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I'm Tracy 

I'm the founder, writer and advocate behind the award-winning blog, Raised Good - a guide to natural parenting in the modern world.

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Our Children’s Busyness Is Not A Badge of Honour (And Why We Need To Change It)

He was nowhere to be found. I’d only been inside for a minute.

In the few panic stricken seconds it took me to find him, I had wild visions of a cougar having leaped over the fence and snatching my four-year-old son from our backyard.

Of course, my mama bear imagination had gotten the better of me and he was simply being little and curious. Moments earlier, he’d been playing happily with his water toys on our deck but then he heard our neighbour’s little girls playing nextdoor.

Through a small hole in our excessively tall suburban wooden fence he was trying to ask his friends if they wanted to play – only they couldn’t hear him.

When I saw our neighbour the next day I mentioned the sweet invitation and asked “Were they free this week?”.

They were eager to play but neither girl was available for another six weeks. Between school and organised activities, every time slot was accounted for. Their schedule was full.

Disbelief and sadness washed over me as I recollected the excitement of jumping our neighbour’s fence decades ago; to play, have fun and claim a sense of freedom.

It suddenly dawned on me that even if my son could scale eight foot tall fences, the walls we have erected around our children’s free time are impenetrable.

I don’t blame my neighbour; she is in the norm and I’m acutely aware that by simplifying my son’s childhood I am the odd parent out. And that makes it hard.

When we go to our local park on weekdays it’s either empty, as kids as young as three years old are in “school”. Or if it’s after school it’s chock-full of organized sports with adults, not children, making the rules. It seems no space remains for free play.

Developmental Psychologist David Elkind reports that kids have lost more than 12 hours of free time per week in the last two decades. A report titled, Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need Play in School, published by the Alliance for Childhood, reported that kindergartners in New York and Los Angeles spend nearly three hours per day on reading and math instruction, and less than thirty minutes each day on “choice” or play time.

Children are spending more time in organized activities than ever before and it’s having an impact, both mentally and physically. Overuse injuries in kids and teenagers from specialisation in single sports are escalating. Dr James Andrews, orthopedic surgeon, reports that he now treats four times as many overuse injuries in youth sports than five years ago.

Doing too much, too soon, too often is to blame.

In trading away our young children’s down time we’re also seeing significantly lower levels of creativity in young adults. It’s not the organized activities themselves that destroy creativity but the lack of down time. Even two hours per week of unstructured play can boost children’s creativity to above-average levels.

With kids being carted from one activity to the next, the days of kids being kids and playing all day long has been erased from our society’s collective memory. We’ve devalued what children need most and replaced it with excessive adult control.

Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, evaluated results from a questionnaire called the Children’s Nowicki-Stricklund Internal-External Control Scale from the 1960’s through to 2002. She discovered an alarming move away from an internal towards an external locus of control in children of all ages with the trend being even more pronounced in younger children.

Why is this a concern? Because children with a bias towards externality are more likely to focus on goals such as materialism and status, rather than pursuing intrinsic aims which bring true and lasting happiness. They experience a sense of helplessness, decreased self-control, and a predisposition to narcissism, anxiety and depression.

Dr. Peter Gray, a research professor at Boston College, believes, as do I that the decline of free play is largely responsible; after all, play is the only part of a child’s world in which they’re freely able to express their control.

So, why have we taken something so beneficial away? I believe, like most things in life, we don’t appreciate something of value until it’s gone. I also believe that we’ve bought into the fear that we, as parents, are responsible for ensuring our kids’ future success.

We rationalise that if starting soccer at five years of age is a good idea, then starting at two must be even better. That enrolling our children in art class is more productive than drawing with chalk on the driveway. That playing in a baseball team hones skills more effectively than casually hitting a ball at the park on sunday afternoon with a group of friends and made up rules.

We worry that if we don’t give our children every opportunity that we’re failing them.

I was fortunate enough to see Dr. Shefali Tsabary speak at an event in Vancouver recently. After her talk the audience was free to ask questions. A father asked, “How do we know how much to push our kids in sports and activities when they want to give up?”

