As the summer vacation draws to an end, playtime shouldn’t too, said Stuart Brown in The New York Times. The summer isn’t a complete break for children from their “over-organized, cell-phone-computer-TV-and-video-game-saturated lives,” but it does give them more of the unstructured “goof-off time” that research shows is vital for developing into healthy, well-adjusted, intelligent adults.
“Scolds” have been “mourning the loss of play and leisure time” since at least 1939, said Laura Vanderkan in The Wall Street Journal. But the dreaded “overscheduled child” syndrome decried each September isn’t backed up by the evidence. When kids don’t have structured activities, they don’t engage in “the high-quality unstructured play that pundits praise”—they watch TV and eat junk food. We’d be better off if more kids were “happy and busy.”
There are “scolds” on both sides of the debate, said Anne Wallace Allen in The Canadian Press, via Google News. And “I don’t know which side is right. But the kids I know seem happier when we just leave them alone to play"—which is, more often than not, what the experts recommend. As an added bonus, when kids have time to play by themselves, “their parents get a lot more stuff done.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Scottish independence is another financial crisis waiting to happen
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Why baseball is America's most dangerous spectator sport
- 9 Harvard dropouts who became fabulously successful
- 11 brilliant life hacks from my cleaning woman
Subscribe to the Week