By a caring parent
Like all parents, I love my children dearly and I miss them terribly when they are away at summer camp. I wait eagerly for their once weekly phone calls. I try to send them emails. I send packages. And I stalk the camp’s website often for pictures of my (hopefully) smiling, happy campers.
And then visiting day comes around…
For days before this crucial Sunday, I obsess as to whether my children will be scarred for life if we don’t make the over 7 hour journey to see them for 4 hours — when they left less than 2 weeks ago!
Yes, I miss my children. Yes, I would love to see them. But isn’t part of fostering independence and letting your child go, actually letting them go?
If your child is still struggling to acclimate by the time visiting day rolls around, then it’s better for them (and you) if you don’t see them. And if they are already acclimated and having the time of their lives –well then, let’s be honest here– they don’t need to see you.
According to some camp directors, if there is no visiting day, the staff won’t get tips and they’ll be forced to raise the pay which will result in an increase of camp fees for the parents.
Maybe 10 years ago that was the case. But today? If we can PayPal our kids’ canteen money, we can certainly PayPal tips as well. Or even send the money with our kids. In my experience, however, parents who want to tip, will find a way to do so, visiting day or not. And those who don’t tip… won’t, in any case.
There’s also the time and expense to take into account. The gas, tolls, food, not to mention time – all of this adds up, and not everyone can easily afford it. Some people fly in for visiting day. Others drive all day and most of the night. Still others sit on a hot, stuffy bus.
But is it really necessary?
Perhaps there could be a “visiting day” between trips if your child is there for both months. Or a set time to FaceTime or Skype for parents and their children.
Isn’t it time we explore the possibility of doing away with visiting day?