20 Tips for Parents to Ensure a Successful Visiting Day at Camp

summer camp

At the half-way mark of the summer camp season, parents travel from far and wide to visit their children for one day. This day is known as "visiting day" at sleepaway camp and it is an exciting day for both parents and children. The campers anxiously prepare by meticulously cleaning their bunks, brushing their hair (possibly the first time all summer) and picking out their visiting day outfits. Visiting Day morning is filled with anticipation and soon after breakfast the campers move towards the main gates of camp, hoping to see a glimpse of their parents holding bags and bags and bags of goodies brought from their favorite places at home.

Parents should consider many things when preparing and packing for visiting day. Don't embarrass, nag or disappoint your child this summer.

Here is a guide of some do's and don'ts:

  1. Remember your child's age when making your decision whether or not to run as fast as you can (holding shopping bags, lawn chairs and blankets) when the gates open so you can be the first parent to see your kid. Your 9-year-old will love it; your 14-year-old may never talk to you again.
  2. Account for traffic. Don't be the last parent there so your kid is left sitting with the camp owners while everyone else is eating cookies and giving the camp tour.
  3. Be prepared for appearance changes. Don't overreact to weight loss or gain. Don't ask your kid if she has been fed in the past 3 days and don't ask your son how many desserts he had for dinner. Also, don't try to give your son a mid-summer haircut.

  4. Don't tell your child who has been writing you tear-stained letters daily that she can come home only to change your mind and leave her at camp.

  1.  Don't introduce yourself to the parents of the boy your daughter told you she has a crush on. Don't even point and ask "is that him?" 

  2. Refrain from making comments on personal hygiene/cleanliness! Camp appearance standards are different than real world standards. Hemp necklaces are the coolest thing evah within these gates, no hating on the hemp, mom. 

  1. Don't bring perishable food or fruits. Hot. Sticky. Moldy. Gross. 

  2. No one needs to see you on the blob, Dad. Let's not create a scenario where there could be a medical emergency. 

  3. Don't complain about how dirty your kid's feet are and go through their clothes to make sure they still have socks and underwear. If you want to reorganize your kid's cubbies and fold their clothes, that may be allowed. 

  4.  Don't be a nag, You are there for one day only so do your best not to nit-pick about all the things you typically would. You sent your kid away so they could figure out how to do things on their own and be independent. Allow it.

  5. If your kid tells you that they are having the best time. Don't ask 10 more times. You are getting your money's worth...I promise.

  6. Keep the goodbyes short and sweet. Your kid may bring it back preschool style and hysterically cry or shoo you away before the day even ends. Be prepared for all possibilities.

  7. Spend time with your child. Don't get caught up in the parent v. waiter basketball game or spend all day talking to other parents. Your kid is excited to see you even if they won't admit it. 

  8. Don't show up with only six donuts and no other junk food. In other words, bring LOTS of junk food or you will look like a bad parent and your child will be embarrassed to not have a mound of candy and cookies on his bed like every other kid has. 

  1. Don't flirt with male counselors. Being called a MILF by the hot male waiter is not cool to your daughter. It's creepy.

  2. Don't ask the person acting as the camp cantor if your kid has been studying their bar/bat mitzvah Torah portion. 

  3. Dress code alert! Don't wear a skirt, high heels or anything else that could be viewed as "dressing up." Be prepared to walk and sit in dirty grass. 

  4. Keep the phone calls to a minimum. Don't make your children call other relatives while you are at camp. Spending the whole day calling Grandma and Uncle Jo and Aunt Sally is a total buzzkill.

  5. Keep the pictures to a minimum. Don't force your kid to pose with you for 20 pictures and then each bunk mate for 20 more. Also, don't make them take ridiculous action photos so you can show Grandma what a great time your kid is having at camp. 

  1. Don't sneak off of campgrounds if you aren't allowed. Visiting Day is not the time to relive your rebellious stage.

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