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About Alex Bellamy

Here are my most recent posts

Picking the right camp this summer

Some of the best summer memories you ever had where from the days you spent whiling away the hours at camp. While some might use summer camp to get their kids out of the house for a week, most dads recognize that it can teach kids valuable life lessons that they'll remember for years to come. With the end of the school year fast approaching it's likely that you're turning your attention to finding the right summer camp.

According to a study launched by the ACA, around 96 percent of children said going to camp helped them make new friends, and 92 percent said it helped them feel good about themselves. But how do you choose which camp is best for your son or daughter? Do your research. Make some calls to various camps, check out websites online and consult with friends for their recommendations.

For a summer that's both constructive and enjoyable for your child, search for camps that cater to their interests and skills – there are camps that specialize in activities such as running, acting or math.

Once you've narrowed it down to your top pick, check out the camp's qualifications. First and foremost, make sure that it's accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA), and be sure to visit the camp ahead of time. There's no way to be certain the camp is right for your child if you haven't seen it firsthand. 

Being the second born may not be as glamorous as it seems

It's commonly thought that the younger of two siblings gets a better deal. The second time around, parents are likely to be more lax with the rules, better-equipped to deal with the challenges of parenting and there are more toys to go around – right? However, sometimes it's not so easy to follow in the footsteps of an older brother or sister, and dads who are aware of the family dynamics will likely be more able to cater to their sons or daughters' needs.

Sibling rivalry can be tough to handle, and that's especially true when the older sibling is a superstar. Whether it be athletically, academically or socially, having to contend with a talented older brother or sister can make younger siblings feel inadequate and affect their self-esteem. According to MSNBC.com, this is especially true for middle children as they often have to try harder to gain attention. Getting good grades or performing well in sports may the expected norm rather than worthy of praise.

Any dad who's had an older brother likely has horror stories about getting beat up or otherwise picked on. Sure, it can be nice having them around to look up to, but the nuggies, Charlie horses and wet Willies counteract any good will.

It's not just siblings that can be guilty of making life tough for the second-born either. He will always be thought of as baby of the family, regardless of how old he gets. Nothing is more annoying to a teenager than being talked down to. He may always be the youngest, but he won't always be young. 

How to tell if your kids are faking sick

It doesn't matter how old you are – sometimes we all wish we could take a personal sick day to relax, watch some daytime TV and eat some junk food. Even kids. Luckily you tried (and mastered) every trick in the book during your school days, so you can spot a fake chicken pock (red magic maker) or a false fever (thermometer to the light bulb), like nobody's business. This experience will continue to pay off, and if your youngsters attempt to finagle a sick day you'll be hip to their tricks.

1. Take him to the doctor. Never take him at his word. Unless he's very clearly ill (you know what we mean), the only way to be sure is a trip to the doctor. He would likely would rather go to school than get his temperature taken – the conventional way.

2. Start planning your day together. You two are both staying home, what a great way to bond! You can pay bills, watch landscaping shows on TV and listen to The Smiths. You know – things kids love.

3. Watch over him like a hawk. If he's too sick to go to school, then he's too sick to do anything remotely fun. Maybe he'll change his tune when faced with a day of constant supervision, chicken broth and flat ginger ale.
 

Top 3 education summer activities

The summer is rapidly approaching and before your know it your kids will be out of school. While you may be excited to spend more time with them, you might also be at a loss for ways to keep them entertained. Although staying in and enjoying the comfort of the air conditioner can be relaxing, not getting out and enjoying the weather would be a waste. After all, who knows how long until they don't want to hang out with you?

Your kid will be at the top of the class come September if you make summertime activities as educational as they are fun and engaging.

1. Start a garden. Encouraging a green thumb in your offspring has multiple benefits for both you. They get to learn a little about photosynthesis, geology and agriculture, as well as enjoy plenty of exercise and vitamin D. Plus, everyone gets to chow down on juicy tomatoes and fresh cucumbers after the harvest.

2. Visit a historic state park. If there is a historic state park in your town or city, they typically make for affordable and fun day trips. Many offer information on the growth of the area and are typically well-maintained and perfect for picnics, throwing a ball around or catching some sun. Be sure to check in on any guided tours that might be available before you head over.

3. Begin a star-watching project. Pick out a few stars that are sure to be visible from your home for the duration of the summer months, and learn about them together. Fun ways to plot stars' progress across the night skies include star charts or time-lapse photography projects. When September rolls around, your kids will have their materials as keepsakes and be able to school their peers in earth science class.  

Study: Young children may make parents less healthy

Results of a new study may make parents of young children think twice about stopping at McDonald's for a quick bite on the way home. Researchers found that moms and dads of youngsters tends to lead less healthy lifestyles than their peers who do not have children.

The study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, analyzed the habits of more than 1,500 adults with an average age of 25. The study found that the mothers of young children tend to eat more fatty foods than childless women, while fathers of young kids were more likely to get less physical activity.

The main culprit for the disparity is likely to be time. Easy-to-prepare foods are almost always less healthy than any alternatives, and with a great deal of time spent parenting, many dads find it difficult to squeeze exercise into their schedules. However researchers are quick to point out that the study is not meant to point fingers.

"This isn't a study about blame," co-author Jerica Berge told the Associated Press. "This is about identifying … a very high-risk time period."

The findings come soon after an additional study by the YMCA revealed that around 58 percent of children between 5 and 10 aren't getting enough physical activity, and spend less than four days a week playing outside.