The Overscheduled Child Myth

Despite the dire warnings, children whose schedules are packed with activities actually flourish

Shiho Fukada for TIME

Christopher practices his guitar at home after photographing for his mother.

One of the neuroses that afflicts a youth-obsessed society is the fear that childhood isn't what it used to be. Every few years a new book or magazine article warns that kids are being rushed through childhood with barely a second to skin a knee. This month brings three new offerings in the lost-childhood genre: a report in the journal Pediatrics on the loss of free playtime and two books from David Elkind, a psychologist whose The Hurried Child--first published in 1981 and now available in a 25th-anniversary edition--has made him the dean of too-fast-too-soon studies.

The idea that kids should slow down...

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