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.

How to Survive the Holidays with Social Anxiety

The holidays are hectic. While some people do enjoy being extra busy, and more social than typical, those kinds of experiences are difficult for those who have social anxiety. One cannot simply opt-out of all social gatherings. Here are some tips to help people who have social anxiety survive the holidays. WebMD says that social anxiety disorder is also called social phobia. They describe it as “an anxiety disorder in which a person has an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations.” A person with social anxiety disorder is afraid that he or she will make mistakes, look bad, be … Continue reading

Sensory-Friendly Santa – At a Mall Near You

One of the fun parts of the holiday season is a trip to visit Santa Claus at the local mall. It can be hard for many little ones to wait in line – but most manage to do it. Children who have autism, or who have difficulties coping with the bright lights, loud sounds, and big crowds that surround Santa can visit a Sensory-Friendly Santa. A Sensory-Friendly Santa might also be called a Sensitive Santa or a Caring Santa. Santa looks the same, but is able to behave differently than typical in order to accommodate for kids who have special … Continue reading

Tips for Coping with Politics on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving can be stressful all by itself. Things can get even worse when a presidential election happens a few weeks before Thanksgiving day. Some of your relatives might want to talk about politics. Here are some tips for coping with political discussions on Thanksgiving. Make a conscious effort not to talk about the election at Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t ask your relatives who they voted for. Stay away from topics that were especially controversial during the election. Thanksgiving dinner is not the time to wear a political t-shirt, button, or hat that came from the campaign of the candidate you voted … Continue reading

Changing Stations are Coming to Men’s Bathrooms

  At home, either parent can easily change their baby’s diaper. Outside of the home, moms will find a changing table in almost every bathroom. Men’s bathrooms, however, often lack changing tables. The BABIES Act will put changing tables into more men’s bathrooms across the country. There was a time when the social norm was moms changed diapers and dads did almost no childcare. Today, it is normal for both moms and dads to do hands on childcare with their babies. Years ago, I would see a mom out pushing a stroller or carrying her baby in a sling. Today, … Continue reading

Be More Compassionate at Work

People who are under a great deal of stress tend to forget to be nice to their coworkers. This is a very human reaction to being tense, overwhelmed, or scared about the future. One way to make your workplace less awful is to be more compassionate at work. If you really don’t feel like it – then it is even more important that you rediscover your compassion. Times are tough. You and your coworkers might be struggling to finish a big project in the days before its deadline. There might be quotas that each worker must achieve. Someone calls in … Continue reading

Why Some Parents are Unschooling Their Kids

Unschooling is a form of homeschooling that involves less structure and more child-centered learning. Parents who are unhappy with the way that learning is presented at schools have been turning to the unschooling movement as their solution for what their child’s education should be like. Unschooling has some similarities with homeschooling. In both cases, a child stays home and receives his or her education there (instead of in a classroom at a school). Each educational style allows parents to be very involved in what their child is taught. Parents can set the speed that information is presented in order to … Continue reading

Anti-Vaccination Mom Changed Mind After Her 3 Kids Got Sick

Vaccinations prevent people from catching dangerous diseases. Vaccines also can help stop the spread of a disease. There are schools that require students to have their vaccinations before the student can attend school. A mom who was anti-vaccinations has changed her mind after her three children got sick. Kristen O’Meara has three daughters, all of whom are under the age of seven. She chose not to vaccinate her daughters because she was a big believer in anti-vaccination research. O’Meara said she actively sought out anti-vaccination research and books and presumed that they were accurate. Anti-vaccination research has been proven flawed. … Continue reading

Sit With Us App – No One Has to Eat Lunch Alone!

The most difficult part of the school day for many teens and tweens is lunch time. That may sound strange, until you realize that the social aspects of school lunchroom can be absolutely brutal. No one wants to be stuck sitting alone at lunch – looking like an outcast. A new app can help solve this problem. Sit With Us is a mobile app that is designed to promote a kinder and more inclusive school community. It is currently available on the App Store. The main idea behind this app is that the first step toward a warmer, more inclusive, … Continue reading

Halloween Events for Kids

Your kids might be super excited about celebrating Halloween. While some Halloween events are specifically geared for children, there are others that might be too scary for little ones to attend. Here is a list of some kid-friendly Halloween events that are taking place this year. Disney Store Halloween Dress Rehearsal Event The Disney Store near you might be having a Halloween Dress Rehearsal Event. Children must be at least three years of age in order to participate. Kids are to arrive dressed in their favorite Disney character costume. The event will take place on Friday, October 5, 2016, between … Continue reading

Tips for Getting Toddlers to Eat Veggies

Toddlers can be very fussy at times, especially when it comes to food. This can pose a problem for parents who want their picky toddlers to eat healthy vegetables. Here are some tips for getting toddlers to eat veggies. An interesting study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study found that toddlers make decisions on what foods to eat, and what foods to avoid, based on social cues. In other words, if everyone else is avoiding the veggies – your toddler will do the same. On the other hand, if your toddler sees that … Continue reading