It’s Time to Host a Yes Day. Here’s How to Do It

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No matter what kind of parent you are, we’re betting you find yourself saying the word “no” more often than you ever thought you would. Give that word, and yourself, a break by surprising the kids with a Yes Day. What is a Yes Day? We’ll tell ya. And how do you keep your kids from eating candy all day without pants on? Well…you don’t, exactly. But before you run screaming from the room, hear us out. Read on to find out why you need a Yes Day and how to do it without destroying your carpet.

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Photo: iStock

So, What Exactly IS a Yes Day?

A Yes Day sounds exactly like what it is—it’s a day where your answer to your kids will always be, “yes.”  Ice cream for breakfast? Yes. Wearing pajamas all day? Yep. Movie marathon? You got it.  Before you decide this is a miserable idea, hear us out. With a few simple ground rules and a little prep, this day will become one that everyone in the family loves.

Yes Day Background

If the idea of a Yes Day sounds familiar (looking at you, Jennifer Garner fans) the idea originated from a book of the same name by Amy Rosenthal-Krause and Tom Lichtenheld. Basically a little boy in the story gets a day where his parent’s can’t say no to anything. Sounds like a kid’s dream, right? But guess what? Saying yes to your kids teaches you something, too. Parents who indulge in a Yes Day actually report a feeling of closeness and connectedness with their kids. And guess what that results in? Kids actually listening better. One mom told us that after her first Yes Day with her son she discovered just how many times she automatically said no, to herself and her kid, when she didn’t really need to.

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Photo: iStock

It’s Not As Scary As You Think

Of course, the concept of allowing your kids to run wild for a day where you can’t say no would be alarming. But not if you lay out the boundaries, first. The first thing to remind kids is that a Yes Day is one day, and the requests cannot be something that causes harm to themselves or anyone else.

Second, you also get to ask the kids to do things: but your ground rules are that you shouldn’t ask them to do additional “boring” stuff beyond their normal chores, homework, etc. You should be asking them to do spontaneous things, like “Do you want to run around the house four times with me?” Or, “Do you mind if I wear your fairy wings?”

Make sure you are clear with the kids that a Yes Day only lasts for a day, meaning any requests made cannot take place over a series of days, or in the future. Plus, you can limit the amount of travel you’re able to do in one day. (i.e.: no spur of the moment trips to Disney.) This can also apply to how much money it costs. Set a budget you’re comfortable with, and it will take away some of the anxiety about what they can choose.

You can ease into Yes Day by trying a Yes Morning or Yes Afternoon. Pick your day in advance, too, to encourage kids to plan ahead  “Mom, can we have a jump rope competition?” Save it for Yes Day! Besides, the anticipation is half the fun.

And the real golden rule? Don’t do it on a weekday/schoolday/workday.

Above all, you know your kids best. And the chances of them asking for something outlandish are actually pretty slim. The real joy comes from hearing “Yes.”

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Some Cool Ideas for Your Yes Day

If you’re on the fence about whether this could work in your family, maybe some ideas for Yes Day will convince you to do it. This will vary depending on the ages of your kids, but keeping it simple will help it work across the board. In the days leading up to your selected day, you can drop some hints about what activities would be cool to do on Yes Day.

Consider a family game night, and get a new board game or two to have on hand.

Head to a local park where you swing with them on the swings, or play that endless game of tag.

Eat dessert before dinner.

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Keep a bunch of crafting supplies on hand and be ready to create.

Do crazy, messy science experiments.

Build an epic fort.

Remember, the key is for the kids to see you enjoying yourself doing the things that they value.

Photo: iStock

Why You Should Do It

While you may think there’s nothing constructive to come out of having a Yes Day in your family, the benefits might surprise you. With just one day a year, you’re empowering your children to make decisions, as silly as they may be, and allowing them to see a different side of you. Hearing no all the time can be a little defeating, for both you and them. Giving them authority for one day actually teaches them how to use it. Not only that, but also giving yourself permission to be relaxed and carefree one day a year prompts you to live in the moment, much like kids do every day, and enjoy every minute. You’re making memories that will last a lifetime for both you and the kids, full of giggles and most importantly, time spent together. That’s definitely a win/win.

—Jesseca Stenson

featured image: iStock


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