Every young girl worries about her first menstrual period. What is it going to be like? What supplies do I need? How do I put in a tampon? Having honest conversations with your daughter is the best way to prepare her for her period. Once she has started her period and feels she is ready to try tampons, there are a few important steps to show her.
Talk to your daughter about the different parts of her body. Show her either by using illustrations you can find on sex education websites, such as plannedparenthood.org, or by giving her a mirror and letting her explore herself in privacy. The most important detail in this discussion is which hole to insert the tampon into. Show her the difference between the anus (the hole farthest back where feces exit the body), the vagina (the hole in the middle where the tampon will be inserted) and the urethra (the hole where urine exits the body).
Unwrap a tampon and show it to her. Instruct her to throw away the wrapper, not flush it down the toilet. You will want to show her the top of the tampon (the rounded cotton part) and the bottom (where the string hangs down). If the tampon has an applicator, show her how to push the smaller tube through the outer tube up so the tampon comes out. Throw away this tampon.
Show your daughter the insert from the tampon package and go through each illustration with her to help her see more clearly how a tampon is inserted.
Let her experiment on her own. Give her the package insert and coach her from outside the bathroom.
Tell her to first wash her hands and then sit down as though she were going to use the toilet. She should unwrap the tampon and grip the applicator in the middle, where the top and bottom tubes meet. There is usually a ridge at this point on the applicator.
Tell her to relax (as much as possible--this is a stressful "first" for most girls). Most girls like to sit on the toilet with their knees apart, but others prefer to stand with one foot on the toilet seat.
Holding the applicator between her middle finger and her thumb, she now places the tip of the tampon at the opening of her vagina. Instruct her to point the tampon at her lower back and to slide the applicator slowly and gently into her vagina until her fingers reach the opening.
Instruct your daughter to push the smaller tube of the applicator through the outer tube (the way you showed her in step three) to release the tampon into her body. She should now see the string hanging from the opening, and the tampon is in place.
Ask her if she would like to remove the tampon now and try another one or would like to wait until later. Either way, you want to instruct her on how to remove the tampon by gently pulling down on the string. This should be easy for her to do. Tell her about proper disposal (either flushing the tampon or wrapping it in toilet paper and throwing it away).
If you or your daughter is very uncomfortable talking about this issue, try exploring BeingGirl.com, a resource created by Tampax that has instructional videos on how to insert tampons.
Make sure your daughter understands the importance of removing tampons every four to six hours and does not leave a tampon in between periods. You should also discuss the symptoms of TSS (toxic shock syndrome) with her whenever she begins using tampons.