As a parent you may find yourself saying “no” a lot. No, you cannot climb a bookshelf. No, you cannot have five cookies. No, you cannot stay up until midnight. It’s your job to protect your children from danger and ensure their health, which often comes with a lot of “nos.” But you can have yes days every once in awhile and create some amazing goodwill with your kids, plus reap a bunch of other wonderful benefits too.
Yes days are days when you say yes to just about anything your kids request all day long with a few pre-determined boundaries in place. It’s important to schedule yes days so you have no obligations on your calendar and nothing stopping you from focusing on exactly what your children need and want that day.
After reading the description you may wonder why anyone would give in to every demand their child has for an entire day. First and foremost, yes days are a tremendously meaningful way to connect with your children. With the redundancy of saying “no” often and the endless shuffling, shushing, and shooing of keeping everyone on task, on schedule, well-behaved, safe and healthy, you need time to show your kids you are not one big nay-sayer.
Saying yes all day long can build mutual respect between you and your children so they feel they have some control of their lives (if only for a short time). This empowerment and freedom often opens the door for your kiddos to share their thoughts and ideas, be more affectionate and of course, have fun. These moments foray into greater self-confidence as you raise independent children.
The first step to planning yes days is discussing the idea with your children. There is actually a wonderful children’s book called Yes Days that outlines how this works and is a great introduction to the concept for you and your kids. Then you need to select a free day when you will schedule nothing but what your child wants. Consider requiring your child to earn their yes days. Once they experience the first one, they will probably work hard towards another.
The next step is to go over the rules, which may vary from family to family. Safety should top the list and you might want to make sure you put in stipulations for some healthful eating (along with the probable pizza and ice cream), a decent bedtime and spending and driving limits (because driving to Disney World is likely not part of the deal).
Ask your children to come up with ideas of what they may want to do so you can discuss timing and prices. If you have more than one child participating in the yes day, they will have to compromise, which is a terrific lesson as well.
Yes days are a fantastic way to show your kids you are listening, you care about their desires and they do have control over many aspects of their lives. This positive message is a healthy step towards improved self-esteem, independence, integrity, and empowerment. Everyone deserves to have a yes day once in awhile. If you aren’t sure now, you certainly will be after seeing the pure joy it brings to your child’s face.
Sources: My Kids Adventures, Red Tricycle and The Natural Child Project