Parents Try To Reclaim Their Children's Time

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Parents Try to Reclaim Their Children's Time It has seeped into this vibrant suburb just as it has from many others cities. overwhelming parents and overtaking children's lives: the schedule.

Soccer practice, dance class, play rehearsal, Boy Scouts. Be at Tuesday football practice or be benched in Saturday's game. First graders carry daily planners. Family vacations, not to mention family dinners, take a back seat to basketball. And it has become cachet at cocktail parties to compare whose kids are the busiest.

Now some parents in Wayzata (pronounced wye-ZETA), a prosperous, purposeful community of high-achieving, energetic children and color-coded family calendars, have decided that it is all too much.

They are concerned that too little time with parents means that children are missing the stabilizing, character-shaping experiences of rituals like suppertime conversations and family outings. And, especially in the wake of school shootings, in which the killers' parents often seemed to know little about their children's lives, they are worried that the influence of peers and the media and commercialism may be outweighing the influence of parents.

In a grass-roots effort unlike anything else in the country, parents and community leaders here are calling for a slowdown. A few months ago, they began asking coaches, dance instructors, churches and leaders of youth groups to cut back on practices, rehearsals and meetings. They want a loosening of polices that penalize children for missing practice or tell families not to vacation during spring break. And in scheduling and attitude, they want programs to be deferential to family meals, family trips and family celebrations.

As an incentive, the group, which has attracted dozens of families and calls itself Family Life 1st, will begin bestowing a "seal of approval" on groups this summer that become family-friendly, hoping that such programs will be as eager...