Overscheduled Children: How Big a Problem?

The New York Times:

Now that the school year is under way, my wife and I are busy managing our children’s after-school schedules, mixing sports practices, music lessons, homework and play dates. It can be a complicated balancing act for our elementary-age daughters, as some days end up overstuffed, some logistically impossible, some wide open. Still, compared to when we were children, the opportunities they get to sample on a weekly basis is mind-blowing.

There’s only one problem: To absorb the conventional wisdom in parenting circles these days, what we’re doing to our children is cruel, overbearing and destructive to their long-term well-being. For years now, a consensus has been emerging that a subset of hard-driving, Ivy-longing parents is burdening their children with too many soccer tournaments, violin lessons and cooking classes. A small library of books has been published with names like “The Over-Scheduled Child,” “The Pressured Child,” “Pressured Parents, Stressed-Out Kids” and so on.

Suniya Luthar, a psychology professor at Columbia, has done extensive studies on the role of extracurricular activities in children’s lives. She stressed that the number of activities is not the problem.

“It’s good for kids to be scheduled,” she said. “It’s good for them to have musical activities, sports or other things organized and supervised by an adult.”

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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