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What is a Yes Day? Answers and Ideas for Parents



family of three messy with paint - what is a yes day

What is a Yes Day? The Ultimate Guide for Baffled Parents

If you've recently found yourself cornered by an overly enthusiastic youngster demanding a “Yes Day” and you’ve responded with a bewildered, “A what now?”, then rest assured, you’re in the right place. We’ve crafted this trusty guide just for folks like you. Now, take a deep breath, keep those parenting capes fluttering, and let’s dive deep into the magical (and sometimes chaotic) world of the 'Yes Day'.

The Basics: "What is a Yes Day?"

First things first, let's clear the air. A "Yes Day" isn’t some mysterious code your child is speaking in, nor is it a secret language they learned from the family pet. Put simply, a "Yes Day" is a day where you, the ever-patient and noble parent, agree to say “yes” to most (important word: most) of your child’s requests for an entire day.

Picture it: Ice cream for breakfast? Yes. Wear pajamas to the park? Absolutely. Build the world’s biggest blanket fort? Well, as long as the family cat doesn’t get lost in there, why not?

Now, before you rush to the nearest exit or try to recall if you kept that parenting warranty (spoiler alert: they don’t come with one), let's explore the idea a bit further.


The Origin Story of Yes Day

The concept of "Yes Day" isn’t as modern as you might think. Parents have been giving into their children’s whims since… well, probably the dawn of time. But the idea gained traction with a children’s book named "Yes Day!" by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Then came the Hollywood movie and, as they say, the rest is history. Or in parenting lingo: the rest is one big sticky, joy-filled mess.

The Ground Rules (Because Chaos Should Only Go So Far)

Okay, fellow guardian of tiny humans, before you imagine your home turning into a miniature Las Vegas, let’s get something straight: "Yes Day" comes with boundaries. It's not about spending tons of money, or putting anyone's safety at risk. It's about letting our kiddos feel empowered, letting their creativity run wild, and watching the magic unfold. But there are rules.

  1. Budget: You don't want little Sally or Sam bankrupting you, right? Set a spending limit. Maybe even turn it into a math lesson (because, why not sneak in some learning?).

  2. Safety First: Requests should be safe. Jumping off the roof with an umbrella, à la Mary Poppins, is a solid no.

  3. Within Reason: If your child wants to go to the moon, maybe settle for stargazing or a planetarium visit. Remember, it’s about creativity, not reality-breaking requests.

  4. Plan Ahead: Have a family meeting before "Yes Day". Discuss expectations and maybe even jot down some ideas.

I wrote The Official Guide to Yes Day Rules as a resource that goes more in-depth for you.

Why on Earth Would Parents Do This?

Great question! For all its potential chaos, a "Yes Day" can:

  • Strengthen Bonds: You'd be surprised at how much you can learn about your child's interests and how they view the world.

  • Boost Confidence: Children feel empowered when they get to make decisions, even if it's just choosing mismatched socks for the day.

  • Teach Decision Making: When kids realize they have a say, they often start weighing their options more carefully.

  • Break the Routine: Sometimes, we all need a break from the norm. And who doesn’t love a day filled with unexpected adventures and giggles?

How to Survive Your First "Yes Day" (And Maybe Even Enjoy It)

  1. Stay Flexible: This is not the day to be stuck in your ways. Embrace the unpredictability.

  2. Document the Day: Trust us, you'll want memories of this. Whether it's photos of spaghetti art or videos of interpretive dances about broccoli.

  3. Join In: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em! Be a kid again, even if it's just for a day.

  4. Reflect: At the end of the day, chat with your child. What did they love most? What would they change? This can give insight into their little minds.


three kids sitting on the floor throwing up paper in the air - what is a yes day

Here's a fun list of 50 "Yes Day" ideas for your kids (and you!) to revel in:

