How to Help Your Daughter Track Her Menstrual Cycle
Ah, the world of first periods and all the unknowns and uncertainties that come with them for a young girl. One thing your daughter may be less ready for is the idea of tracking her cycle. Wait, now this monthly bleeding means there’s math involved, too?
Luckily, you can ease your girl into it, give her that sense of control and help her feel comfortable with tracking good old Aunt Flo in a few pretty painless ways.
Create a Calendar
Let her know that this whole tracking thing really doesn’t have to be that complicated, and it's not going to add some big chore to her daily routine. All she really needs is a calendar and a pen!
If your daughter has a daily planner or journal she already uses, you can, of course, use that. But consider adding a little pop of fun and buy her a pretty new day planner or desk calendar – it will serve to help her not feel as though her period is encroaching on her daily life as well as be a fun little present.
Have her start with just the basics. First, have her denote the first day of her period. You can use words, numbers or even come up with your own secret symbols. Encourage her to note if she has cramps or any other symptoms.
Make sure she then notes the last day of her period as well. Then make sure she knows she doesn’t have to track anything further until the next first day of her cycle. Encourage using colored or gel pens, too, to keep it light.
Keep the next step no-stress: Just have her count the days between the end of period one and the start of period two. Keep her informed, too. The average cycle is around 21 – 35 days, so there’s a pretty decent window, but be sure to let her know that it still can be a little shorter or longer and thus not to worry.
Map It All Together
After you two have made it through a few menstrual cycles, you should be able to start seeing some patterns. Walk your daughter through what to look for. For example, what has been the average length of her periods? Are there any symptoms (cramps, spotting, nausea, etc.) that she’s tracked rather regularly, and can she correlate them to a time in her cycle?
Let her know that knowing these things is immensely helpful, as she can prepare ahead. Does she tend to always cramp around Day Two? Have medicine on hand and beat it to the punch.
Also, as she gets a good idea of her average cycle length, she can start to plan around her period. If she wants to plan a party or a beach trip, she can use this knowledge to plan around to her comfort level.
Once you both have a handle on what is expected, too, any changes will be more immediately noticeable and easier to act upon. Any changes in flow, timing, pain, etc. should stand out and you and your daughter can make an informed decision to visit the doctor.
Your daughter will surely be overwhelmed at the thought of this rite of passage, but with you by her side helping her get in front of it all and know her own body, she should have nothing to fear!
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