I will never forget Dr. Shefali’s answer. She said, “Mozart was always going to be Mozart. No matter what his parents did, he would have found anything that was black and white and played it.” Her message was clear; we don’t need to push our kids.

We need to give them the space and freedom that a simple childhood provides and then support them by making opportunities available when they show an interest. We need to release the pressure, guilt and obligation we put on ourselves to give our children more than they need; organised activities can be wonderful and our son participates in a select few, but it’s healthiest as an a-la-carte experience not an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Because childhood is not a dress rehearsal for adulthood; it is its own unique and magical period of life that needs to be respected and preserved. I refuse to over-schedule my son’s time because in doing so it would leave no space for him to live his childhood. Even though he may be little, he deserves to feel a sense of control and at his age free play is the answer.

Yet, perhaps of all the elements of simplifying childhood that I’ve written about, simplifying schedules seems to be the one that causes the most controversy. Yet, it’s a relatively easy thing to do; there are no secrets or special tips you need to do it. It’s as simple as paring back, being mindful, choosing our YES’s and NO’s wisely. I think what stops us from simplifying is fear.

Fear of missing out. Fear that we may be impeding our children’s future success. Fear of what other’s may think.

It takes a leap of faith and a brave parent to trust that simplifying our children’s lives and giving them downtime to play, connect with their families and create simple joy is what our kids really need. It is more than ok to prioritise family time, to want to spend our kids’ childhood with them and not always on the sidelines. To truly BE with them, not just DOING things for them.

Our kids don’t need to be enrolled, entertained, scheduled, supervised, coached, or assessed in an adult-directed activity to be happy. They are perfectly capable of leading the way and directing their own lives. While busyness may have been glorified in our modern-day society; it is not a badge of honour and we need to prevent it from compromising our kids’ childhoods.

Let’s give them the freedom to be unbusy. Let’s protect our kids from society’s time thieves. Let’s find the courage to “miss out”. Let’s create white space in our children’s lives and give them the freedom to paint it with the vibrant colours they choose. I have no doubt they’ll create works of art beyond our wildest imaginations.


The Power of Play, Learning What Comes Naturally, David Elkind. Source

Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School. PDF Access

Chronic overuse injuries in kids, Elizabeth Quinn. Source.

Hi there!

I'm Tracy

Hi there! I’m Tracy - the founder, writer and advocate behind the award-winning blog, Raised Good - a guide to natural parenting in the modern world. Based in Vancouver and originally launched in 2016, I’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response and the global community that’s developed. 

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  1. […] | A great summary of why and how to help our kids slow down. “Busyness is not a badge of honor.” (for […]

  2. Gab says:

    I have a hard time having my husband understand this. He thinks every minute of our six-year-old that is not filled with a class is time wasted he could have spent on learning a skill, and when I try to advocate for the unstructured play he argues, but isn’t it great that he now knows how to ice-skate, ski, bicycle, rock-climb, dance, play piano, baseball, tennis, soccer, basketball, skateboard and ride horses? And he does enjoy all classes so I am left with no argument…

    • Korie says:

      Maybe you could ask your husband what he enjoyed from his childhood. And maybe talk with him about special moments from yours. This may help draw the focus to open-ended free time and the benefits it brings!

    • Karla says:

      I’m sorry about this frustration. Maybe point him to child development books? As an occupational therapist, I can say there is absolutely nothing more important, no other priority in roles and responsibilities for a child than PLAY. That’s it. It truly is essential and enriching, develops their imagination, their ability to adjust, problem-solve, think outside the box, not to mention other abilities that are naturally developed through play such as gross motor, fine motor, coordination, etc.

      • kirralin23 says:

        My son is in occupational therapy for sensory issues. All of his therapy at the therapists office is structured play, mostly heavy activities. He needs heavy activities every couple of hours, with messy play mixed in throughout the day. He has some other requirements too; but almost everything boils down to working and playing. When we do a heavy activity like yard work, it’s always followed by a now you do whatever you want and I follow your lead time. Even a lot of the heavy activities we do in the house, like activities on the yoga ball, just naturally evolve from okay you did what you need to and now I’m doing what you want without him really noticing the transition. He loves to be in control of what’s happening.

