Talking to a 8 Year Old About Period?

Updated on January 29, 2010
K.V. asks from Lynnwood, WA
13 answers

Well, my daughter is 8, and she asked me what the overnight pads that were on the bathroom counter were. Then at the mall she asked me what tampons are, she saw them in the bathrooms dispensers. I know she knows something, she reads a lot, she's in second grade, but reads at sixth grade level, she's very smart. At the same time, she's only 8, and she's very, how to put it?? she gets scared very easily, if she sees flooding somewhere then she can't sleep, because she thinks it will happen were we are, that's why I don't want to scare her. I want to talk to her about the period, but I don't want to scare her because I have to say that we bleed, and that it will happen, eventually, to her. How did you moms did it?? MYbe it's too soon?? Give me some ideas, please!!!!!!!!!!

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answers from New York on

9 year old is NOT to young! I was 9 when I got mine & my mother had never told me what it was so when I saw it I was screaming thinking I was bleeding to death & to make matters worse that day I was alone w/ my poor Dad & Uncle who proceeded to argue with each other over wether I should use pads or tampons!! I mean my Dad was great & a real trooper but it was traumatic & embarrassing for me!! My daughter is only 3 but I will be explaining to her by 8!

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answers from Chicago on

Rush Copey Hospital in Aurora has a wonderful (and free) mother/daughter program called "From Girl to Young Woman." It is geared toward girls 8-12 and explains puberty and getting your period and what to do when you have your period and hygiene, etc. They do not talk about sex, just puberty and what is going on in your body. I went with my daughter and found it to be very informative, but not overwhelming.

Good luck!

Sorry I just realized you are in Washington. Check with the local hospitals or maybe even the OB/GYN offices to see if they offer a program similar to the one offered here.

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answers from Chicago on

Hi K., If your daughter is asking questions then maybe its time to have that talk with her. I was 9 years old when I started my period and my mom did not have that talk with me. I didn't know why I was bleeding and thought something was wrong with me. I freaked out and I didn't know what to do. I didn't tell my mother but she found out a few days later. So please if shes asking questions please talk to her.

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answers from Boston on

My conversation with my daughter happened very naturally when she was about 9. She said she had a little blood in her underpants so we went to the bathroom. (For some reason, I didn't think it was her period yet.) I told her that we needed to check to see where the blood was coming from so we would know if she had a urinary tract infection or if she was menstruating. She wanted to know what menstruating was, so I explained about their being a little nest called a uterus in her body and that women's bodies release eggs once a month. If the egg is fertilized, it becomes a baby and if it isn't fertilized, her body will wash it away. I had her sit on the toilet and wipe herself up front to see if there was any blood. Then I had her wipe herself back further and told her that that was the vagina and the birth canal and where the egg & blood would come out. Turns out that she did have a UTI, but the conversation was very natural and comfortable. When my husband went to kiss her in bed that night, she was very excited to tell him, "Daddy, I might be getting my period!". Very cute. When my twin boys had asked what the pads were for, I simply said that they were so my underwear wouldn't get stained. They were satisfied with that simple answer. Last year in 5th grade, they had puberty night -- they learned about their own puberty and girl's. Since then, we've had innumerable questions and discussions about the most unimaginable things. I don't think it's necessary to tell them more than they need to know (they're 11), but if they ask, I will answer their questions with a straightforward, truthful but simple answer. (I had to clarify something recently, though. When a woman gets her period because the egg wasn't fertilized, one of the boys thought that the egg passing through was similar to a chicken egg!) I swear I'm going to write a book some day!

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answers from Portland on

Angela's answer is great.

Don't avoid your daughter's questions, or she might begin to worry more. Imagination can be much scarier than fact. There are surely dozens of good books that explain the menstrual cycle in terms children can understand.

