Getting your first period can bring up a lot of emotions. Here are ten special ways to help your daughter nurture a positive relationship to her period right from the beginning!
Shortly before my period started, my mom took me on a “mom and daughter” weekend. We drove to a hotel in a town an hour away from home and spent the weekend doing things my seventh-grade self loved: shopping at the outlet mall, going out to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, and eating homemade tapioca pudding in the bathtub while wearing our swimsuits (don’t knock it till you try it).
The time away from the distractions of home also gave us time to talk about important things like periods and sex. While I still remember twinges of awkwardness hearing my mom talk about sex and other bodily functions, the sweetness of the weekend and time together framed the topics of conversation in a positive light.
When a girl starts her period it can bring up all kinds of questions and emotions. Thoughtful acknowledgement of this big shift is one way to help girls feel more confident in their new cycling selves!
Are Periods Really Something to Celebrate?!
For many women, periods = misery. Monthly cramps, sore breasts, hormonal headaches, and huge mood swings don’t sound like something you’d want to put a party hat on for and invite your friends. Thankfully, those common symptoms are actually messages from the body that it needs more support and not inherently part of menstruation. (This is something I teach more about in my mom and daughter puberty course and my Period Pain Toolkit workshop.)
In reality, having a period is amazing for so many reasons.
- It is a window into your health. Again, period symptoms are messengers of imbalance and inflammation (which I believe have both emotional and physical components) that invite us to better listen to and honor our bodies.
- It is a mini monthly detox.
- The fact that women’s bodies operate in a monthly cycle with four phases allows us to more intentionally lean into different aspects of our health, personalities, and states of being. I firmly believe women should do whatever makes them feel rejuvenated during their period, which might look different for everyone. While tampon commercials want you to believe periods shouldn’t stop you from “living your life like normal,” I have loved taking my period as an opportunity to learn what it means to rest, quiet down enough to tune into my body, and reflect on what I want to let go of from the past month.
Periods are also usually the last big development in a girl’s puberty journey, which in itself is an important milestone!
The Most Important Question to Ask Yourself Is…
What kind of period celebration would your daughter want?
It’s easy to come up with ideas for what *we* would have loved as preteens or teens. However, the point is to reinforce to your daughter that she is cared for, supported, and honored as she continues growing into what it means to be a woman.
For some girls, the notion of a first period party where they are the center of attention is the stuff of nightmares, while for other girls it might be a dream come true. The resources below are meant to give you inspiration, but it’s a good idea to have a conversation with your daughter about how she wants to be celebrated.
Here are ten fun ideas to make your daughter’s first period experience special!
1. Make a First Period Gift Basket
Does your daughter love getting gifts? Put together a surprise basket full of treats to both help her navigate her period and feel pampered. Here are a few ideas of items that could go in a first period basket…
- A special snack (maybe one you don’t buy or make regularly)
- Cute period tracking charts (here are mine!)
- A new journal (maybe a prompted one like this or a regular lined one like this)
- Her favorite treat
- Heating pad or hot water bottle
- Box of pads (see below for some of my favorite brands)
- A note of encouragement from you
- A piece of jewelry (like a moon necklace)
- Herbal tea (I love red raspberry leaf to support hormones)
- Coloring book or other fun activities to do during her period
- Warm socks
2. Have a Spa Day
For the girl that loves feeling pampered, a spa day is a perfect opportunity to connect and talk about the importance of taking time to care for your body, especially during your period. You could go out to a salon of some sort or you could do a spa day at home.
Light some candles, fill up some plastic tubs or buckets for magnesium foot soaks (here are my favorite magnesium flakes), exfoliate your skin with a homemade brown sugar scrub, listen to fun music while you lay back with a face mask on (I love using raw honey or plain yogurt as a face mask), give her a foot massage, etc.
When I was in middle school I had a “spa birthday party” at home and still have fond memories of it.
3. Present Her With Letters of Encouragement
Ask a few women in her life who she looks up to or feels close with to write her a letter of encouragement. They could include a few lines about what they wish they had known when they were your daughter’s age or some tips and tricks about navigating periods and growing up.
You could ask for these to be written ahead of time and have a bundle of letters ready for when her period starts. This could also be fun to include in the “First Period Basket” above!
4. Have a Period Party
There could be SO many variations of this depending on what your daughter wants! It could be with her close friends, female mentors, close family, or a combination of all of the above. The “period” theme could be front and center or not explicitly mentioned at all.
Here are a few themes for period parties to get you thinking…
- Red theme: Decorate with roses, eat red foods (red velvet cake, watermelon, chocolate covered strawberries, crackers with cheese and red pepper jelly, spaghetti, etc.), and have guests wear shades of red.
