As a teacher, you are in a great position to influence the students in your class/school. This includes helping them come to terms with their monthly periods in a more prepared manner. Remember, for the girl students in your class, this is a confusing time and they will welcome any help and support that they can get.
Things to know before you begin
Puberty can be a hard time for young girls. Girl students might talk amongst themselves and exchange information they may have come across. This is how misinformation can spread. Correcting this is very important to prepare them in the best manner.
Here are some things your girl students might be feeling:
Ask the class what they may know or might have heard about periods. Let them communicate and put their thoughts and information forward. Remember, you students want to be understood, and interaction like this will help them feel heard. Having diagrams and explainers handy will also help to a great extent
Please convey the facts to your every female student
You can make your students feel calmer and comforted by conveying a few things to them.
Mensuration is a perfectly normal part of growing up, it is not a sickness or illness.
As a teacher, you are always open to answer any questions that they might have regarding their periods like What is menstruation? When will it happen? How long does it last? Does it hurt? What should she do? Will everyone know that I have my period?
Menstruation is not something to feel ashamed about. Confiding in their peers by teachers will be more helpful.
Talk to them about the changes their bodies are going through. Reassure them that this is all normal and expected.
Educate about her periods that become irregular after having been regular and the bleeding.
Being helpful at this stage is at most required as a teacher.
There are certain signs and symptoms that need to be conveyed to students to help them determine whether their periods are approaching or not.
Stomach cramps: A pressing pain in the lower abdomen area could be a sign of an approaching period
Bloating/Weight gain: Do their pants/skirts start feeling tighter all of a sudden? Such bloating could be a sign of an approaching period.
Nausea: Nausea can also be a sign. Ask your students to notice when they are feeling nauseous, especially if they haven’t eating anything unusual.
Mood swings: Feeling anxious, sad or suddenly bursting into tears could also be an indication of the approaching period
Acne: You’re breaking out. Acne is a common problem at this time of the month.
Effects on breasts: Your breasts are sore or heavy.
Diarrhea: You’re constipated or have diarrhea
Sleepless nights: Shifting hormones disturb your sleep patterns and make you feel tired.
In order to help your students have the best transition from children to young adults, educating them about the various period products available is important. These products are meant to provide comfort and a feeling of security to girls who have hit puberty.
Educate them about the different products available:
Sanitary pads: Sanitary pads should be a staple in any and every period kit. But it is important that during your period classes you demonstrate how pads can be used.
Tampons: The second best sanitary product that can help students feel more comfortable are tampons. Tampon usage is different from pad usage, so a demonstration in this regard too will be helpful to the students.
Pantyliners: Pantyliners make for a great product to use on a daily basis too, especially when one is experiencing spotting or vaginal discharge prior to the arrival of their first period. Pantyliners are made to ensure that women feel fresh and clean each day despite the discharge or spotting fears. Make sure you convey the same to your students and help them understand how and when pantyliners can be used.
Once you have covered the basics of the period talk and your students know to approach you with any problem they might have, conveying the importance of hygienic sanitary practices comes into play.
Make sure you emphasize the importance of sanitary products from reliable and good brands. The right period products can truly help girl students feel confident and supported
Because of the kind of variety in the market, choosing the right kind of pad or tampon will go a long way in helping the students feel less insecure and conscious. Talk to them about the variety and recommend a few you know could be a good fit for them.
The sanitory pads must be changed after every 2-6 hours, especially if a person is experiencing a heavy flow. In little blood flow, never wear a pad for more than eight hours.
To dispose of the sanitary pad properly by wrapping and using a dustbin for disposal is a very crucial aspect of menstruation hygiene and must be strictly followed.
Put great emphasis on the importance of period hygiene, convey the importance of washing hands with soap prior and post changing pads/tampons.
Wearing comfortable and light garments is also vital. Tight thongs and fabric that make your skin sweaty will lead to infection and discomfort. It is best to wear cotton undergarments that will allow your skin to breathe when a person is undergoing their periods. Use of hot water bag is also recommended to get help in menstrual pains.
There is no need to use many soaps and vaginal washes, especially if they irritate the skin. Also, since the vagina has a self-cleaning mechanism, the use of additional cleaning products like washes and soaps is rarely needed or recommended.
There are two places that young girls spend most of their time in; their homes and their schools. Proper communication in both these environments can help girls have a smoother transition to adulthood when compared to girls who don’t have access to such communication channels.
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