Make “Yes Day” A New Family Tradition

by | Oct 31, 2019 | Family, Tips

Please share!

Ever Heard of Yes Day?

Girl dancing on the grass

A few years ago, a colleague gave me the book, Yes Day by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld.  As I read the story about a young child who has a “yes day” once every year that her parents cannot say no to her wishes, my children became increasingly intrigued and wanted to do our own yes day.  Without hesitation, I immediately agreed.

Have you ever noticed how often you say “no” to your children.  It starts at a young age as you see them picking up a strange item off the ground and immediately putting it into their mouth, or when they ask you to read the book for the hundredth time before bedtime, or they want to just stay home this one day from school.  Kids do like to ask many things, some just plain crazy, just in case, in that one instance, you say yes.  

Unfortunately, I was one of those parents, who sometimes needed to be reminded that saying yes could be freeing.  That life didn’t need to be planned out, and that one day, eating pizza for breakfast would be a thrill, and would not ruin the good habits they had in place.  We could use a yes day as an opportunity to spend quality time as a family, and just plain have fun.

Preparing for a Yes Day

As much as I want to say I am “go with the flow”, I do need a little structure.  For sure for the youngest children in the family.  

First we would pick out a date that would work for the entire family to be a part of the festivities.  We then set a few ground rules. Here are a few sample rules:

  1. Must be an activity that all can participate in.
  2. Must be something that is only for that day.  (My daughter tried to get us to buy a dog, but unfortunately the responsibilities last well beyond that one day.)
  3. A budget.  For children old enough to understand this concept, it is important to talk about what may be feasible for the day. 
  4. The day is about activities together, not about getting stuff.

Sometimes we will discuss what some of the food requests will be that day, just so I can go to the grocery store ahead of time and be a little prepared.  As they got older, they liked to keep it a secret until that day, which was fine, but we had an agreement that I would only go to the store once, so they had to tell me at the beginning of the day.

Ideas for a Yes Day

It can be overwhelming for young children to think about what they want to do for Yes Day, therefore you may want to brainstorm some of these ideas before the date.  A great thing is to read the picture book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld before the day.

Remember this is about fun, but it can also be about letting them break a few “rules”.

  • Breakfast in bed
  • Stay up as late as they want
  • Going on a park tour – visiting as many local parks as possible throughout the day
  • Waterpark
  • Family dance party, and yes, parents need to do the wacky dances
  • Movie with a special treat
  • Picnic on the living room floor
  • Outdoor picnic and hike
  • Arcade (My kids like to pick that restaurant with the few arcade games that I always say no to.  It is a thrill on yes day when I have to fork over a few quarters to play them.)
  • Fun restaurant
  • Crazy dinner, with dessert first
  • Water fights – mom and dad get soaked too!
  • Buy a new game and have a family tournament
  • Trip to Target where they each get one new toy (I definitely have a budget for this)
  • Play in the mud
  • Play Board Games
  • Family Campout in the Living Room
  • Run, play, and have fun!

Bringing the Family Together

  1. Teamwork – The children have to plan the day which means they have to get along.  Everyone needs to be satisfied with what is decided.
  2. Creativity – Have your children be imaginative.  Give them some ideas, but then let them run with it.  This year, my children thought it would be extra fun to first draw out what they wanted to do.  Then we had to guess what they wanted based on their drawings. They had a blast with this extra twist.  Or what if they put a bunch of ideas in a basket and you randomly picked out what you would do next?  
  3. Quality Time Together – This is just a day where we all want to relax.  It is amazing the simplest things that the kids will ask me to do, and I just have to say yes.  Sometimes I have to wear a silly hat in public, or drink a made-up drink. We all laugh and now we have built many memories to share for years to come.
  4. Day to Look Forward to – All year long, we add things to our imaginary list of things to ask for on yes day.  This is a day the whole family can look forward to, because you just never know the adventure that you will have.

What are some of your ideas for Yes Day?  Share in the Facebook Group or in the comments below.

Cover of Yes Day book

By Lisa Edwards, Parent Coach


Make “yes day” a new family tradition

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