Canadians are all work and no play:

Sit-down family dinners are rare in the Grunling home. Myles, 16, and Colin, 14, play soccer on teams coached by their father. Crystal Grunling and her husband, Manfred, work full-time jobs, and the boys, in Grades 11 and 8, attend different schools.

“We’re running every night of the week,” said Ms. Grunling, 44, a program director with the Edmonton Minor Soccer Association. “We have practices for one or the other, games for one or the other. It just never stops.

To be fair, Americans are just as time-crunched. But we often do it to ouselves. And what are we teaching our children?

When I was a kid my parents didn’t schedule our lives every minute of the day. We played, in a totally non-structured format, with our friends. We ran, jumped, climbed trees, and did a lot of stuff that would make parents choke today. Those same parents who did all of that stuff themselves.

Somewhere along the line somebody decided that we needed to program every moment of our kids lives, or we were bad parents.

That’s just wrong. As parents we should spend time with our kids, letting them do things that they enjoy doing with us. And the rest of the time we need to let them play. Unscheduled play.

Maybe when we can let our kids have a break we can relearn that it’s ok to relax occasionally too. And maybe put down the BlackBerry and forget about work for a few minutes. Then we will be teaching the kids a valuable lesson. That there is a time for work, and a time for play.