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Talking to your kids about growing up

My daughter is 10 years old and attends public school.  She is in fifth grade and the other day she came home with a note saying the school was going to talk to the class about “hygiene”.  At first I worried they would cover topics I wasn’t ready to discuss with my 10 year old, but I called the teacher and she assured me they were first, separating the boys and girls, and second, only talking about things related to puberty.  Still, some of these topics are sensitive so I wanted to make sure she was getting the right message and from the right person.

I have spoken to my daughter about the things that were to be covered, so there would be no surprises.  I reviewed the video they planned to show and it actually seemed kind of spot on, and I realized this might be a good thing for her to have a nurse and a teacher to talk to as well as mom.

It was my wake up call.  Time to teach her about things like washing her face and using deodorant, which, when I mentioned, she asked, “only boys use antiperspirant, right?”  It made me realize just how young she really is.

I also found a book, which I consider to be pretty good, called the Care and Keeping of You, which is published by American Girl.  It is a book my daughter and her friends passed around and used to ask me questions. There are things in the book that made her feel uncomfortable, but overall, I thought it provided a good tool for talking.  There are many other books on the market that offer similar information in various degrees of candor.

I asked some other moms if they had had the sit down with their daughters yet to discuss their menstrual cycle and many of them said “no, not yet,” or “too soon.” I understood those feelings, yet is the school the best place for the children to hear things for the first time? Maybe for some it is, as certain topics can be uncomfortable for moms to discuss, but either way, it seemed prudent to be aware of the changes our children are going through and to formulate a plan either way.

How did you talk to your children about sensitive topics?

Rachael Ray