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.

Strength-Based Parenting

There are a wide variety of parenting styles to choose from. Parents can choose to raise their kids with the parenting style that they were raised with. Or, if they want something different, they can select a parenting style that matches their values and the needs of their kids. One option is called strength-based parenting. Lea Waters is the chair of positive psychology at University of Melbourne. She has written a book called “The Strength Switch”. The full title continues with “How The New Science of Strength-Based Parenting Can Help Your Child and Your Teen to Flourish”. The book is … Continue reading

Report: Instagram is the Worst App for Young People’s Mental Health

A report titled #StatusOfMind was done by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH). They surveyed 1,500 young people about social media. Of the five social media platforms that were included in the survey, Instagram was found to have the worst effect on young people’s mental health. The #StatusOfMind report examined both the positive, and the negative, effects that social media has on young people’s health. The report included Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat. The report asked 1,500 young people, who were between the ages of 14 and 24 to rank what extent different social media platforms impacted certain … Continue reading

Summer Reading Programs for Kids

It has been said that kids can “lose” some of what they learned during the school year if they don’t practice those skills while on summer vacation. Summer reading programs can inspire kids to read books during the months when school is out. Your child could benefit from participating in a Summer reading program. Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program This Summer reading program began in May and will end on September 5, 2017. Children need to fill out a Summer Reading Journal (which can be printed from the Barnes & Noble website in English or in Spanish). Kids must … Continue reading

Grounding Teens from Social Media May Harm Them

Have you ever grounded your teen from social media as a form of negative consequence for bad behavior? A new study indicates that while there are benefits for teens who voluntarily take a break from social media, those benefits do not extend to teens who have been forced off of it. Teens grounded from social media can experience more anxiety than parents may realize. A study from The Associated Press and NORC at the University of Chicago surveyed 790 American teens age 13 to 17 about their social media, messaging, and video content habits. The goal of the study was … Continue reading

MTA Begins Pilot Program to Help Pregnant Commuters

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has launched a pilot program designed to encourage customers to offer pregnant, disabled, and senior riders a seat. The program is modeled after a program that has been used in London. It will be the first program of its kind in the United States. MTA already provides disabled customers with “priority seating” on busses and trains. While riders are required to relinquish seats in those areas under federal regulations and MTA rules of conduct, new courtesy buttons can help riders better identify which customers need seats. The campaign also encourages customers, as a matter of … Continue reading

The Most Popular Baby Names of 2016

Every year, the Social Security Administration releases a list of the most popular baby names from the previous year. There is a list for names given to baby girls, and another list of names given to baby boys. In general, the lists change – even if only slightly – from one year to the next. The Social Security Administration uses specific qualifications regarding the names that end up on the list. Names are restricted to cases where the year of birth, sex, and State of birth (50 and District of Columbia) are on record, and where the given name is … Continue reading

AAP Recommends No Juice Before Age 1

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a recommendation about the amount of juice children should consume. In general, the recommendations might be less than what you are currently giving your child. An AAP policy statement issued in 2001 (and reaffirmed in 2006) recommended no juice for children younger than 6 months of age. The same statement recommended 4-6 ounces of juice daily for children ages 1-6, and 8-12 ounces for children 7 or older. Those recommendations have now been revised. Part of the reason for the change is due to considerable concern about increasing obesity rates and risks … Continue reading

Everything Parents Need to Know About Fidgets

There’s a new fad that is taking over classrooms of all age groups. Students are playing with toys called “fidgets” while they are in class. Parents need to know that there is a constructive purpose for using a fidget – at least, for some students. Fidgets are all the rage now, but the concept isn’t new. The fidgets that are popular right now are small toys that spin. CNN described them this way: A fidget spinner is considered to be a type of fidget toy; a low profile, handheld device that people can, well, fidget with without making a big … Continue reading

Things to Know About the New School Lunch Rules

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) changed the rules about the School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. This could affect your child, if he or she eats the breakfast or lunch that is served at their school. Here are some things to know about the new school lunch rules. The changes to the School Lunch Program, and the School Breakfast Program, were issued in a proclamation given by United States Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, on May 1, 2017. Parents need to know is that these changes will take effect in starting in the 2017-2018 school year. The proclamation … Continue reading

FDA Warns of Dangers of Codeine and Tramadol for Children

The Food and Drug Administration has posted a safety announcement that warns parents of the dangers of giving children codeine pain and cough medicines and tramadol pain medicines. This warning includes a recommendation that women who are breastfeeding not use codeine or tramadol. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued this safety warning in April of 2017. It is an update to two previous safety warnings. One was an evaluation of potential risks of codeine cough and cold medicines in children that was issued in 2015. Another was an evaluation of the risk of using tramadol in children aged 17 … Continue reading