About Jen Thorpe

I have a B.S. in Education and am a former teacher and day care worker. I started working as a freelance writer in 2010 and have written for many topics here at Families.com.

Banning Chocolate Milk Doesn’t Improve Nutrition

Parents who had children in several schools in Oregon noticed what they viewed as a problem. The kids were much more likely to drink chocolate milk than they were to drink white milk. The parents believed that banning the chocolate milk would force the kids to start drinking more white milk. Instead, things did not work out as planned. It is safe to say that the parents in the school district’s PTA meant well. They were hoping to make changes that would provide better nutrition for the students. They believed that removing the chocolate milk, and only offering white milk, … Continue reading

AAP Recommends Some Schools Start Later

Having trouble getting your teenager to get up and prepare for school in the morning? There is a reason why that it happening – and it isn’t entirely your teen’s fault. Some of it has to do with developmental biology. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is recommending that the start time of the school day be later for middle schools and high schools. The purpose is to combat sleep deprivation in teens. The AAP published a new policy statement in August of 2014. They are recommending that schools delay the start time of class until 8:30 in the morning … Continue reading

Parenting Techniques Outside of the United States

The things that you consider to be typical parenting techniques might seem strange to people who live outside of the United States. Likewise, some of what parents in other countries do may seem weird to parents here. It’s all a matter of perspective. What works well for parents in one place might not be acceptable to do in other places. NPR has an article titled Global Parenting Habits that Haven’t Caught On In the U.S.. It was written by Emily Lodish and posted on August 12, 2014. In it, she points out some parenting techniques that are commonly practiced in … Continue reading

The Family Dinner Project Promotes Family Unity

Does your family sit down together every night for dinner? Many families are in the habit of parking themselves in front of the TV as they eat dinner. Those families are missing out on a great opportunity to connect with each other. The Family Dinner Project has some excellent advice about why eating dinner together as a family is so important. The About Page at The Family Dinner Project has an summary of why families really need to have dinner together. It says: Over the past 15 years, research has shown what parents have known for a long time: Sharing … Continue reading

How to Set Up a Homework Space

The new school year is upon us. Your kids are likely to have at least a little bit of homework to do after school. Many parents find it difficult to convince their children to sit down and do their homework. One thing that can make the situation a little less stressful, and more productive, is to set up a homework space. It is easy to see why kids and teens don’t enjoy doing their homework. They just spent their whole day at school trying to learn things that are new to them, working on projects and papers, and practicing the … Continue reading

What to do When Other People’s Kids are Unsafe

Most parents are very careful and cautious with their children. They put in a great deal of effort to keep their children out of dangerous situations. Sometimes though, things happen and a child could wind up in a situation that is not at all good. What can you do when you see that a child, who is not yours, is unsafe? Here are some suggestions about what to do. A Child Has Been Left in a Car There are a lot of parents who will tell you that they would never leave their child in car (especially on a hot … Continue reading

Tips for Becoming a More Empathetic Parent

No one every said that being a parent would always be easy. There will be times when your child’s behavior frustrates you (or makes you angry). Many people “lose their cool” when they feel stressed and overwhelmed. Children need parents who are empathic to their needs. Here are some tips to help you become a more empathic parent. There is an article in the Huffington Post titled “How to Be an Empathetic Parent, Even When It Feels Hard”. It was written by Andrea Nair. She is a psychotherapist and parenting educator who teaches people how to be empathetic. In her … Continue reading

Quick Activities for Self Care

Many parents are looking forward to the start of a new school year. Keep in mind that back-to-school comes with hectic mornings, help with homework, and the enforcement of a bedtime routine (that may have lapsed over the summer). It is important for parents to take a little time for self care while the kids are at school. Here are a few simple ideas to start with. The Living Self-Care website says that moms and dads that take care of themselves first will have more to offer to their children (and to the rest of the world). Self-care doesn’t have … Continue reading

Exercise and Diet Together Help Weight Loss

Thinking about losing some weight? You’ve probably found tons of advice that suggests how to do that. Some of it might contradict the other pieces of advice. Those of you who are confused about what the best plan for weight loss is may want to consider what a recent study found. It turns out you need to focus on both exercise and diet together. A Stanford study about weight gain and obesity was making the rounds on the internet recently. The lead author of the study was Dr. Uri Ladabaum, a Stanford gastroenterologist. In short, he describes the results as … Continue reading

Why Regular Exercise is Important for Kids

Many of us realize that it is a good idea to get some exercise. Adults tend to think of exercise as a way to lose weight or tone up muscle. It turns out that getting regular exercise is more beneficial than randomly exercising done every so often. This is true for both adults and children. Are your kids getting the regular exercise? The Mayo Clinic points out that the health benefits of getting regular exercise and physical activity are “hard to ignore”. Of course, some exercise is better than none at all. However, if you want to get the most … Continue reading