- First Moon Party: The menstrual cycle has long been associated with the moon, so a moon-themed period party seems fitting! You could have a moon piñata (I’ve heard of a uterus piñata, but I don’t know how I feel about bashing a uterus with a bat!), decorate cupcakes with different phases of the moon, etc.
- Tea Party: Put on pretty dresses, play some fun music, and eat tiny versions of her favorite foods. You could make it feel formal and “grown up” if your daughter loves that kind of celebration.
5. Buy Her a Beautiful Bouquet of Flowers
Being given flowers is special at any age, but I remember it feeling extra special as a younger girl.
A few months ago I asked the women of my Instagram community a while back about how their first periods were celebrated. One woman responded, “My dad bought be a dozen roses and wrote a lovely card about how I am a woman now and that he loves me. My mum let me pick whatever I wanted for supper. I was an emotional wreck that day so I felt so loved and honoured.” How sweet is that!
6. Have Some Late-Night Fun
If your daughter has a strict bedtime but loves staying up late, plan a late-night date for just the two of you! You could let her pick out a movie to watch together, make a fun treat, ask each other fun questions, and watch her revel in the thrill of being up “late.”
You could take advantage of the time with just the two of you to ask if she has any other questions or anything she wants to talk about regarding her period and menstrual cycle.
7. Go Out For or Make a Meal of Her Choice
Although my mom mostly tried to cook meals my sisters and I enjoyed, being able to pick what was for dinner (and dessert!) or choosing somewhere to go out to eat at felt like a real privilege.
For some fun dinner table conversation, pull a few of the discussion questions from my free “Let’s Connect” guide!
8. Give Her a New Freedom or Privilege
I don’t believe that starting your period turns you from a girl into an adult woman overnight, but it is a big developmental step that brings you closer to maturity (the brain continues to go through major developments through the mid 20s!). Giving your daughter a new freedom or privilege alongside her new cycle can be one way to honor the changes she’s going through.
This will be specific to every family context and girl, but this could look like her getting her ears pierced, getting a slightly later bed time, trying a new hair style (or color), etc.
One woman on Instagram told me, “My mom took me to the roof of our house and we drank a wee bit of red wine.” That would have certainly been memorable to me as a young woman!
9. Prepare a Period Product Experiment
There are so many different menstrual products available and it can take some experimenting to find products that fit your own body. You and your daughter could go shopping together and try out a number of brands and types of products or you could gather some yourself and have them on hand for your daughter to try out after her period comes.
As adults, most of us have found a few period products that work for us, but it’s good to remember that every body is different and your daughter might find different products or brands to be a better fit.
I’m all about teaching girls from a young age that what they put in and on their bodies matters, and this is definitely true of period products. While it’s hard to find things that are “perfect,” here are some of the more non-toxic period products I’ve come across!
- LOLA pads and tampons (they also have a first period kit)
- Rael pads, tampons, period underwear
- Modibodi period underwear
- Natracare pads and tampons
- Saalt menstrual cups or discs
10. Start a Mom & Daughter Journal
You could present your daughter with a beautiful journal or spend an afternoon decorating one together with cute stickers or drawings. Decide on a place where you can secretly pass it off to one another and have it be a safe space for you to communicate with one another as she continues to grow up.
The journal doesn’t have to just be for talking about the female body (although it could be useful for that too). I’ve heard from a number of moms that having a mom and daughter journal gave them so much more insight into their daughter’s life and opened up a new way of relating to one another.
I have more information about creating a hidden journal in my free “Let’s Connect” guide.
The *Most* Important Gift of All
Parties, gifts, and other rites of passage are great, but the *most* important thing you could give your daughter is a solid understanding of how her body and menstrual cycle works.
When young girls don’t have accurate information about their changing body, they frequently perceive healthy parts of growing up – like vaginal discharge or even pubic hair – as scary health issues.
Making sure your daughter knows about what periods might look and feel like, understands the four phases of the menstrual cycle, and has a first period kit ready (or at least knows where to find period products and how to use them) before the onset of menstruation.
My mom and daughter puberty course covers all things menstrual cycle as well as other signs of puberty, including both physical changes and mood changes. You’ll both walk away with practical ways to help care for her changing body and tips for smoother communication throughout the preteen and teen years.
Let’s talk in the comments! I’d love to hear…
- How did your parent/guardian react to you getting your period for the first time?
- Are you planning on doing a period celebration of some kind with your daughter?
- Have you heard of any other fun ways to celebrate a girl’s first period?