I used to vow I would never be like the parents in the picture above. Then I had teenagers. I have to admit, our house looks exactly like this every morning. It turns out life is just busy. It's not that you try to plan a million things, but each child's activities, along with family obligations, can make for a tight schedule. So after being a parent for awhile and having children of differing ages here are my thoughts.
1. Young Children need lots of time at home with mom and dad. They need the structure and stability of a routine and the attachment time with their parents. I wouldn't schedule them for too many activities, unless they are extreme extroverts and seem to need people all the time.
2. Elementary Age kids also need structure at home with maybe one outside activity.
3. Middle School Age: It's important for this age to explore their talents and what they like to do. I would say let them try lots of things, but remember to help them have homework and family time each day. They also need some pondering time to figure things out.
4. High School Kids need to explore their independence and develop talents for self esteem. Let them enjoy their many activities, again making sure they are scheduling in enough homework, family, and ponder time. Be sure to eat dinner as a family each night, if possible. Teens need this bonding activity. Establish good curfews to make sure they get enough sleep.