Pencil Box Period Kits
I find some relief telling parents that most schools have menstrual kits for kids who happen to start their period at school. And while these kits are simple and approachable, getting one of these kits would require a conversation with an adult. It requires an acknowledgement of, “Hey, I’m bleeding and could use some items to help.” No matter how warm, approachable, and kind the school nurse or secretary is, having to navigate this uncomfortable conversation is a barrier for most kids, especially for trans- and non-binary kids. Even with parents these conversations can be hard.
Let's (NOT) Talk
As additional context, a 2017 study published by Bodyform, and originally shared with the Huffington Post, revealed that out of 1000 surveyed girls, 52% would rather be bullied at school than talk to their parents about their periods. Furthermore, only 29% said they would talk to their Dad’s about their period, 43% said that periods are “off-limits” for discussion, and, wait for it, a whopping 87% said they have “gone to great lengths” to hide their periods.
This school year, I’m encouraging parents to break down those barriers and set our kids up for success by sending their kids to school with a ready-to-go period kit. AND not just “girls” but all kids from 4th grade and up. Why? Here's a few great reasons.
Setting Them Up For Success
The first reason is to help your kids be prepared for life when they are away from home. They need their lunch, their water bottle, school supplies and menstrual kit. There’s nothing worse than being hungry and nothing worse than having to stuff a bunch of toilet paper in your underwear walking around the halls and playing at recess. Being prepared means they feel ready for what will come their way, like having food they like for lunch or feeling ready for a test. Just like you might have a conversation about what you child wants for lunch, or if you need to show them how to open up the fancy new canned Japanese fruit you got them, you can go through the items in a menstrual kit so they know how to use them when the time comes.
The second reason is recent research that shows kids turn to other kids, their friends and peers, with questions and concerns instead of their parents or other adults. Other recent research done on peer-led sex education has shown that model of learning can create great results. This means your kids may be much more likely to turn to their best-friend for support, than to their teacher or school nurse. Having your child carry a menstrual kit means they can be that friend they want to see in the world and also starts to normalize menstruation, and the fact that bodies start to bleed at a certain stage.
The third reason is to take down the shame that still persists around bleeding bodies. In parts of the world, girls are kept out of school when they are bleeding, and many adults are still only teaching their girls about periods instead of teaching all of their kids that having a period is an important part of life that approximately 50% of the world will manage throughout their life.
Normalize Menstruation for Your Kids
What Success Can Look Like
Let me share one of my favorite stories that was circulating around social media:
We can influence, right now in our own homes, the way periods will be viewed in future generations. Our children can be each other's allies and support system. Our children can be prepared for their own period, or help a friend who may need some period supplies. We can literally revolutionize the way periods are approached right in our own home with proactive conversations and soft pencil boxes. Let’s help our kids become bleeding buddies and change the way periods are approached.
This Is How We Do It
Below is a list that you can use to help your child create their own period kit. Let them choose what they would actually feel competent in using, so that their kit is custom to their age, comfort, and needs. For younger kids, they will most likely gravitate towards period underwear and pads. Older kids might see the suggestion of a cup and want to know more! Whatever they feel comfortable with, use the opportunity is there to normalize, create options, build a kit, and help your kid be prepared for school beyond academics and the lunch room. If there’s something that’s not on the list and your kiddo wants it in there, even better! These kits should reflect them.
- Plan ahead to manage your period. This could include pads, tampons, flex discs, Thinx underwear (click here for $10 off), menstrual cup (Bloody Buddy is our go-to, and you can save 10% with discount code KRISTIN10).
- Pain management, whatever your family’s preferred method is.
- Plastic bag
- Mini 12 month calendar OR app on a phone (remind them to mark their start and end date so they can start tracking their cycle)
- Period Notes from our members-only download PDF
KBH Period Kit PDF Printable
To help you and your child navigate this exceptional time in life, we have created a KBH-exclusive, 7-page period kit - including information about periods, notes you can print out, and a checklist for creating a period kit - that is included with every KBH Connect membership.
When you are signed in, you'll see the link to download the PDF in a Members Only box. Look for the gold coin icon!
Empowering our children with the knowledge that periods are normal and healthy, not scary or gross, will help them navigate puberty with more grace for themselves and others. Helping them feel prepared to navigate their own period, or to help a friend, is even MORE empowering. Let’s change the narrative one period kit at a time!