Campus News

Don’t over schedule child’s activities

Hustling your child from ballet recitals to T-ball games and from scouting events to theater rehearsal may not be the best way to raise a well-rounded child, said Diane Bales, a child development specialist at UGA.

“The concern developmentally with over scheduling is young children through elementary school still learn a lot through play,” she said. “That unstructured time, the opportunity to make their own decisions and set their own rules, is very important. Kids who have a lot of [organized] activities have less of that free time.”

Children learn best through active exploration, Bales said, “what we call play.” Children who don’t get enough time to play often have trouble making decisions when they get older.

In a 2007 report in Pediatrics entitled “The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds,” researchers said that play contributes to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional well being of children and youth.

“We’re starting to see children who can’t play well,” Bales said. “They’re always wanting an adult to tell them what to do, when to do it and how to do it.”

Children who play less are less creative as they get older and have trouble developing more complex problem-solving skills, according to Bales.