and it will set up your relationship for her to come to you for answers about her body, rather than getting the wrong information from friends as she gets older.

Just try being brief and truthful. Like "this is something all women have to do when they are older and they become adults. It's private, but I will tell you about it when you're 12."

The lining of the uterus is mostly made up of blood (kinda like a water balloon) and it sheds and regrows every month. Doesn't hurt at all, it's just wet. Kind of like pee, just a different color. So we use tampons or pads to keep clean and dry. You don't want to touch other people tampons/pads/or blood ... because you don't touch other people's body fluids. Just like you don't touch pee, poop, spit, old bandaids, etc.

to Jenny & others... <laughing> the bathroom also seems to be a spectator event in our house as well. Sometimes I wonder why we bother with a door.

Here is what I told my children: "Each month mommy's body gets ready to grow a baby. It makes a soft little nest where the baby can grow. If there is no baby, that nest just falls away. When that happens, there is a little blood for a few days. But don't worry, it doesn't hurt."

Just be matter-of-fact and pleasant in your tone and she'll be fine. Both my children asked about this at a very young age (2-3 years old). Good luck!

When my daughter was four she was very interested in my feminine products as well and I just let her know that when girls get a certain age they get what is called a period and it allows us to make babies in our bellies. She also wanted to know about why there is hair down there, and I just let her know it is all part of growing up. She seemed fine with the answer and was like growing up doesn't seem that fun, but more than anything she knows that things change as you grow up. Good luck!

I have had an ongoing conversation with my daughter since she was little about the menstrual cycle - she was much like your daughter and asked about it. She just recently started her cycle (she is 12 now) and was completely prepared and did not freak out like some girls do when they start (although I think that is less common now). I think I would say that when girls grow up, this is something that happens and it's no big deal. It's not an "owie". As she gets older you can explain about eggs and pregnancy... Let the converstaion evolve naturally.

I have an even younger observant daughter...things seem to be ok with her concerning menstruation. I just say these are some days I need a pad, and that, like other not-so-bad "hurts" (like paper cuts and zits and scratches) the blood will go away in few days. My daughter does not know of the existence of a vagina, and that is just too much info too soon anyhow. She is satisfied with what I have said so far.
I think our demeanor and attitude can freak kids out much more than a calm but simple explanation. Kids are not clueless about the disconnect between our words and actions/body language and changing the subject to avoids it, seems to me, to actually risk disturbing a child more. Or maybe make them MORE curious as to what you are not saying.
Pads and tampons...just stuff I gotta have around to keep my undies clean. You know doing MORE laundry isn't fun.
It is harder for me to explain some of the disturbing stuff seen in the media...that's my stumbling block. Deformities, injuries, violence...why something happens to one person but not someone else. Best to you in the parenting adventure.

I have a five year old daughter as well, and I struggled with this same issue last year, wanting to "protect" her from the truth. But the issue was decided for me when I gave birth to my son 3 weeks ago. I have given birth at home with both of my chlidren, and Peanut was there for her brother's birth and saw all the blood, and she has seen the ensuing blood since then. It was a very simple explanation of, "that is what happens when you have a baby." She justs sees it as very normal. Good luck!

My 4 yr old has also asked what these items are and I just said that they are for girls when they are grown up (she was happy with this answer). She also asks questions about boobs and I told her that she will get some when she is older like me....for some reason though she now has this idea in her head that if she waters her boobs they will grow , really don't know where this has come from!!!

What questions has she asked? You don't have to explain the whole process, but she deserves an honest answer to her question.

Good Morning,

I told my 5 year old that we as girls have a monthly cleansing cycle that our bodies get rid of things we don't need and when she gets older and its time for her body cleansing we would go over what she needs to do and she said OK, thanks Mommie

The sooner you tell her, the better. I started telling my girls about it when they were around 2, because when out shopping they would be in the stall with me and there was no way to hide it. I would just tell them when you're older you bleed a little once a month, and they weren't scared about it because they were so young when I started telling them. I had a friend who didn't tell her daughter about periods until she was ready to get hers, and the daughter was really freaked out. If your daughter is freaked out about it, she'll get used to it. It's much better to tell her now than wait. Just keep it simple and you don't have to get into all the specifics about ovulation, etc. My older daughter now has her period (for 2 years now) and it was no big deal when she started. Also, I hardly ever talk about my cramps and pains when I have mine, that way my daughter doesn't become all dramatic when she has cramps, it's just something she has to deal with.

My Mom made me watch this cheesey video in the 80's called "Who am I now?" from the makers of Tampax. Ha ha. Maybe you could find something like that........ informative....... but pretty clinical so nothing too inappropriate is shown...
Good luck! ;)

When my daughter asked about this, I told her it was something that big girls get and that I was ok(she was worried about me). When she got a little older I explained a litle more. I would start with a simple explanation. They don't need to know everything all at once.

my 4 yr old unfort has witnessed that time in a public washroom (what the heck do you do?) i try my best for him not to see much but he saw supplies. i told him my body every month figures out if i'm pregnant or not and if i'm not it lets extra stuff come out, and it doesn't hurt. he seems ok w/that

The answer that put my questions to rest when i was 10 was "Thats not blood from being hurt, its just my body telling me that if i want to have a baby i still can."


I told my step-daughter that it's something that happens to girls when they grow up and become women and it means that they can have babies. She told her uncle later that day that when she grows up she's going to get blood in her panties too. VERY pleased. I think she was about three.

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