Are Our Children Really Overscheduled?
There’s a really interesting article on Time Magazine’s site about the myth of overscheduled children. Obviously, calling it a myth means that they’re challenging the notion.
I will admit, I do tend to be concerned that kids don’t have time to be kids. I believe in a sensible amount of activities combined with time for children to just have fun being kids.
However, the article points out that some of the concern may be more that parents are tired of running around all the time taking their kids from activity to activity and want their children’s activities to be more like the ones they themselves grew up with.
I understand the point about a carefree childhood being a modern invention rather than something children have had throughout history. You don’t have to look back that far at all to find it being the norm for children to work alongside their parents as soon as possible.
However, I think there is a difference. In those times children worked with their parents and learned the skills they would very likely use as adults. Used to be very common for there to be little social mobility, and so in working with their parents children learned valuable life skills.
But when parents overschedule, the biggest danger that I can see is that children get pushed toward their parents’ dreams in many cases. Maybe it’s an overemphasis on academics or sports or some other activity, but how many of these activities are going to so much as be a hobby to the adult?
As a parent, I’m all for letting kids explore their interests through a variety of scheduled activities. There are some great benefits such as time with friends, physical and mental activity, and often very happy children. I think overscheduling is more of a problem for kids if their own interests are neglected.