For many young girls, one of the most deeply rooted menstruation fears is to rise up from their desk at school only to have accidentally leaked all over their clothes – for everyone in their class to see.
While this fear is diminished with time and experience, it is an absolutely normal and natural feeling for most girls who are menstruating to worry while they are at school.
Truth is, even adults worry about this, and it would be rare for any woman to choose to wear white pants, or a skirt – or any other clothing that would easily show blood should a pad or tampon malfunction.
Put it this way, females of all ages, have been wearing jackets wrapped around their waists, black pants and tunics during their periods for decades in order to find some peace of mind that their ‘private’ time of the month will remain just that. Private!
For this reason, and because plenty of girls experience cramps, diarrhea or other ‘issues’ during their period, combined with the fact that schools can be insensitive to the insecurities and fears of menstruating girls, many females choose to simply just stay out of school for a day or two during menstruation. And this too can become a problem.
Not to mention the fact that it is a terrible message for your child to be shamed into staying away from school due to something as NATURAL as a period.
While schools catering to girls of menstruation age are not legally regulated to allot a certain amount of bathroom breaks during the school day – it is important to understand that girls should be able to feel safe and secure to attend school regardless of whether or not they are on their period.
In fact, we believe it is your daughter’s RIGHT to do so, and that schools have a duty to provide both the resources and facilities to accommodate menstruating girls.
This means that individual bathrooms should be routinely stocked with receptacles for girls to properly dispose of their supplies. Additionally, schools should be expected to readily supply girls with necessities during their periods should it occur unexpectedly. And most important, teachers and administrators should be willing and able to make amends to policies that may restrict bathroom usage, while not infringing on your daughters right to privacy! If your school district does not do any of these things, it’s time to sit down and have a chat with the principal.
The following tips will help both parents and young girls handle the obstacles of having a period during school days. Keep in mind as a parent, that since all of this is new, the first clue that periods at school may be a problem for your daughter will be her insistence to stay home. But the sooner you can empower her to handle her period in any facet of life, the better off she will be in the long run.
Tip #1 – First and foremost, have a complete understanding of the bathroom policy at your child’s school. If your daughter feels that she is not able to run in and ‘check’ during the day without getting in trouble, you need to speak with an administrator at the school and explain the situation. If they are not helpful, or are unwilling to bend, then contact your pediatrician and ask them to provide you with a ‘special needs’ request, which will ensure your daughter can utilize facilities each and every time she needs to, even if it is just to do a 5 second check. Chances are you will find that telling a teacher what is going on will be all it takes to make your daughter feel comfortable.
Remember, confidence and peace of mind are part of your child’s overall wellbeing. And it’s their RIGHT!
Tip #2 – Check the bathrooms at your child’s school regularly! Do they have receptacles in every stall? Are supplies available? Is there soap or hand sanitizer in the bathroom? Are the trash containers emptied regularly? Remember, this is YOUR tax dollars at work and providing these basic necessities for girls is the schools responsibility.
Tip #3 – Always make sure that your daughter is prepared. Our Be Prepared Period Kits are perfect for your daughter and will ensure she always has the supplies she needs. Since periods can be unpredictable in the beginning, make sure that she carries a discreet zippered bag (so nothing accidentally falls out) that is supplied with what she will need during the day. Help her keep this stocked and remind her if necessary. Even if your tips are met with rolling eyes, they aren’t falling on deaf ears.
Tip #4 – The buddy system is a great way to build confidence as well. And as an added bonus, it reinforces the fact that all girls are in the same situation when it comes to their periods. Simply encourage your daughter to come up with a code word for ‘period’ with her circle of friends. Then they can do random spot checks of one another to make sure that everything is okay throughout the day.
Tip #5 – Use a calendar to track periods, such as the one available on our website – so parents and girls wont be taken off guard by the onset of menstruation. (But remember, it is quite common for periods to vary widely in the beginning before settling into a more consistent pattern.)
Tip #6 – From time to time, as a parent, you should also realize that allowing your daughter to stay home if she doesn’t feel well, or is bleeding heavily is not going to be the end of the world. Sometimes, spending the heaviest day at home, and being pampered just a bit can help them get through this time. Even so, it is important to instill in them that periods are not disabilities, or illnesses – and are instead an exciting part of femininity.
Learn how to have a Better Period! Check out our Info on Periods & Puberty page for more helpful information OR stop by our new PeriodTalk forum to get answers to the questions you’ve been wondering about.