Over-Scheduled Kids: Are All of These "Classes" Necessary?

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Everything we've decided are "Musts" for parents to provide for their children now -- are they really Musts? Is it necessary to take a child to classes and groups he'll have no recollection of? Is scheduling playdates necessary aside from maintaining Mom's sanity? And furthermore, why are we scheduling play?

Were all of these activities borne out of the heavy partitioning of our global village, our inaccessibility to (or lack of desire to interact with) other families? Do they serve to supplement natural interactions that no longer take place? Do they replace the world in which we freely went outside to play? (Do we still even go outside to play?) Or have we taken this all one step further, attempting to head normal human development off at the pass?

I struggle with this issue now more than ever, as there's indirect pressure to attend "Mommy and Me" classes, music groups, and playdates. Is there satisfaction when parents lie down at night, knowing their children participated in an activity that day? Because my personal parenting instinct doesn't lead me in this direction.

Will my children participate in these activities before it's "too late?" The jury's still out on that one. Will my proposed participation inevitably give way to dance on Tuesday, karate on Thursday, and Boy Scouts on the weekend? I don't know. What I do know, though, is that I, and largely, we, didn't have these options or pressures when we were young. And, though I imagine there are clear benefits from raising a child this new, fast-paced, action-packed, socially acceptable manner, I really don't think we're any worse for the wear.


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