Three Things Overscheduled Kids Need More of in Their Lives | Deborah Farmer Kris

June 24, 2021

Playtime. Downtime. Family time.

According to Denise Pope, a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, these three factors — or PDF as she calls them — protect kids against a host of negative outcomes, strengthen resilience, and bolster students’ mental wellness and academic engagement. 

Pope is co-founder of Challenge Success, a Stanford-based organization that works with families and schools to redefine and embrace a broader definition of success and promote student well-being. In a recent interview with KQED’s Forum, Pope shared her suggestions for raising resilient, ethical and motivated learners. 

Make Time for Downtime

Pope says the research is clear, “Every kid needs PDF every day.” It is critical for the mental health of children, but it often gets lost in all the pressures and hustle and bustle of schools. Even extracurriculars such as sports, which adults perceive as downtime, can generate a lot of pressure.

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Deborah Farmer Kris is a Senior Parenting Columnist at Intrepid Ed News. This article was originally published on MindShift on Aug. 26, 2019. Click here to read more.

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Deborah Farmer Kris

A writer, teacher, parent, and child development expert, Deborah Farmer Kris writes regularly for PBS KIDS for Parents and NPR’s MindShift; her work has been featured several times in The Washington Post; and she is the author of the All the Time picture book series (coming out in 2022) focused on social-emotional growth. A popular speaker, Deborah has a B.A. in English, a B.S. in Education, and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology. Mostly, she loves finding and sharing nuggets of practical wisdom that can help kids and families thrive — including her own. You can follow her on Twitter @dfkris, contact her at [email protected], or visit her website: Parenthood365 (