Research shows that free, unstructured play such as creating pretend games allows children to explore the world around them and teaches children to express themselves, developing key skills for adulthood such as decision making skills and self-confidence.
Child playtime being scheduled by parents means that children are not encouraged to ‘make up their own games’, such as climbing trees, making mud pies or simply having an imaginary friend.
Anisha Abraham is the Chief of Adolescent Medicine at Georgetown University Hospital says too much pressure can do harm to kids. Abraham told the Washington Post:
"Success is not about getting into the most elite school or college but about becoming a balanced, resilient and happy individual. Creating undue expectations and over scheduling can lead to anxiety and stress related problems in both adolescence and adulthood."
Parents Ask experts New York Times Lisa Belkin and authors Betsy Brown Braun and Eli Davidson discuss the perils of a generation of overscheduled kids and offer up strategies for finding the balance between too much and just enough. Check out the lively discussion over on ParentsAsk.com