Okay I realize for some, the topic of girls and their periods is awkward but as a mom to a few girls and a competitive gymnastics coach this is a topic that has come up several times.
When was younger (a lot younger!) and competing one of my biggest fears was getting my period while at training or worse yet – at a competition. Fortunately it never happened that way and I was pretty old by the time I got it anyway (16) so I already knew what I needed to know, however, these days there are so many girls involved in dance, cheerleading, tumbling, swimming and yes gymnastics so as parents it is really important that we talk to our daughters about getting their period and being prepared – before they actually get it.
Now when I say we need to start talking I don’t mean about them. I have found it useful to talk more about myself and my experiences as this tends to get them more interested in listening and less embarrassed.
If any of you have a daughter involved in activities such as dance, gymnastics, cheer, swimming you are fully aware that most of the time what they are wearing is pretty skimpy (think gymsuits and swimsuits!) so really what a girl wears as protection is very important!
Pads and panty liners may be a good start but at some point are going to prove to be very uncomfortable, bulky and obvious (think gymsuits and swimsuits – yuck). Suprisingly though there are still many parents who believe their daughters are too young for tampons! Seriously if she is old enough to get her period she is old enough to wear a tampon. As a parent it is important to teach your daughter that wearing a tampon does NOT change her status as a virgin (yes – hard to believe but I have had girls tell me that this is what they were told!).
In my opinion tampons are the best option but they can also leak (although I have never seen it happen yet to any gymnast). They do take some time to learn, so yes – teach her and let her practice. Buy a box of the really slim or light flow tampons and demonstrate how the applicator works – obvioulsy with your hand! Have her practice on her own hand before attempting to insert them into her body and be prepared to buy a few boxes. Tampons can be tricky!
Something else I would suggest is have your daughters dance bag, swim back, cheer bag, gymnastics bag – whatever bag, well stocked and prepared before she gets her period so that if she does get it while away from home, she is not stuck in a potentially embarrassing situation. Suggestions would be:
All her training equipment / clothing
extra clean underwear (just in case!)
Have you had to have the talk about periods yet with your daughter? Is she prepared?
Until next time,