And if you don't call it "bleeding," but rather "shedding of the unused lining of the uterus," it needn't sound like an unhealthy or frightening process.



answers from Lafayette on

Go to and they will send you a free kit with information to help explaing this to her. They have a lot of information there. Planned Parenthood also has age-appropriate materials.



answers from Minneapolis on

The average age of menarche (first period) is getting lower and lower. It is not uncommon for 9 and 10 year olds to be getting their periods. If your daughter is asking, you should answer. Trust me, you would rather explain this now, before she gets her period, than have her be completely freaked out one day because she is thinking that she's bleeding to death. My daughter is 8, has known about periods since she was 3. Because it's just a fact of life, we approached this topic the same that we talked about anything else - pooping, peeing, eating, etc. We started when she first noticed pubic hair when she snuck into the bathroom while I was showering. So, rather than telling her about "blood," of which there is actually very little, you can tell her that it's the lining of the uterus that would nourish a baby - but because it's not needed, it's sloughed off. I would bring it up at a time when it is natural, make sure that you're not freaking out about it (because that would make her freak out about it), and not have a sit-down-and-talk-about-this-issue sort of talk, which only makes kids feel weird.

Good luck!



answers from Norfolk on

My daughter is 7 and also in second grade, and reads as well- so I feel ya! I would(and will) tell her that when you get older your body changes and that when she is older you will explain it all. Mysterys are ok with 8 year olds they don't need to know everything yet! I didnt get my period until I was 16 and by that time I already knew all the dirt from health class- but just tell her its something mom's need and little girls don't need to worry about!



answers from Seattle on

You should totally talk to her openly, calmly and frankly about it all. If she is asking the questions, she is ready to hear the answer. It is a natural and inevitable process for her and she would be well served to know what is coming down the pike-whenever that may be. My daughter has known about it since she was 6 or so since she has seen pads and tampons in the bathroom and in my purse and asked what they were for. I gave her as much info as she seemed interested to hear. Kids are great at changing the subject when they have had enough. It is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed by, so don't treat it that way. My mom didn't say boo about it to me and I was horrified and utterly unprepared when I finally got my period. Now is the time to lay that foundation of openess and trust with your daughter. Let her know she can come to you about anything and not feel embarrassed by it. More serious things come up later and you'll hope she'll talk to about those as well!

Good luck and good job!


answers from Columbus on

Personally I am a little surprised that this has never come up before now. My three yr old knows about periods-he walked in on me changing my sanitary napkin a few months ago. He was a bit concerned, but I told him (as I told his three older siblings) that women bleed once a month and it doesn't hurt. The older ones have a little more info, depending on their age. I have 3 boys, who don't really NEED to know that much about it, but my 6 yr old daughter knows that women have periods once a month so that they can grow babies, sometimes the period makes a womans tummy achy (cramps), and that it will happen to her one day and is nothing to be concerned/worried about; it is a natural and wonderful thing to start your period for the first time because it means you can now give the gift of life-she also knows that just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD.

I had a friend in junior high whose mom had never told her anything about menstruation, and when she got her first period she literally freaked out. She had gone to a swimming hole and thought a leech had gotten inside of her!



answers from Jacksonville on

My doctor told me that my now 12 year old still had at least two years about 6 months ago. We never really had the subject come up then powie here comes the period and we weren't prepared. SO I think if she weren't my youngest girl I would start much earlier.
I did explain that day and tried to let her know that she is a big girl now and inadvertently made her believe she was pregnant. So yeah, with this one I failed big time.
In the schools they usually do a menstruation talk with the girls at 5th grade. But I know one of my older daughter's friends who started in third grade at 8.


answers from Kansas City on

i got mine when i was 10 and at that time it was EXTREMELY early. i don't think you should put it off, it sounds like she's curious so if you don't talk to her there's a chance she'll ask around places/people she shouldn't and get answers you'd rather not give her. so sit down and talk to her. don't make it scary, because it's not, it's just a fact of life. it doesn't hurt (more or less) like it does when we bleed other places, it's just something that happens as your body gets older. tell her the mechanics of it, what pads and tampons are used for, but my mom told me (and i'm glad she did) that first starting out, you don't have to use a tampon because pads are a lot easier. just make it as painless as possible, you'll do fine. mostly make sure she knows to come to you if she sees something like that. good luck!



answers from Harrisburg on

I think she'll be even more terrified if she begins her period and has no idea what's going on with her body. If she's asking questions about feminine products then tell her what they're for. If she doesn't ask more questions, leave it at that. She will eventually start to ask more questions so just be honest with her and give her the right cutesie phrases. My daughter is the same way yours is, always scared of something. But she is curious about her body and glad she has the knowledge and is prepared. Same way I talk to her about tornadoes and such...we can't really control that stuff but we can make sure we are prepared.

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