How being over-scheduled affects kids

Watch Denise Pope, PhD's video on How being over-scheduled affects kids...
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How being over-scheduled affects kids

Kids today are really over scheduled. What we are seeing is little kids who go to ballet and music. They are going to tutoring, enrichment, or Spanish class; and they have very little free time. We see older kids who are also over schedules. Athletes that are spending a tremendous amount of hours per week doing their sport or a million different extracurricular activities. Here's the issue: Both young kids and older kids need free, unstructured time to play. In fact, the most important thing you can do for your younger kid is to cut out the extracurricular activities except for one or two. What they need is as much time unscheduled, as time that's scheduled. When they are over scheduled, they get tired, they get cranky, and they don't get to do their job; which is creative, free, kid directed play. With older kids, when they are over scheduled, there is not time for homework. There is not time for friends and social time; which is very important for middle school and high school kids. There's no time to reflect on who it is that they really want to be. Everything is scheduled for them, they don't have time for their own life. At both ends of the spectrum, younger kids and the older kids; they need the time to play. What that looks like for older kids and younger kids looks different, but they both need free, unstructured, kid driven time.

Watch Denise Pope, PhD's video on How being over-scheduled affects kids...


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Denise Pope, PhD

Senior Lecturer & Author

Denise Pope, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer at the Stanford University School of Education. For the past 13 years, she has specialized in student engagement, curriculum studies, qualitative research methods, and service learning. She is co-founder of Challenge Success, a research and intervention project that aims to reduce unhealthy pressure on youth and champions a broader vision of youth success. Challenge Success is an expanded version of the SOS: Stressed-Out Students project that Dr. Pope founded and directed from 2003-2008. She lectures nationally on parenting techniques and pedagogical strategies to increase student health, engagement with learning, and integrity. Her book, Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students was awarded Notable Book in Education by the American School Board Journal, 2001. Dr. Pope is a three time recipient of the Stanford University School of Education Outstanding Teacher and Mentor Award.  Prior to teaching at Stanford, Dr. Pope taught high school English in Fremont, CA and college composition and rhetoric courses at Santa Clara University. She lives in Los Altos, CA with her husband and three children.

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