  1. Ice Cream Breakfast: Let them enjoy a scoop (or two) for the most important meal of the day.

  2. Pajama Day: Stay in PJs the whole day.

  3. DIY Movie Theater: Create a home theater with blankets and pillows and have a movie marathon.

  4. Camping Indoors: Set up tents in the living room.

  5. Fancy Dress Day: Everyone wears their fanciest or silliest outfits.

  6. Picnic in the Park: Pack a lunch and eat it outdoors.

  7. Bake Together: Make cookies or a cake from scratch.

  8. Blanket Fort Build-off: Who can build the coolest fort?

  9. Breakfast for Dinner: Pancakes and syrup for supper? Yes!

  10. Dance Party: Blast some music and dance like nobody's watching.

  11. DIY Craft Day: Paint, color, or make jewelry.

  12. Stay Up Late: Extend bedtime by an hour.

  13. Karaoke Session: Sing your hearts out!

  14. Backward Day: Wear clothes backward and eat dinner for breakfast.

  15. Choose the Meals: Kids decide the menu for the day.

  16. Video Game Hour: Play video games together.

  17. Pet Day: Treat the family pet to special treats and a longer playtime.

  18. At-home Spa: DIY facials, manis, and pedis.

  19. DIY Pizza Night: Everyone makes their own mini-pizza.

  20. Board Game Marathon: Bring out all the board games and play together.

  21. Balloon Party: Fill the room with balloons and have fun bopping them.

  22. Scavenger Hunt: Create a fun treasure hunt around the house.

  23. Storytelling Hour: Make up and tell stories to each other.

  24. Homemade Science Experiments: Safe, fun experiments using household items.

  25. Water Balloon Fight: Head outside and get drenched (weather permitting).

  26. Theme Day: Pirates? Unicorns? Choose a theme and go with it.

  27. Stargazing: Lay on the grass and look at the stars.

  28. Picnic Indoors: Set up a picnic in the living room.

  29. Choose the Music: Kids control the playlist for the day.

  30. Sidewalk Chalk Art: Decorate the driveway or pavement with chalk.

  31. Bubble Madness: Make and play with giant bubbles.

  32. Nature Walk: Go on a hike or explore nature.

  33. Dress Up Parents: Let the kids pick out your outfits.

  34. Book Marathon: Read as many books as possible together.

  35. DIY Photo Booth: Set up a booth and take silly photos.

  36. Visit a Petting Zoo: Spend a day with farm animals.

  37. Random Acts of Kindness: Do something kind for a neighbor or friend.

  38. At-home Beach Day: Lay towels, play beach music, and wear sunglasses indoors.

  39. Build a LEGO City: Construct a massive LEGO creation.

  40. Bike Ride: Head out for a family bike adventure.

  41. Slime Making: Craft some DIY slime.

  42. Messy Art: Use finger paints or other messy mediums to create art.

  43. Mud Puddle Jumping: If it’s rainy, why not?

  44. Homemade Playdough: Make and play with DIY playdough.

  45. Dance in the Rain: Grab your raincoats and have fun.

  46. Living Room Concert: Kids put on a show.

  47. Glow Stick Bath: Add glow sticks to bath time.

  48. Homemade Ice Cream: Whip up some DIY ice cream.

  49. Campfire in the Backyard: Roast marshmallows and tell stories.

  50. Decorate Their Room: Let them choose new arrangements or add new posters.

Remember, "Yes Day" is about fun, creativity, and spending time together. I have more Yes Day Ideas for you here! Enjoy the spontaneity and cherish the memories!


Psychological Benefits and Challenges of a Yes Day

1. Building Trust and Empathy:

  • Discuss how saying 'yes' can build trust between parents and children, showing kids that their interests and desires are valued.

  • Explain how this practice can develop empathy as parents more deeply understand their children's perspectives.

2. Decision Making and Consequences:

  • Explore how a Yes Day can be an excellent opportunity for children to learn about decision-making and living with the consequences of their choices.

  • Include insights on how parents can guide their children to make thoughtful decisions.

3. Balancing Freedom and Boundaries:

  • Delve into the importance of setting boundaries even within the freedom of a Yes Day, teaching children about limits and safety.

  • Discuss strategies for parents to maintain a balance between permissiveness and necessary restrictions.

4. Emotional Development and Expression:

  • Analyze how a day of affirmative responses can encourage children to express their emotions and desires more openly.

  • Discuss the role of such days in helping children understand and articulate their feelings.

5. The Challenges for Parents:

  • Address the challenges parents might face, like letting go of control or managing their own stress and expectations during a Yes Day.

  • Offer advice on how parents can enjoy the day while still upholding their parental responsibilities.

6. Long-term Impacts:

  • Speculate on the long-term benefits of occasional Yes Days, such as improved parent-child relationships, better communication, and increased creativity in children.

  • Discuss any potential downsides if Yes Days are not managed properly.


Final Thoughts

So there you have it, fellow mom, the heart and soul of what "Yes Day" truly means. It's not just a marathon of nodding along to every wild idea our little ones come up with, though that's certainly part of the fun. It's about saying yes to a day filled with giggles, yes to understanding their little world better, and yes to creating those sticky, messy, but oh-so-wonderful memories that stick around way longer than the crumbs on the sofa.

Think of "Yes Day" as a little vacation from the regular rules. It's a day where we can let our hair down (and maybe find it mysteriously braided or colored with washable markers). We trade in our "No" hats for ones that say "Sure, why not?" and watch as our kiddos light up with the magic of being in charge.

But remember, amidst the pillow forts and ice cream sundaes for lunch, it's not just about granting wishes. It's a golden opportunity to teach them about choices, consequences, and even a little bit about budgeting (because not every wish needs to empty our wallets!).

So, fellow mom in the trenches of parenthood, while "Yes Day" might mean your living room looks like a toy explosion, and your kitchen becomes a DIY pizza parlor, the laughter and love that fill your home will be worth every moment of organized chaos. And let's be real, at the end of the day, when those little heads are resting peacefully (and perhaps a little later than usual), you'll have a treasure trove of memories and maybe even a newfound appreciation for the everyday "nos" and "not todays."

So go ahead, circle that date on the calendar, plan a little (but not too much, because spontaneity is the name of the game), and dive into a "Yes Day" adventure. It’s parenting, after all, and sometimes the best moments come from the most unexpected yeses.

Up next, The Official Yes Day Parents Guide!


Hi! I'm Jen, and I'm thrilled you stopped by!

I am a certified life coach, mother of five, wife, founder of the non-profit Eye on Vision Foundation, entrepreneur, Christian, and friend. I live, play, work and worship in the Orlando, Florida area.

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