By Dr. Brian McDonough

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – We live in a society with many demands but it seems many of us are not doing a great job protecting our children from too much stress too soon.

We have talked about the pressure on children in sports and school at the earliest levels, and it is quite clear this is a problem. But there is one issue that goes largely unrecognized — well meaning parents are almost too involved in sports, school and choosing playdates for the young ones. This may be part of the problem.

There is something critical that is missing — unscheduled time, free time , down time whatever you want to call it.

Parents are always there and some are trying to produce the best swimmer, soccer player, or pianist. There are tests to get in pre-school and it continues until there are tests to get into the best colleges. Some of the most crucial development takes place in free unstructured time and some of the most important life lessons occur when failure is allowed to happen.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor

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