  3. Karen says:

    I’m curious if, through your reading, you found an age that seems to be ok to be more structured with more activities. Or if we simply follow our kids desires to join the activity, maybe that’s the signal to take part? My kids are older 8,10,11,13. The 8yo still has a pretty open schedule but the other three want to try new things. Here is what I’ve found interesting — it’s been easier to sign up for activities at older ages. The younger classes seem to fill up quickly but the older classes have more spaces. The downside to trying activities as an older kid is that I have had to get special permission from the coaches or instructors- this was a shock to me. I had no idea that in some activities 13 is considered too old to start. I had to defend our multi sport/free play lifestyle and prove that my daughter (13) wants to learn and will be capable to learn. It feels ridiculous to me that it was even an issue but getting into new activities and sports (some, not all are like this) as an older child (12+) is more challenging than I thought. But at the same time kids are starting to drop out at 14 so there is space in the programs. It’s been interesting to navigate especially knowing that free play and free time is so essential to childhood. Thanks for your write up.

  4. Tianna says:

    I agree…to a certain extent. My boys are 13 and 16 and are passionate about the arts. They attend a performing arts school and CHOOSE to be extremely busy. If they have free time, they take another dance, vocal, or instrumental class. I think if kids are busy in a healthy way and are happy, let them be busy. ????

    • Amy says:

      You know your kids best, but with ours, we really encourage them to leave some time for themselves, to just “be.” Maybe 4-5 hours a week (it doesn’t have to be all in one big chunk). Sometimes we, even as adults, get so enthusiastic about something that we jump in with both feet, wholeheartedly… but we should leave a little room to absorb the knowledge and experience, to be available for family and friends, and to listen to our own inner voice. Get to know ourselves, not just the things that interest us. To “be still.”
      Especially in the arts, it’s great to learn the techniques and methods and share ideas with others, but imho, creative self-expression is done best when the artist really knows himself.
      And that takes time. 🙂
      Just my $0.02.

  5. Amy says:

    Thank you for this! I am trying to find a balance. I find that our life is too busy for my liking, but society expects us to have our kids doing, doing, doing. I am not a driven personality, and find it absolutely draining and exhausting, and I don’t like the Mom I become when I’m too busy. I want my kids to have good memories of their childhood. Not memories of me yelling at them to get in the vehicle, and hurry up.

  6. Daphne says:


    That’s a beautiful article and makes me want to consider your perspective. Could you please let me know how old your son is and how many activities does he attend outside of home. Since you said you have enrolled him in some activities. Just to have a ballpark understanding of how much is too much ?

  7. Becca says:

    Thank you for this reminder, it’s true. My son is ten and does a couple of after school clubs but I make sure he has free time on the other days and weekends to do what kids need to do. Explore life in a creative way. My sons tablet or TVs time is limited and if he says he is bored I say….. go and find something to do, he does and usually ends up creating something whether it’s art or craft or a game or reads or writes a poem. They need space to explore who they are and how they fit in the world around them.

  8. Bethany says:

    Yes, yes, yes, and more yes! I have been feeling this so much lately. I don’t want my kids to be signed up for much — they are seven and five and they should be allowed to be kids and explore and play outside. They have so much structure at school — they don’t need it every second of their lives. Thanks so much for validating my feelings!

  9. Jungle Momma says:

    Thank you for this. We are a homeschooling family who spends a little time doing formal learning (about an hour a day) and the rest of the time playing, exploring and learning through experience. My sons are 5 & 7 so up until recently I have been very keen on unstructured play. My older son did take music lessons this year, but neither had any interest in doing anything organized. I sometimes worry that they are ‘missing out’ but they tell me they love their life so I think they’re fine! They are incredibly creative and imaginative and I believe it is because they have had so much opportunity and freedom to play.

    • Dawn says:

      So long as your children still enjoy learning. I home edded mine now 27 and 30. It was probably harder then but neither child has ant complaints. My Grandaughter is 2 and I hope to do the same with her. All of it is valuable, all of it is learning. Never worry.

