With a defiant and feisty almost-4-year-old, “NO!” is the most used word in our house. In some form or another, my son is told “no” or “don’t do that” constantly throughout his day. Don’t touch your brother, don’t put your finger in your nose, No you can’t eat the dog’s treats!
I recently read an article where actress Jennifer Garner does something called a Yes Day annually with her three kids. She adopted it from a book called Yes Day! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Once a year, her children get to make the decisions on Yes Day. It’s one day a year where her kids decide what they want to do, where they want to go, and who they want to hang out with. Her yes day included rollercoasters, eating junk food, and just having fun with all her kids.
I thought this was an awesome idea because I would have loved having a Yes Day when I was a kid. Plus, I was curious to see what my son would request on his very own Yes Day.
Instead of saying no all the time, I was going to try to say yes for a whole day.
I knew I had to set some boundaries, rules that my son had to follow in order to have a fun and safe Yes Day. Our day had to include little brother (sorry kid), our day couldn’t be dangerous, (i.e., no jumping out of airplanes or rollercoasters), and we still had to be kind and use our manners throughout the day.
When my son woke up, I explained our plan for the day. He was a bit confused, but I could tell he was still processing. I asked what he wanted for breakfast…a waffle. I was shocked; that’s all he wanted. I reminded him he got to choose and make decisions all day. Gummy bears, ok yes. His face was thoroughly shocked; he actually got a yes from a decision he made. He grinned ear to ear and happily ate those gummy bears. He finally got it; he was the decision maker ALL DAY.
Our yes day was not what I expected it to be; it was way more fun and enjoyable than I thought.
I thought our Yes Day would be filled with candy, TV, and utter chaos. I was thoroughly surprised by what he chose to do with his full day of control. He asked to go to his favorite play place, eat at his favorite restaurant, and listen to his favorite music in the car. Don’t worry, he still totally took advantage of the day and ate an endless amount of snacks and candy and watched way more TV than I normally allow. But Yes Day was a great day, a fun and spontaneous day ruled by an almost-4-year-old. I can’t remember the last time we laughed and smiled so much in one single day.
It was a day full of love, adventure, and pure childlike fun. Having a Yes Day reminded me as a mom that childhood is way too short and to just to have fun. At bedtime, I asked my son the best part of the day and his answer was simple: having fun with mommy…oh yes, and eating gummy bears.