Time Out or Burn Out for the Next Generation.
Harvard College. Admissions & Financial Aid
“Families should allow for “down-time” during vacations, weekends, and during the week at mealtimes or at any other break in the action. The fabric of family life is already under assault from the demands of parents’ increasingly stressful jobs. Parents, some of whom experienced the first wave of fast-lane childhoods themselves, are often distressed by how little uninterrupted free time they have to devote to their children. Bring summer back. Summer need not be totally consumed by highly structured programs, such as summer schools, travel programs, or athletic camps. While such activities can be wonderful in many ways, they can also add to stress by assembling “super peers” who set nearly impossible standards. Activities in which one can develop at one’s own pace can be much more pleasant and helpful. An old-fashioned summer job that provides a contrast to the school year or allows students to meet others of differing backgrounds, ages, and life experiences is often invaluable in providing psychological downtime and a window on future possibilities. Students need ample free time to reflect, to recreate (i.e. to “re-create” themselves without the driving pressure to achieve as an influence), and to gather strength for the school year ahead. Choose a high school (or a college) not simply by “brand name” or reputation but because it is the best fit. A school with a slower pace or a different academic or extracurricular focus can be a better match for certain students in the long run.”