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.

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

Bravo’s “Extreme Guide to Parenting”

How would you describe your parenting style? Some parents will answer that question by stating that their parenting style is traditional, or conservative, or “old-school”. Others might explain their parenting style as “eclectic”. They take some ideas from how their parents raised them, and add in some new concepts that have become popular in the years since they were children. No matter what your parenting style happens to be, it is unlikely that it matches up with the parents on Bravo’s new TV show “Extreme Guide to Parenting”. Season one featured 10 different families whose parenting styles have been described … Continue reading

Fun Items for Frugal Dress Up Play

There is a quick and easy way to entertain your preschooler for at least half an hour or so. Let him or her play dress up! Preschoolers tend to love this activity because it lets them “become” someone else for a while. Dress up is a great opportunity for using one’s imagination. Here are some frugal ideas for dress up play. Old Costumes Previously worn Halloween costumes are great for playing dress up in. Your child can become a princess, a superhero, or both in the same day. Reuse the Halloween costumes that your older children wore by adding them … Continue reading

Your Child’s Name Could Impact His or Her Future

Would a Rose, by any other name, smell just a sweet? Perhaps Rose’s parents would think so. They obviously have very positive associations with the name that brings to mind a beautiful flower. Other people may not look upon her name quite so favorably. Research suggests that a person’s name shapes the course of his or her life. Parents have so many factors to consider when choosing a name for a new baby. Should you name the baby after a relative? Would a name that is currently cool be a good idea? How about a name that reflects your family’s … Continue reading