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Your Guide To Talk To Your Kids About Menstruation

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This post is a part of Periodपाठ, a campaign by Youth Ki Awaaz in collaboration with WSSCC to highlight the need for better menstrual hygiene management in India. Click here to find out more.

When I asked my seven years old niece about periods, she fled. I got concerned thinking of how to console her. To my surprise, she came back immediately with a bag showing me the sanitary pads in it. She said, “My mother has told me, if we get periods, we must place the pad in our panties.” Just out of curiosity, to know her awareness, I asked her what she knows about periods?

With a naughty smile, she told me, “Girls lose a little blood every month when they don’t have a baby in their tummy. There is no need to panic, place the sanitary napkin, and then everything will be okay.” I was happy that she knew what to do and was not concerned at all about it. When I was her age, I didn’t even know what a period is.mother daughter fb

How To Start Talking About Periods?

The menstrual cycle usually starts around the age of twelve. Periods are considered as right on time, even at age eight. That is the reason it’s critical to talk about this point early. Kids should understand about periods before they have one or find out about their companions having one.

The earlier you start discussing with the kid about menstruation, the better. Kids may start asking questions when they see their mom or siblings using period products. That’s the perfect time to start the conversation with your kid about periods.

The Do’s And Don’ts While Talking About Menstruation


  • The first thing is to make the conversation simple.
  • Understand their knowledge by asking what they already know about the topic.
  • Spend time with them to watch animated videos on Youtube related to puberty.
  • Use pictorial representations to make it easier for them to understand.
  • Introduce kids to the different sanitary protection products available in the market.
  • It’s good to make them follow the practice of keeping a couple of pads handy wherever they go. This is to make sure that they have one for themselves and to help any friend in need.
  • Also, make them practice to keep track of their periods in an app or on a calendar. This will help to understand if your child’s menstrual cycle is exceptionally irregular.
  • Give them the impression that their parents are available at any time to have these discussions.
  • Plan for a series of conversations
  • Do follow-ups and keep them updated.


  • Don’t use substitutes for essential words. Talk to them straightforwardly.
  • Don’t explain so in-depth in a way that they can’t follow you.
  • Avoid single long lecturing.
  • Even if your child is hesitant to discuss it openly, don’t give up,

Only by communicating with your kid, you can help wipe out tension or anxiety in them. You need not worry about not knowing all the facts to discuss with kids. You can always access trusted resources to get medically, accurate answers to share with them.

Daughter talking to father

A Father Too Can Talk About Menstruation

Not only mothers, fathers too can talk about it. Still, the father is often an absent figure in the discussions on menstruation. Every girl child should feel comfortable to discuss any problems, including menstruation with her father. During our childhood days, our fathers would buy chocolates, dolls and whatever we needed. So why not sanitary pads too?

Most of the fathers in India dodge away from topics related to menstruation. Only a few girls have had understanding fathers who know the problems their daughters face during menstruation. Most fathers think it’s their mother’s responsibility. It’s high time we break this misconception. Both parents should be ready to discuss this with their kids.

Period Awareness Beyond Gender

I remember when my nine-year-old cousin asked about whisper ads on the television, my aunt told him that it’s a cotton material girls attach on their stomach for stomach ache. Even today, menstruation is widely considered as a ‘girl’s only’ thing.

Our society doesn’t give importance to the fact that boys should also be made aware of periods. In our education system, there are no such proper awareness classes on menstruation. Even in biology class, ‘reproduction’ chapter is given to students to study on their own. Some teachers explain it to girls after sending boys on break.

Boys should also learn about girls’ bodies and how they work. They should understand and accept the fact that girls have mood swings and other physical uneasiness during their period days. This makes boys more supportive and compassionate companions.

But the shame and stigma around menstruation hold the boys back from discussing or learning about it. Both genders should be able to talk and learn about each other’s bodies and how they work.

Nowadays, kids are exposed to a lot of information on television and the internet. When they attain puberty, they may be familiarized with a lot of information. Still, it is an essential task for parents to discuss with the kids because some of the kid’s information does not come from reliable sources.

The author is a part of the current batch of the #PeriodParGyan Writer’s Training Program

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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