If you’ve found yourself playing the role of the family bad guy and crushing young dreams with a single word (Can I have ice cream for dinner? No!) a little too often these days, it sounds like a Yes Day is in order. With just a few simple rules and a lot of enthusiasm, you can let your littles ones dictate and decide what happens for a day. You’ll be surprised at the results. Read on to find out more.

What’s a Yes Day?

Yes Day is a book by Amy Rosenthal-Krause. And, as the title suggests, in this story, once a year a little boy gets a day where his parents say “yes” to everything. Since kids often feel powerless (eat this, sleep now, brush your teeth, no, no, no!), a whole day of small victories can be incredibly empowering. It’s also surprisingly liberating and enjoyable for parents!

The Ground Rules

We’ll admit that saying yes to everything your kids ask for does sound terrifying. But a day of saying yes can be fun for parents, too. After all, who likes to say no all the time? Just set a few ground rules (you can’t only eat sweets, you can’t do anything that could physically hurt you or anyone else, a max driving distance, etc.). Kids are usually very happy to comply and work within the boundaries.

It’s important to keep this as a very special occasion—like once a year or every six months. One easy way to do it is to pick a day (an un-birthday, if you will) when your kids could use a treat—perhaps a half-birthday, the last Saturday before school starts, or a Saturday at the end of July (a summer Christmas!). Be sure to pick the day somewhat in advance so you can mark a day off on the calendar, prep any food, or make any necessary plans. Plus, the anticipation is half the fun!

Before the Big Day

Be sure to read the book with your kids before having your own Yes Day. They’ll be inspired by the little boy: He wants to have pizza for breakfast, use his mom’s hair gel, leave his room messy, and stay up late with friends. Then, have your own kids talk about what they’d like to do for their Yes Day.

Ask your kids leading questions in the days before Yes Day. Something like: “So, if on Yes Day, you asked me if you could have pancakes for supper, what would I have to say?” Chances are pretty high that your kids will giggle, chorus “YES!” and then actually ask for pancakes for dinner!

It’s also surprising and refreshing to discover what kids really want on any given day; it’s usually something as simple as an ice cream, a pillow fight, a carousel ride, or a few extra books at bedtime.

Why Should You Have a Yes Day?

Saying yes to your kids puts you on the same team. A special day where you don’t have to say “no” what feels like a thousand times means there will be more time for giggles, heartfelt chats, and an overall sense of closeness. Giving your kids the freedom of “yes” empowers them to decide what’s really important, and the simple pleasures end up overruling the insane requests more often that not. Besides, everyone deserves to hear the word “yes” once in awhile. We all deserve it!

Have you ever had a Yes Day with your family? Share in a Comment below.

— Gabby Cullen & Meghan Rose


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