How to set yes day rules: 30 ideas for a perfect yes day
You have probably heard of a “Yes Day!” — a concept popularized by the fun, famous movie starring Jennifer Garner. A Yes Day is a day when parents say yes to any requests from their children. You read that right. A Yes Day means parents are not allowed to say no; and to be honest, that sounds terrifying!
Maybe you’re listing in your head all the reasons why a Yes Day sounds like a bad idea for your family, but the truth is that a Yes Day can be beneficial to both parents and children. With a little bit of planning and boundaries, it can become a day filled with fun memories and moments of connection. If a Yes Day sounds like something you want to try, keep reading to find out how to set up the perfect Yes Day.
IN THIS ARTICLE:
How a Yes Day works
A Yes Day can be pretty simple. This is how it works: Kids choose what they want to do the entire day! Rules are set by the adult caregivers to keep the day safe and relaxed (more on that later) but overall, the children come up with the itinerary.
You know your family the best, but we do recommend planning enough in advance to ensure the rules are followed. However, if there is a spontaneous activity your kiddos want to do in the midst of the day and it complies with the guidelines you’ve set, go for it! Nonetheless, the benefit of planning in advance is that it gets everyone excited about the day. If siblings are working together, it may also encourage teamwork between them.
Sometimes siblings can’t fully agree on an activity to do and they may have conflicting desires. That’s okay! While planning, you may suggest doing one activity for a sibling and another activity for the other sibling. It’s important to encourage equal say and fairness.
Why you should have a Yes Day for your kids
Children are wired to need and seek connection from their parents and other caregivers. When their emotional tanks are “full,” children are prepared to do better in their day-to-day life. When parents interact with their children in a loving, and balanced way, it has a direct impact on their development .
Between the hectic schedules, morning routines, limiting screen time, and preparing for bedtime, it can sometimes feel like we are using the word “NO” a lot. A Yes Day is the perfect opportunity to let loose on our roles as parents and remember what it feels like to be a child — our children are the perfect opportunity to remind us what the world looks like with no responsibilities or stress. A Yes Day is the perfect opportunity to foster more moments of connection and relationship building between family members, give your kids control over their choices (which boosts self-confidence), and for parents to relax a bit and enjoy a day off from the decision-making.
This special day is a good idea for families at any time, but it is especially useful after a period of hard transitions, big changes, or when there has been little time to connect as a family.
List of Yes Day ground rules
A Yes Day has to be enjoyable for everyone, even parents, so it is important to set some ground rules in advance to ensure that the day is relaxing and safe for all family members.
Yes Day Rules examples
Activities can’t be illegal or unsafe (for example, eating something a child is allergic to)
Set a budget per child or for the whole day
No requests can result in permanent consequences (buy a pet for example)
Place a travel limit if necessary
The list above are just some examples. You know your family best, so you can create or modify rules to your liking. For example, if you know your child doesn’t do well with a late bedtime, then you can set the rule that all Yes Day fun has to occur before the day ends.
30 ideas for a perfect Yes Day
If by now you are excited about the idea of a Yes Day, here are some ideas for inspiration:
Go on a road trip
Dress however you want
Eat breakfast foods all day
Go on a park tour around the city
Go to a sports event
Visit a museum or attraction near home
Go to an arcade
Have a movie marathon (at home or at the movies)
Have a crazy food day
Engage in a baking competition at home
Go to your favorite restaurant
A day of water play
Board game marathon
Built a fort in the middle of the living room
Ice cream bar
Outdoor day (go to the beach, a park, hiking)
No chores day
Play “the floor is lava” with the whole family
Set up a ninja warrior circuit around the house
Organize a treasure hunt
Sports day! Try something new or unusual for the family
Toy shopping trip (with a budget!)
Slime and crafts party
Have a pillow, nerf gun, or paint battle
Go to a fair, theme park, or zoo
Do messy science experiments
Play dress up with parents
Have a dance party
Remember, your Yes Day will be unique to your family and each of your child’s personalities, it is the perfect moment to let the creativity flow!
Yes Day FAQ
Q: How often should you have a yes day?
A Yes Day can happen every month, every couple of months, or once a year, this really depends on the family and their needs. Regardless of how often it happens, the important thing is that the day is planned in advance and ground rules are set beforehand so that the day can be safe and enjoyable for everyone.
Q: How does a child earn a yes day?
A Yes Day shouldn’t be treated as a prize for positive behavior, it should be treated as an opportunity for more connection and fun for all family members. As long as the child is behaving in age-appropriate ways, and logical consequences are being used to foster positive behavior, a Yes Day can be implemented at any time.
Q: Should I give my child a yes day?
A Yes Day is the perfect opportunity to have children engage in some creative decision-making and to let their personality and creativity shine. If you feel like your child can benefit from some extra connection time and opportunities for a Yes Day.
Q: Do parents actually do yes days?
Yes! Each family’s Yes Day will look very different from family to family. A Yes Day is meant to be enjoyable for all members of the family, so the activities and rules will be adjusted accordingly to each family’s dynamics and needs.
Q: What are the benefits of a yes day?
The benefits of a Yes Day are both for children and adults alike. A Yes Day can help children release anxiety, feel empowered by the ability to make their own decisions, and can create moments of connection between family members. A Yes Day is a great way for a family to bond and connect.
Note: The content on this site is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice from your doctor, pediatrician, or medical professional. If you have questions or concerns, you should contact a medical professional.
Joseph M. V., John J. (2008). Impact of parenting styles on child development. Global Academic Society Journal: Social Science Insight. http://scholararticles.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/5_16_25p_Joseph_John.pdf