By now you’ve surely heard of a “Yes Day.” This trendy day where kids rule for 24 hours, and whatever they ask for you, the parent, say yes to. Well, after reading some, “Do it!” articles and just as many not so enthusiastic articles, I decided to give it a whirl. I figured the winter break week would be the perfect time for the kids to have at it, and so I set the plan into motion.
First, I established some rules with my girls. They were simple parameters to help keep the day a fun and positive experiment.
Rule 1: I could say no to keep them safe or if the request was way too crazy. This one made the most sense to the kids and they had no complaints – of course they wanted to stay safe. They then spent about ten minutes thinking of the craziest requests I would be able to say no to – can we lick the sidewalk? No. Can we fly to Disney? No. Can we go to the beach and kiss hermit crabs? No, and why would you want to? Fits of giggles later we were onto the rest of the rules.
Rule 2: Once the budget had been diminished, we were done. This rule brought about lots of questions about how much money we could spend and all I said was, I would let them know. Honestly, I didn’t have a fixed budget in my head but I wanted them to still think about what they really wanted before they started asking for huge toys and lavish items.
Rule 3: The day had to be based on things they both agreed on. I wouldn’t say yes to one person if it was not something the other person wanted to do. Easy enough.
Rule 4: Any bickering or fighting immediately cancels Yes Day. This was my most important rule. If they had a difference of opinion, they had to work it out like thoughtful calm human beings. (A fight free day was a huge win in my book).
First request, “Can we have Starbucks for a treat?” Yes. YES! YESSSS! Coffee! Warm, caffeine infused goodness and they think it’s on their terms, wahooooo! The barista greeted me and I ordered my deliciously decadent holiday flavored drink and got a reply of, “Oh I’m sorry, we are out of that flavor.” What? No! Didn’t she know it was Yes Day?! I actually dramatically slow motion yelled, “Noooooooooooo,” outloud to the poor bleary eyed teen staring back at me like I was crazy. But I quickly got it together and ordered something else. A couple of cake pops and a latte later and we were ready for the first big event.
They discussed their ideas carefully and decided they wanted to try an arcade. They had heard about Dave and Busters from their friends and wanted to go – so go we did. They played game after game giggling and collecting tickets. After that we were off to lunch. One daughter wanted food court Chinese. Yes. The other a pretzel. Yes.
Then they wanted to go to the movies. Yes. And sit in the front row. (Grumbles by me). Yes. I never want to sit in the front row, nobody does. But they wanted to try it – and when we left the theater my little one said, “Wow, I know why you don’t like the front row, I had to sit weird to see.” (Oooh bonus Yes Day lessons).
What else did they ask for? Dinner at a boring chain restaurant and dessert, a snuggle night while we watched cartoons, listening to their choice of radio station in the car, and a trip to Target to use their own gift cards. Yes, yes and yes.
So, was this Yes Day worth it? Yes. I’m not going to sit here and pretend it was a mind blowing revelation, aha moment kind of day. It wasn’t. I know my kids, and I pretty much knew what kind of things they were going to ask for. It was worth it because I put the power in their hands for the day. It gave them a sense of importance and worth because they got to be the decision makers. They learned a little about decision making and compromise but more than that, we had fun.
We let go, we put the phones and iPads down and just had fun. Sometimes it’s important to just go with the flow and let go of the reigns a little bit. There were no meltdowns and fights as they discussed what to do and they really didn’t ask to go over and above. They instinctively knew what was acceptable and stuck to some simple things that gave them a fun day.
Will I do it again, maybe. Will I do it again soon? No. A Yes Day has to be a once in awhile treat, for the benefit of my wallet. But, what I will do is this; I will let the kids make more of the day to day choices. Why not? Decision making is an important skill to learn so why not start it at home in a fun way.