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.

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

The Hazards of Distracted Parenting

Humans can become distracted every now and again. Parents are only human and cannot be hyper focused on their children every second. There is a difference from a moment of distraction and a pattern of it. Be aware of the hazards of distracted parenting. It has become common for people to spend time looking at the screens of their smartphones while they are outside. Some people are recording video, and taking photos, to preserve memories. Smartphones make it easy to share a fun trip to the zoo with a grandmother who lives far away. That scenario can be fun way … Continue reading

Google Surveyed Teens About What’s Cool

What brands does your teenager think are cool? Google surveyed over 1,000 teens that are part of Generation Z in an effort to find out what people of this age group think is cool. They put the results together in a project called “It’s Lit – A Guide to What Teens Think is Cool”. Generation Z includes people who were born between the mid-1990s to early 2000s. However, Google chose to focus their research on 13-17 year olds. The teenagers were asked to rank 122 brands based on how cool each brand is. According to the teens who took part … Continue reading

Social Media was Not Designed for Tweens

Your tween may be bothering you, night and day, begging to be allowed to have their own social media accounts. Parents need to realize that social media was not designed for tweens. Despite what your tween may tell you, it is unlikely that everyone at their school is on social media. Social Media is for Age 13 and Up Facebook requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account. Twitter has advice for parents of teenagers who want to get their own Twitter account. That advice is not directed at tweens. Tumblr requires everyone … Continue reading

Best Places to Raise a Family – 2017

Parents want the very best for their children. They want their family to live in a place that is safe, healthy, and filled with opportunities. WalletHub evaluated each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine what the best (and worst) states to raise a family are. Here is a look at the very best states to raise a family in. WalletHub’s data team compared the 50 states (and District of Columbia) based on 40 key indicators of family-friendliness. Some of those criteria included “median family salary”, “housing affordability”, and “unemployment rate”. From there, they grouped criteria … Continue reading

The Slime Craze is Causing a Glue Shortage

Has your child taken a sudden interest in slime? It seems to be the newest, hottest, trend among children, tweens, and even some teenagers. The slime craze is so popular that it is causing craft stores to run out of glue. Slime is a homemade substance that can be made in any color. It starts out sticky and becomes a gelatinous substance that can be pulled, stretched and squished. There are plenty of recipes and photos of slime on Pinterest. A pastel rainbow colored version is called “unicorn poop.” Some kids are making slime that corresponds to a holiday (such … Continue reading

How the News Affects Kids

Parents who have been paying attention to the news may find themselves experiencing a range of emotional reactions to it. What parents may not realize is that their kids may also have been reading the news. Common Sense Media has a report that gives insight into how the news affects kids. Common Sense Media is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. They help empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, and to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ … Continue reading

Some Teens are Having Bariatric Surgery

Teenagers who are obese might have the option of having bariatric surgery. Previously, this type of weight loss surgery was only offered to adults. Although it isn’t the best choice for every teenager, there are some teens who can greatly benefit from it. The New York Times reported in February of 2017 that the number of adolescents who are overweight or obese has leveled off in recent years. But the number who are severely obese – heavy enough to qualify for bariatric surgery – has nearly doubled from 1999 to 2014. Previously, 5.2 percent of adolescents were severely obese. That … Continue reading