  10. Didi says:

    Great article, thanks! I’m an expat living in Italy, and have always found it unbelievable how busy and scheduled kids lives “have to” be over here from a very young age, even birthday parties. I first came over as an au pair, so have a lot of “insider experience”. Now the mom of an almost 6 year old, and have always sought out and created opportunities for her to just run around wild and be a child, I’m also thrilled that we have found an elementary school with very much the same mindset. Most of the day is spent outdoors and each individual child’s abilities and talents are catered to and nurtured. Thanks again for this wonderful article!

  11. Tina says:

    One of the best articles I’ve read in a very long time. Thank you. Very happy to share because I think its such an important message for parents to read.

  12. Diego says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

  13. Tracy says:

    I had to protect my child’s free time while he was growing up. I felt that structured adult run activities all of the time would cripple his creativity and ability to problem solve. Socially they do not learn the art of negotiable and compromise. He is an adult now. He is happy and lives a peaceful life with creative outlets. Allowing him to choose what he wanted to do as a child has lead him into adulthood with the ability to make good decisions with confidence. How can this happen if children are being told what to do all of the time. In my opinion children are so stifled and stressed and it is leading to depression and suicide. Let kids be kids. Let them be free thinkers and problem solvers. Guide them but do not control them. It is imperative to their happiness as they take their place in adult society.

  14. Amber says:

    I have a three, five, seven, nine-year-old. Because I had them so close together I could barely take a breath between diaper changes and meals for many years. So during those years I couldn’t even imagine adding activities. I adopted the whole idea of free play out of complete necessity. Also, because that was the way I was raised on the farm in Missouri as a child. Chores and then play, that’s how I was raised and I felt free.
    Thank you for this article, sometimes I feel pressured or shamed for not having my kids busy all the time in this or that. We let our boys play in a very simple baseball league last summer at the YMCA. This year we could not afford it and my boys didn’t even seem to mind. They just want to play with the neighbors or sit and read a book when they get home from school. One of my children loves to create things out of cardboard and tape and other things he finds around the house. He couldn’t read these great books or create if we were going to another lesson. Perhaps we will do lessons someday when I see a child with a gift, but for now we will just develop our gifts at home where it is free$ ????.

  15. You spoke my heart and my words. I’ve written on this topic for years. I’ve felt alone, viewed as an oddity, a squelcher of organized fun. Thank you for such an important article. Feel free to check out my blog at Debbiespence.com where I write about enjoying an unhurried life.

  16. mary says:

    Maybe to help our children, social interaction should be a scheduled “lesson”.(Playing with others is a very important skill)

  17. Tracy P Barton Niles says:

    THIS. is PURE GOLD! Our daughter is in VERY few organized activities. I can count ONE. Riding lessons. Of her choosing. The rest of the time, when not homeschooling she is out of doors, playing! Unfortunately, many of her friends want to be indoors on electronic devices or playing video games. On days where it may be sprinkling, NO ONE will come out. Their parents won’t let them! 🙁 One little girl that lives about two blocks away said: I want to come play with you , but you live so far away!!!! I have no more words!

    • Tracy Gillett says:

      Thank you so much Tracy and thank you for sharing! Great to know I am not alone! And so happy to hear that homeschooling is going so well for you – we are headed down a similar path and for similar reasons. We want to avoid the screen addiction – our son is so much happier and calmer when he hasn’t been watching anything and just playing outside. Thank you again! Love your honesty.

    • Tina Kaufman says:

      I grew up in the country in the 1960s with 8 siblings & lots of cousins for neighbors. Some of my best childhood memories are playing outdoor games with them in the evenings after chores. Games like; Kick the can, Red Rover..send some one right over, Red light..Green light, no bears out tonight, Hide & Seek & Annie- i-over, to name a few. We would play until dark sometimes in the summer. It was so fun, especially when we would change the rules or make up our own, depending on different scenarios. These games were great excercise for us! So i am wondering if anyone else commenting on this article had a similiar childhood? We should teach these games to our children & grandchildren when we spend time with them in the summer, instead of organized sports & activitys all the time..just a thought.

  18. Wow. So glad I gave my daughter so much free time as a child. We were involved in a home-schooling co-op 1 day a week and around that we engaged in local public library programs that appealed to her. We read together and played with math…and every afternoon she’d play with co-housing friends, both home-schooled and not.

