Whether it's your daughter's very first period or she's been having them for a while, getting her period in school can be nerve-wracking. Not only are there uncomfortable symptoms for her to deal with - hello cramps, headaches and bloating! - there is the potential for embarrassment.
But as someone who's been there yourself - and who knows your daughter better than she knows herself - you're brilliantly placed to ease her fears and help her through it. Here's how...
1. Pick a time when she's relaxed, and talk about any of her worries or fears, taking her through scenarios she might face and working out a strategy for coping with them. Being prepared in advance like this can be surprisingly empowering for her. In addition to offering advice, give her a chance to ask you any questions she may have. There are likely to be some unhelpful myths she believes that you can help correct for her.
2. Identify people your daughter can confide in at school if she has a problem - is there a sympathetic teacher, staff member or friend she can go to if her cramps get bad or she has a particularly heavy bleed? She'll be far less likely to panic knowing she doesn't have to face a problem on her own.
3. Find out the school's policy on painkillers. Some schools prefer to keep them in the school office and dispense them when asked, while others are happy for students to carry small amounts of tablets with them to take as they need.
4. Develop coping strategies for things like pain. Are there breathing or mindfulness exercises she can practise if she gets bad cramps? If she gets bloated, can she wear different, looser clothes to school that day?
5. Pack a "survival kit" with everything your daughter might need during her period. Include:
- Several Whisper with wings napkins are suitable for both light and heavy flows.
- Tissues or intimate wipes (particularly handy for emergencies when the toilet paper has run out)
- A spare set of underwear
- Painkillers that your doctor prescribes (if her school allows)
- A pretty make-up or cosmetic bag to store everything in and "disguise" the kit
6. Finally, let her know she can phone you at any time during the day, and that you're there for her. Knowing she has a sympathetic ear - and an understanding hug - waiting at home will be a huge comfort.
Do you have any great tips for helping teenagers handle their periods? We'd love you to share them with us. Add your comments below.