A period bag is something that every tween girl should have. Preferably before they have their first period.
But what sort of bag do you get? What do you put inside it and how do you get your tween to actually put it in her school bag?
You’ll find more information about puberty (and periods) in my Puberty 101 page.
Please note that this article contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here.
A period bag is simply, a bag that contains the daily supplies that you need for a menstrual period. So you might put it in your school bag, or overnight bag if you go on a sleepover or camping trip, or if you are heading out for the day.
That’s up to you but there are a few basics that it does need to hold. You can buy bags with stuff already inside them but making up your own DIY period kit is actually quite easy.
It needs to contain 2-3 pads, spare underwear (in case of staining), hand sanitiser or wipes (just in case she needs to clean herself up or her hands before leaving the toilet cubicle), and a plastic bag to put used pads in (just in case she can’t access a toilet with a special disposal bin). This blogpost talks about what can go inside a DIY period kit.
In regards to the actual products that you use, there are many different period products that are suitable for girls. You can use disposable pads, tampons, cloth pads, menstrual cups (like the ones from JuJu) and even period pants. My favourite brand for period pants are the ones by Modibodi. Their range of period pants for tween and teen girls is smaller sized, which means it will actually fit your daughter.
Your daughter needs a period bag for a number of reasons.
Waiting for your first period can be hard, and many girls worry that their first period will start at school or when they are away from home. And because they have never had a period before they don’t really know what to expect. So having period supplies made up into a period bag, means that they don’t have to worry about being caught unprepared. They can’t control when their first period will start but at least they can be prepared.
It also gives your tween girl the opportunity to get comfortable with menstrual pads. Take her shopping with you and buy some. Or buy a couple of different packets of pads – with wings, without wings, light flow, overnight – and open them up with her. Cloth pads or period underwear are also an option and much friendlier for the environment. Get your daughter to try putting the pad inside a pair of underpants, and to walk around with it in place for the afternoon. Together you can also watch some of the videos on my Tween Talk Channel for tweens, where I talk about the different types of products and why you might want to use them.
It is also a wonderful opportunity to start talking with your daughter about periods and to spend some one-on-one time together. This also reminds her that she can come to you with any questions that she might have. If you’re not sure about how to start talking with your daughter about puberty, then my book for parents may help you with getting started. Girl Puberty: How to talk about puberty and sex with your tween girl is a straightforward common sense book for parents on how to talk about puberty and sex with their tween girl (8-13).
Now, if reading isn’t your thing, you can find my period bag video just below, where I talk about what makes an ideal period bag.
So how do you know which bag to get? Well, the bag needs to be small enough for her to easily carry but large enough to hold everything.
Plus your daughter needs to be able to sit on a toilet and open it up without spilling everything on the floor, and then manage to place a pad inside her underwear. And she will have her ‘L Plates’ ie she will be a learner and a little more clumsy than you would be.
My favourite choice are the bags from Raigan J, which are designed to hold your everyday essentials. It is a Raigan J bag that is pictured up the top of this blogpost. Now, I’m not an affiliate of these bags ie I don’t make any money by telling you about them. I just like them and when I find something that can make your daughters period life a whole lot easier, then of course I am going to share it!
So why do I like these bags? Well, there are a number of things that I like about them. I like the zippered compartments, so you can pack things into their own special place and they won’t fall out everywhere. My daughter likes this part because it also makes it more discrete. She has had friends see her bag, say how cute it is and then grab it and start opening it up to look inside.
I also like the fact that the bag opens up (like a book) which means that you can balance it on your lap whilst sitting on the toilet. Which means that it is easy to dive inside it and pull things out. The period kit that I usually use for a sample is a cute cloth bag and it holds just the bare essentials, but it is a tight fit. Oneday I decided to test it out for myself in the bathroom! Oh boy, what a challenge it was, to get a pad out, to then open it and to put it in place and to then dispose of the old pad WITHOUT dropping anything and keeping it all balanced on my lap! It was a challenge. The joy of the Raigan J bag is that you can easily access what you need without dropping it all on the floor. Let’s just say, using the Raigan J bag was a whole lot easier in the bathroom.
What I really like though is the fact that you can hang the bag up. Which means that once you get out what you need, you can just hang the bag up, leaving your hands free. You can hang it off the back of the toilet door, off the door handle or even the toilet roll holder. Which means you can have your hands free whilst changing your pad.
A lot of thought has gone into the design of the Raigan J bags. Which means that it is perfect for periods. Plus she has a new fun range out that is more affordably priced for tweens and teens. And starting next week, I will have 5 of these to give away! My daughter now uses the banana one, and absolutely loves it. Her friends do too, as the bag does receive a lot of comments!
Have you heard that saying? You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Well, sometimes, it can feel a bit like that, when your daughter is resistant to carrying her period bag with her.
So you’ll need to start talking about puberty and periods a lot more. Give her time to get used to the fact that periods will be happening for her soon. You could suggest that even if she doesn’t need it just yet, that maybe one of her friends might need something from it. Feedback from parents is that once girls start to experience some physical puberty changes eg pubic hair and breasts, or their friends start talking about their periods, that they are then more open to packing their period bag in their school bag.
My puberty book for parents, Girl Puberty: How to talk about puberty and sex with your tween girl, will help you with getting started. There are also some fantastic puberty books for girls that you could give her with her period bag.
I'm Cath, a sex educator living in Australia with my husband and 2 kids. I help parents to talk about sex (with less cringe and more confidence) and to empower their child to make smart sexual decisions. You can join my online parent support group here and visit my shop for helpful resources.