    Now She’s a teen and likes to read all day, or spend time in the garden. I bought her more microscope plates and covers to make slides with when she’s inspired to and let her design her day according to what moves her. She tried middle school, but the social dynamics there were extremely disheartening, to when she fell and suffered a concussion, I let her return to home-schooling.

    I’m glad I did this for her. She’s in better spirits than when she was in school. The summer hear leaves her with little energy to do more than read and draw, and I accept that as her wisdom for knowing what she needs and taking care of those needs.

    I am grateful that there are other parents who believe in bucking the trend of busyness to give their children time to be children.

    • Tracy Gillett says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience Karen! It is heartening to me as my son is 5 years old now and we plan to go down a homeschooling route. We are trying to put together a homeschooling group in our area too – so good to have the social dynamic in place. Thank you again and I am so happy to hear that your daughter is so happy with the path you have taken! xx

  19. Amy says:

    I absolutely love what you are saying, but the Mozart quote is ironically off base. If you know the true history of Mozart, you know he was relentlessly pushed to excessively practice and travel exhaustively to audition from a very tender age, and his Father was pushy. As a performer myself I have seen that most pro performers seem to have similarily extreme upbringings, and sometimes as adults they are happy and well adjusted, but equally or more often they are emotionally challenged. I won’t be trying to raise a Mozart myself and if my kids show amazing skill in something it will be a challenge, I’m sure, to support them in the demands of that lifestyle while keeping them healthy and free. Probably too many parents fool themselves into thinking they are raising a Mozart. 😉

    • Tracy Gillett says:

      Thanks so much Amy! And the Mozart quote was from Dr Shefali – she could have chosen anyone, its more a metaphor than meaning to be literal. Just saying if your child is destined to be an incredible sprinter or basketball player or cricket player or dancer they will show you and find a way. Agree on the irony but I don’t take it literally. Thanks again and I won’t be raising a Mozart either 🙂

  20. Eric says:

    I love this article, and agree wholeheartedly, but the Justified format makes it difficult to read smoothly. Could you adjust it so it is left formatted? That would take the spaces out from between the letters in the words causing the eyes to read over it more fluently and increase readership.

    • Tracy Gillett says:

      Its in the works Eric! I am planning a redesign and that’s on the list to be left justified 🙂 Thanks for the feedback!

  21. Delphine Arnault says:

    What an amazing article, my seven year old told me last week that there is no way she s doing a camp!she said she wants to be free and make the most of the summer!
    I said “no problem”, I m so glad she s knows what she wants, and doesn’t t feel powerless, it s wonderful and I hope she always follows her guidance system as it is the only thing one should listen!

  22. Don says:

    Amazing article and I agree full heartily. I am working with local educators and designers to redesign daycare outdoor spaces to follow the tenants of outdoor play, so this article ticks a lot of my boxes. What I think we should also discuss is that free play is a learned skill for both parents and children, and that simply stopping structured activities for a family may be as equally frustrating. If a child has had years of structured activities it may take some time to develop the creativity and confidence to figure out one full hour of self play at the beginning and parents may need to deal with a child who’s playing close to the hip at first.
    My 3 year old has gone from 20mins to 2 hours of self guided free play time but that has taking almost a year and sometimes we still only get 20 mins.
    So as this movement hopefully takes hold we should also encourage little victories at first and that any free play, inside or out, has value.


  23. Annie says:

    Great article! The biggest piece I struggle with is the lack of social opportunity. I grew up roaming from yard to yard with neighbors. Unfortunately no one comes out to play so even if my son has unstructured time he ends up all alone. This breaks my heart.

  24. Darlene Wiederin says:

    Thanks Kay for putting this article out there for all to read. It is absolutely the best I have ever read. I believe in kids playing and having friends over. I have always said I am so glad I lived in the days when kids were kids. I hope everyone reads this and thinks seriously about it. Lets go back to the good ole days and enjoy our kids and play with them.

