Are We Overscheduling Young Children?
Are We or Aren’t We Overscheduling Young Children
In the last year, I feel as if there is once again a conversation among educators and parents about how much is too much when scheduling young children. In March, CNN’s Josh Levs wrote a piece about “Overschedule Kids, Harried Parents” in which he questioned whether or not we are “making childhood too stressful for kid.”
The overscheduling of young children is not only problematic, but it has (unfortunately) grown into an epidemic. On the one hand, I understand the benefits because I, too, learned so many lifelong lessons through the activities that I participated in after school during my childhood. I learned how to collaborate, share, to be creative, and to take risks in and outside of school. On the other hand, I worry about children who are overscheduled and when they will have time to process, ponder, wonder, or explore the new things they have learned.
I love the idea that Josh puts forward that “parents need to teach their kids to balance human doing with human being.” I suppose this idea truly resonates with me because I attribute the many skills that I have obtained in my life to the balance that my parents created for me: balance between home and school as well as many opportunities outside of school. His idea that children should grow to be able “to do” while also “being” good people is not revolutionary; however, it can be a tough concept when you want to provide the best for your child.
Ultimately, I would not suggest that parents never sign their kids up for after school activities/programs; however, I would suggest they think about doing so in moderation. Being okay at four things is not like mastering one thing very well. There are no easy answers (and every child is different) so my best advice is to strive for a healthy balance. Check out Josh Levs’ article here for yourself. tlb