When do we start talking to our children about pelvic floor and bladder health? In reality, probably not as often as we should and usually only when something is 'wrong'.
Proactive, healthy conversations about our bladder health and the importance of maintaining a strong pelvic floor don't need to wait - you are never too young to learn why and how we do pelvic floor exercises!
Not only that, it's through these intergenerational conversations that we remove stigma too, and normalise topics that are often taboo in society. By being open with our children at a young age, we can encourage body-positive discussions and help them to be open and knowledgeable about bladder health as they get older. You'll find some tips at the end of the article to get the conversation flowing with your kids!
To find out what they know before we tackle these discussions, we asked Mums and Grandmothers in our community to ask their children 'What is a pelvic floor' and the answers were SO brilliant, we had to share!
Olive replied: “I think a pelvic floor is a floor like a magic floor and it holds your body in so your poop doesn’t fall out”
Hannah says “Olive is so inquisitive but she has an enormous imagination, there’s always some element of magic so I wasn’t surprised by her answer!”
Harry replied: “I think a pelvic floor is easy to know because it’s what you squeeze when you need a wee”
Dana says “Ha! What a response, I’m so proud! I do feel it’s important that we talk openly about how our bodies work but this came up in a conversation a little while ago when he asked how you stop and start your wee! Good to see it’s sunk in!”
Ted replied: “Yes yes I know what it is, because it’s this bit on the front of my Vulva XC90”
Kate says “We have a Volvo XC90, and I think I have a lot work to do here!”
Elspeth replied: “Is that where we go when we go to soft play, you know in the bit where the snacks are and you have a cup-of-chino? I like the rice cakes there”
Gina says “Ironically soft play is where my pelvic floor has been tested the most since having Elspeth and her brother, so that feels apt”
Poppy replied: “Is a pelvic the bit in your neck? You know when you do a funny face and your neck goes funny”
Karen says: “Oh this girl makes me laugh so much! I realised that I don’t ever think I spoke about this to her mum either when she was little - and I’ve no idea why! Stigma is a funny thing, isn’t it?”
Anya replied: “I dunno. Daddy, what’s a 'pelvinc' floor?”
Matt (Dad): “Ask your mum!”
Skie says: “I’m more concerned Matt doesn’t seem to know! I think we’ll be having some interesting conversations as a family over the next few nights!”
Lily replied: “Is a pelvic floor what keeps the baby inside of you? Mummy has a baby in her tummy, it’s going to be my little brother and I can’t wait for him to be born.”
Mel says: “We’ve been talking a lot about the baby and Lily has had so many questions - including how the baby stays inside my body, so it’s been interesting to say the least!”
Niamh replied: “I don’t know what it is but I know my mum does some exercises for it and she says ‘SQUEEZE’ and then we know she’s doing it. She does them in the car when we are at the traffic lights and her face goes red when she does it. She says she has to do it so her wee doesn’t come out all the time which would be weird”.
Chrissie says: “Oh god, I can’t stop laughing, I had no idea they paid so much attention! I can’t believe she thinks my face goes red - other drivers must see and I think I’m mad!”
Be clear about what it is, and where it is in our bodies.
ie. You can explain that the pelvic floor muscles are located between the tailbone (coccyx) and the pubic bone within the pelvis. A bit like a hammock! They support the bowel and bladder (as well as the uterus and vagina in females)
Use pictures and explain by pointing to your own body or by using a book like 'Pelvic PT for me!'.
Use language they understand and focus on the function. Kids love to talk about wee and poop!
Share how they can find their own pelvic floor by ‘stopping their pee mid-flow’, or ‘holding a fart’ - we reckon this could cause some giggles!
Share how they can do pelvic floor exercises, you are never too young to learn!
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