Every summer, we give our two kids a “yes day” of their very own. It’s a tradition that they look forward to with great eagerness every year, and it’s so fun to watch their excitement. I shared the detail of our latest Yes Day for our preschooler on Instagram, and I got a lot of questions about how we decided to do a yes day, how we set it up, and what it looks like. So today, I’m breaking down all of our yes day rules and give you a closer look at how our yes days work!

two young boys at a trampoline park for a yes day

What is a Yes Day?

Let’s start with the obvious. What’s a “yes day”? The idea was made popular by the Netflix movie, Yes Day, with Jennifer Garner and Edgar Ramirez. The movie is based on the children’s book of the same name by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. In it, the kids of the family complain that their mom and dad are too strict, so they decide to give their kids a “yes day”. That means that for a full day, the parents will say yes to anything the kids ask to do.

As you can imagine, chaos ensues and things go sideways really fast. It’s a really cute movie, and our kids loved watching it.

Our Yes Days are quite a bit calmer than the ones in the movie, thank goodness. My older son felt some serious anxiety watching that movie and wasn’t sure about the idea of a Yes Day until I assured him that he could keep his a little calmer.

How does a Yes Day Work?

Obviously, you can do a Yes Day any way that works for your family – there are no hard and fast rules! But here’s a look at how we generally do it.

First of all, we give each of our kids a day. They have very different personalities and are 4.5 years apart in age, so sharing one doesn’t seem fair. We do it in the summer and generally one kid gets a day in June, the other gets one in July. There’s no real rhyme or reason to when we pick the days, it’s just about what works for our schedule. I will say, we give our older son his day first because it’s a good way for the younger one to get an idea of how it all works. Our younger son is about to be 4, so this was the first year he was able to really get a day of his own and fully understand it. After experiencing his brother’s Yes Day, he was beyond excited to have one of his own!

Yes Day Rules

Of course, things will go off the rails really quickly without a few boundaries in place. Here are the ground rules we have for our kids on Yes Days:

  1. Nothing unsafe or illegal. This isn’t a problem now but for teens, they might need a reminder!
  2. We aren’t buying toys or making random purchases for you. Setting a budget for the day can be a great approach to enforcing this!
  3. Requests need to be reasonable (meaning, not too expensive or difficult to accomplish). We’re not going to go adopt a few puppies or anything like that.
  4. We always reserve the right to veto something – and if that’s a problem, Yes Day can be over.

And the most important rule? HAVE FUN! We make sure to keep our phones away most of the day, throw out the normal routine, and make the family’s Yes Day as much fun as we can. It’s such a special treat to be able to do it together, and it’s fun to focus on giving the kids as many yeses in a day as we can.

Basically, we just expect our kids to be relatively reasonable with their requests and remember that it’s a big privilege to get a Yes Day. So, if we need to say no to something, we expect respect and flexibility. It hasn’t been a problem at all, but it’s a good thing to remind them of the guidelines when the day starts!

When we come across a request we have to turn down, we always try to soften the blow with another suggestion. Something like, “we can’t do that today, but what if we….” instead?

What Do You Do on A Yes Day?

preschooler in a mall patrol stroller
young boy eating frozen yogurt on a yes day

Obviously, this varies a lot by kid! My 8-year-old son doesn’t do a ton of planning ahead, or even ask for too much. He loves to use the day as an excuse to skip chores, play extra video games, and stay up past bedtime. We usually have to give him some ideas midway through the day to encourage him to get out of the house and make the most of it.

My younger son, on the other hand, went all out for his Yes Day and we went hard on various adventures all day long! He also spent a lot of time planning his day leading up to it, and knew basically everything he wanted to do before the day began.

It can be helpful to have a quick list of ideas for your kids if they struggle to decide how they want to spend their Yes Day. Here are some thoughts!

Yes Day Ideas

  • Have ice cream for breakfast
  • Play board games as a family
  • Go to an arcade
  • Have a picnic in the park
  • Family dance party
  • Find some new playgrounds in your area
  • Order pizza for lunch…and dinner!
  • No screen time limits
  • Go to a theme park nearby
  • Have a sleepover in the living room
  • Skip working on homework for the night
  • Do a fun craft together (bonus points for one that makes a mess like slime!)
  • Stay in pajamas all day long
  • Have breakfast in bed
  • Visit a new restaurant
  • Build a fort
  • Do some science experiments as a family
  • Make an obstacle course
  • Have a pillow fight
  • Go to a trampoline park
  • Go bowling
  • See a movie in the theater
two boys playing a game at an arcade

Yes Days are so much fun, and we love being able to give our kids their own special day each year. If you’re on the fence about it, I hope this post can give you some encouragement that it’s well worth it. The kids love getting their own Yes Day, and being able to call the shots for a day feels so special. I love watching their anticipation as we lead up to the big day. Plus, it’s fun to see how they get just as excited for their siblings yes day because they know they’ll have a blast too!

Yes Days are a great way to get some quality time with your own family this summer, and this mama can’t recommend it enough!

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