Overworked, Underplayed


The mom consulted her phone’s calendar.

“She has soccer on Mondays right after school, then she has a pre-reading tutor. Tuesday she has piano after school but I can rush her to you if you have time for a session at 5:30 or so? She’ll be a little tired and maybe hungry but I can give her dinner in the car on the way here or something. Oh, actually, next month she’ll start rehearsals for her recital. Thursdays are really difficult because she has gymnastics and then they have rehearsal training, so she won’t be able to do anything before 6pm. Maybe that’s a bit too late? Fridays she has another pre-reading class. I really don’t want her falling behind. Maybe I can bring her to you after … though she has some playdates scheduled next month. Saturday she does ice-skating. …” Looked up. Sighed, “Do you work Sundays?”

The little girl is not yet five.



For The Daily Post



4 thoughts on “Overworked, Underplayed

    • Yep. Other than a few things changed to protect confidentiality, this is a true reflection of reality. Not one child, either. All too common, sadly. Too little free time, too little play, too little opportunity to self-entertain and self-occupy and just be. Then we see children who have a hard time initiating, who struggle with non-adult-mediated social play, who get anxious when they are bored.


  1. I wanted nothing more to give my child the best life possible. During my daughter’s infancy, I would fantasize about her in a little ballerina tutu, or cheering her on at her volleyball games, dropping her off for cheer practice. I legitimately thought, the busier she was the more grounded she would be. When she reached the toddler phase, I couldn’t keep her away from eating globs of mud or keep her frilly little dresses stain free. That’s when I realized, a child’s only job is to just be a child. She’s 6 now and is the most unique, brilliant child. This was such a great read! Definitely made me thankful I put life in her perspective and not what I selfishly envisioned.


    • Thank YOU for this great comment, Eliza. Yes, it can be all too easy to get swept up in all manner of enrichment extra-curricular when in reality, enrichment can be many things, including plenty of opportunities to play, relaxed time for exploration in nature, participation in everyday routine activities at home (laundry, cooking, shopping) and lots of talking with and reading to the child besides. There is nothing wrong with a class here or there for a child’s special interest: dance, art, a sport; but the vast majority of their time should be play time. It is their main ‘job’ … 🙂 So glad your daughter is doing well, and thank you for sharing your process here! 🙂


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