Adults are "trying to instill grown-up values and competitive nature on a kid, and they're nowhere near that yet," said Robert Stephens. "They're trying to make them into world champions. That's nuts!"
Stephens, who along with his wife raised two boys, wants kids to start playing neighborhood pickup games again.
"It teaches them how to regulate themselves, make up rules," and fix problems, he said.
But these days, that rarely happens. And as CNN has reported, league sports are helping fill a vacuum and keep many kids active.
In a Facebook discussion, some parents said their kids' sports leagues are mostly about having fun.
Dawn Ladd said her 6-year-old daughter's soccer league is "organized, but obviously not competitive."
Still, many parents say leagues aren't right for their little ones.
"We tried... and it was awful. What 4-year-old is ready?" asks Christina Comstock. She now limits her son's activities to scouts and karate. #kids
Many parents wrote that two activities at a time is their maximum. But others have seen their children thrive on busy schedules.
My colleague Jo Parker's two children have done ballet for years. Her 12-year-old daughter goes five days a week. Cutting back might make the family's life easier, Parker said. "But she loves it too much!"
Ultimately, it's up to each family.
"There's no decision tree," said Bloom, no "perfect cocktail."
There is, however, a critical element that often falls to the wayside: the family's overall lifestyle.
"There are families with so much stress because all weekend they're traveling to games. We don't let our kids drive all the decisions in our families. They don't have to drive extracurricular decisions," Bloom said.
And many parents get so busy with kids' activities that they let their marriages falter, she said. "Parents need to ask themselves: What are you modeling for your kid?"
I was standing in front of hundreds of teenagers when I realized something about raising my own kids.
It was a keynote address to the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) World Leadership Congress. My message was to "be the cups and ice," my way of saying you should chase and maximize all your opportunities to achieve dreams and to "shine" by being unique, following your instincts.
As I looked out at these kids from all over the world who have stepped up in their communities and shown great potential, it struck me that I couldn't care less whether they can run an 8-minute mile, play the violin, or set up a tent.
I care that they know they can achieve anything, that they understand big rewards come from perseverance and hard work, that they treat others as they'd want to be treated.
I care that they fill their lives with positivity, love and friendship, and take time for those things.
I realized I had gotten caught up in the means, not the end.
It isn't about a search for the perfect activities. My role as a parent is to help guide my kids to that good place. And there are plenty of ways to get there.