  25. Dana says:

    I love this article. This is so true. I allowed and continue to allow my younger kids to have lots of free time. We never did a lot of organized activities. I work at the YMCA and yesterday a 5 year old came in telling me how exhausted he was. It was 10 in the morning and he just came from hockey camp and was going to swim lessons. Then he complained to me that he had “regular” hockey practice that night. I thought how crazy considering this boy was only 5. I am sure the mother didn’t even recognize the exhaustion in her own child. It is so sad that kids’ lives these days are so structured there is no time to just be.

  26. Rachael says:

    I hear you! I crave balance and down time because I’m overstimulated easily. Maybe it’s because I grew up with a plethora of free time as a kid. Not sure. I remember being happy but I also remember being bored a lot but I do have a ton of creativity now as an exhausted mother of 3, trying to keep up with year-round athletic schedules for my twin girls (8). Soccer is the real killer; indoor/outdoor, weeknight practices, rain or shine, bright and early on a Saturday and sometimes Sundays, games up to an hour away, hours to kill between games, games on Mother’s Day, and unfortunately for me it’s their favorite sport. I begged my husband to switch them to a local, rec team but my he sincerely believes our girls are budding Olympians in everything they attempt. We continuously disagree about how to parent and manage their free time. My husband likes to plan out his entire schedule, so it makes sense he likes to do the same with our kids. I like to live day by day, so you can imagine the daily struggle there. There are pros and cons to both. Thank God our youngest is 19 months and won’t be participating in any regularly structured events for a while. I guess the silver lining is he gets to play with a variety of kids while his sisters are busy. Here’s the positive flip side to excessive sports though: Our kids always struggled in the past with confidence. You could see it in their demeanor. Unfortunately stronger personalities prey on that and free play in the neighborhood wasn’t really play with my sensitive Sallies. It just always resulted in them being bossed around and hurt both psychically and emotionally. Kids are mean! Even the ones that live in nice neighborhoods with great parents and are considered ‘good kids.’ Sports has given my girls something money can’t buy and that’s confidence. Learning to become aggressive in soccer physically propelled them socially as well. They not only stand up for themselves but what’s right in general. God knows the world needs more of that.

  27. […] Our Children’s Busyness Is Not A Badge of Honor (And Why We Need To Change It) | Raised Good by Tracy Gillett. We’ve devalued what children need most and replaced it with excessive adult control. […]

  28. Andreaa says:

    Very interesting when my children were younger they tried out a few of the standard clubs but nothing that they wanted to commit to full time, they soon got bored of having to go every week and it became a chore for them and took all the fun out of it. I’ve worried over the years that I didn’t push them more into clubs but they just weren’t interested. However they are now 12 and 15. The 12 year old has recently found activities he wants to pursue, that he has a passion for, and the other has a hobby that he loves, that he chooses when he does it. I guess they found the things they loved by growing up and developing their personalities and interests naturally rather than having my ideas foisted onto them. It’s good to hear that all the tree climbing and time with the family and the time to play alone could be very good for them too.

  29. Erin K. says:

    Mozart’s father was a middle class musician and saw talent when Mozart was 3 and taught him to play. He quit his job and took Mozart on tour for years at a time – all over Europe- away from his mother – today we’d call him “crazy” for pushing his son like that. In fact, it’s well documented the control and power his father had over him. But, no…..Mozart would not be Mozart without his father’s involvement. Just ask any Olympian- did they have to sacrifice time playing with other kids- of course they did! But, the general population doesn’t fall into this category. I just feel making a statement like Mozart would be Mozart regardless of parenting is ludicrous. It’s our responsibility to encourage and nurture talent if we see it and our children have a passion. But I promise you Mozart would not be composing full symphony’s by 13 if he had not already been playing concerts near daily since five – all arranged by his father. While I do believe children should not be over-scheduled, I also appreciate discipline, recognizing talent, and sacrificing for a passion.

    • Tracy Gillett says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment Erin but Mozart is a metaphor in this case – not meant to be taken literally. The point is kids will be happier if allowed to choose to follow their own passions and they will find that themselves if allowed to do so. I don’t think it is our responsibility to push our children. It is our responsibility to provide the environment in which they can flourish. I’d rather raise a happy, well-balanced child who loves their passion and their life and may take it to the next level professionally if it is their choice to do so than to push to the professional level but have an unhappy, disconnected child.

