Puberty info for children

Here are some helpful resources that you can look at with your child or teenager, or leave them to read in private. The pictures, in particular, can be a good way to get some of the information across.

Puberty and body changes

  • ChildLine’s website answers boys common questions about puberty and girls common questions about puberty.
  • The sexual health charity, FPA has a comic called 'Let's grow with Nisha and Joe' which is ideal for children aged six to seven. It uses pictures and activities to help them understand the differences between girls' and boys' bodies, and there's a page which labels parts of the body including 'penis' and 'vagina'. You can read the comic by downloading it before you buy.
  • starting periods, wet dreams, how to shave and so on, backed up with lots of colour illustrations and diagrams. The girls' book has a section about boys at the back, and vice versa.

Puberty, sex and relationships

  • 4You is a leaflet that explains body changes at puberty, sex and how babies are made, in a down-to-earth way. The pictures and language are quite graphic, so the information is probably best suited to slightly older children of 10 and above. You can read the leaflet by downloading it from the FPA's website but you can't print it out.
  • learning difficulties. Produced by the charity contraception. It also covers issues such as peer pressure and bullying, and gives children advice on how to cope. Read the leaflet online, or order a free copy from Contact a Family on 0808 808 3555, textphone 0808 808 3556 or email helpline@cafamily.org.uk.

Starting periods 

  • 'Periods - what you need to know' is an FPA leaflet that uses cartoons and speech bubbles to explain periods and how to use tampons and towels. Helpful for older girls who are just about to or have just started their periods.
  • 'Susan’s Growing Up’ is a picture book about periods specially developed for people with learning disabilities. It’s from the Books Beyond Words series from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
  • The easyhealth website has three leaflets on periods that are clear and well illustrated and ideal for explaining menstruation to anyone with learning difficulties. 'Help! I've started my period', 'What is that in my pants?' and 'What about tampons?' are all free to read online or to print out.
  • The Period Book: Everything You Don’t Want to Ask (But Need to Know) by Karen Gravelle, and published by Piatkus, is a well-known book for any girl approaching puberty. Written in a friendly, chatty style it explains what to expect and how to cope with periods, from what it feels like, to how to choose your form of protection and how to talk to your parents about it. Humorous cartoons throughout keep the tone light.

Read about talking to your child about starting periods.

What to eat at puberty

  • The Dairy Council’s leaflet ‘Get Healthy Feel Great’ is a fun, colourful guide for teenagers on healthy eating and other health issues.

Page last reviewed: 28/01/2014

Next review due: 28/01/2016

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Menstrual cycle: animation

This animation explains in detail how the menstrual cycle works.

Media last reviewed: 21/02/2013

Next review due: 21/02/2015

Starting periods

Tips for parents on when to talk to daughters (and sons) about periods and what to tell them

Puberty

Articles and videos all about puberty, including tips to help parents prepare their children, and common Q&As