We finally did it. We said “yes” to a Yes Day.
A Yes Day, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, is a day where the kids make the rules, and for 24 hours, parents say “yes” to anything the kids ask for. The idea originated from a children’s book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, which later inspired the Netflix film starring Jennifer Garner.
As spring break approached, I began to think about ways to make the break more special and unique since we did not have plans to travel. I arranged for us to explore a new park, hang out with friends, and visit the Children’s Museum. Then I thought, “What about a Yes Day?” Call it coincidence or fate, but the same day I planned to share my idea with my children, my son asked for a Yes Day. I guess it was meant to be!
I’ll be honest, after watching the craziness that ensued in Yes Day, the film, I was intimidated by the thought of saying yes to EVERYTHING. I knew our day couldn’t possibly be as extreme as what was depicted in the movie, but I was not sure what my almost seven and four-year-old children were capable of planning. Yes Day became the primary topic of conversation in the weeks leading up to spring break.
When the day finally arrived, I knew what to expect because we had conversations as a family about the kids’ plans. With my husband’s help, they even wrote a loose schedule the night before. The itinerary included: donuts for breakfast, toy shopping at Target, playtime with mom and dad, and breakfast for dinner. To my surprise, the demands for Yes Day were minimal.
The morning started with my son waking up at 5:30 AM to watch tv. You read that right, 5:30 AM! As much as I wanted to tell him to go back to bed, I could not say anything about the early wake-up time because it was Yes Day.
Morning tv was followed by donuts from a local bakery, and after everyone was dressed, we headed to Target. My son knew exactly what he wanted and quickly found it. My daughter, on the other hand, took her time. We walked the toy aisles for what felt like hours while she explored the shelves and made her purchase. With toys in hand, the kids decided on lunch at home so they could get right to playing with mom and dad.
After a couple of hours of playing, the kids were unsure of what to do for the rest of the day. I helped them brainstorm a few ideas, and we settled on popsicles from Nicey Treat, followed by their idea of breakfast for dinner. The final requests of Yes Day were staying up late, a family dance party, tv in bed, and sleepovers with mom and dad.
As I reflect on our experience, I’m carrying a few thoughts with me.
- Allow the kids to have more opportunities to make decisions on their own. One benefit of having a Yes Day is that it gives kids a sense of control within a loving and safe environment. I want my children to feel empowered and confident in their ability to make decisions, which can start now while they are young.
- Be more intentional about spending quality time together as a family. For my kids, that’s what Yes Day was really about. They enjoyed being with mom and dad. In the hustle and bustle of life, it can be easy to lose sight of what is really important. Yes Day was a reminder that slowing down and enjoying each other is truly what matters most.
- Enjoy the simplicity of this stage. I’m currently parenting children in the preschool and middle childhood stages. It is definitely not easy, but there is a simplicity to this stage of parenting that I don’t want to miss. While my kids are learning new things every day, they’re still just kids, mostly naive to the awful things happening in our world daily. For Yes Day, they just wanted to eat, play, dance, and spend time with mom and dad. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
- Say “yes” more often. Like Jennifer Garner’s character in Yes Day, I find myself saying “no” a lot. In the midst of “balancing” parenting, marriage, work, sports, other commitments, and time for self, it can be easy for “no” to become the default. However, I’m learning that saying “yes” more often can strengthen my relationship with my children and boost their confidence.
In all, our Yes Day was a success! The kids made the rules, and mom and dad said “yes” to everything. The day is still talked about regularly in our home, and the kids continue to ask when they can have another one.
I encourage you to say “yes” to Yes Day! And if you’ve already said “yes” before, I encourage you to say it again!
Check out this website for some tips and planning tools to help your family have a fun Yes Day of your own.