  30. […] world wants us to fill in all of the spaces with “preschool” and to proudly wear our badges of busyness, following Charlotte Mason during our children’s early years gives them room to […]

  31. Sarah Yip says:

    Thanks for a wonderful article. In numerology, Mozart was a 29/11, so he would always have been unusual.I share a birthday and lifepath with him and was also a child prodigy. I’m a huge fan of free range parenting and letting kids lead the way when it comes to their hobbies…a while ago I wrote on my blog:

    “Children born from 2000 onwards have many ‘0’s for sensitivity, and less numbers in their grids. They have strong likes and dislikes because they are ‘specialists’ here to fill gaps in the population. It’s essential they have many friends and helpers (why have two parents when you can have a dozen aunties?) and support to finish tasks. They are hands-on, not rote-learners.

    Think of them as ‘mortar’ bringing people together for a cause, whereas those who came before are the ‘bricks’ who shaped society. Many babies coming in have karmic lifepaths and will know their purpose by their teens.

    My tip: What worked for you may not work for your children and grandchildren. The school of hard knocks could knock them out.Not only do they have different lifepaths, the world is radically different. There is more pressure on kids to perform, they have less down-time, more exposure to technology, and even the food has changed (hence the rise in intolerances and allergies).

    You can’t raise a fern the way you grow an oak tree. Be open to learning new forms of healing to help these Souls thrive. They are definitely psychic*, and need our protection. I’m keen to work with more of them soon – they’re so inspiring.”

    Thanks Bree from Red Tent Australia for sharing this article and to you for writing it. Love your work.

  32. Lisa says:

    Thank You!!!! I am a mother of six sons — oldest is 23 and youngest is 11. We’ve had an eventful life moving and bringing up these guys. We’ve homeschooled at points and put them in both private and public schools. We’ve lived in houses with yards in neighborhoods, in apartments overseas, and townhomes in cities. Our sons have not had “normal” childhoods compared to their peers in school and we are thankful for their paths. It has not been easy by any stretch. Over the last few years, we’ve made commitments to live more minimally and what I noticed straight away was that many people loved that we lived with less but once I started mentioning DOING less, people would assume that my kids would be less capable and successful. Now that our older sons are reaching adult years, they are responsible young men who are capable of making decisions themselves and thereby creating lives for themselves, not waiting for us to organize their lives and bankroll them. They are able to handle difficulty and work their way through it themselves. It was (and is) challenging to find other kids who have the same family lifestyles and it can be isolating at times. But there are pros and cons to everything and I believe cultivating adults who don’t evaluate their significance through their position or possessions will benefit our society as a whole.

  33. […] so good, you should read it in its entirety, especially if you have kids. It’s called Our Children’s Busyness is Not a Badge of Honour. The author […]

  34. Tracy, I really loved this article. Thanks for putting it out there. I have a two year old daughter, and already I am noticing my bend toward putting her into organized activities.

    What you said about feeling like we are failing them really rings true for me. Part of me feels like if I don’t give her opportunities, I am being a bad mother.

    I read another article recently about Millennials being a burnt-out generation. The author tied it to the job market crash. One of his/her takeaways was that our generation is so insecure about our children’s future that intensive parenting has become the norm.

    It’s an interesting view, and I think a lot rings true. I’m still processing it all (I can send the article to you if you’d like).

    What I hear you saying is that intensive parenting is counter productive to our children as well.

    I really appreciate that message, and I think it’s something that all parents need to hear.

    I’m interested in hearing your thoughts about how such parenting effects parents, and what that does to the parent-child relationship. I bed you’d have a lot of insight.

  35. Linda says:

    So I wonder how much of the push for these activities is for free or cheaper daycare?
    It seems once children hit kindergarten age they suddenly are “too big” to come after school to play with the same friends they played with everyday for the past year or so.
    As a provider of preschool and an after school program I see kids going to a different activity 3 out of the 5 days of the week. When they do come to me they just want to play with their friends and have free play.

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