Yes Day Ideas: How To Keep Your Sanity While Parenting

yes day ideas, having a family picnic

Welcome to a world where “yes” rules the day!

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, finding quality time to bond as a family can feel like a challenge. There’s work, school, and many other obligations, which sometimes even cause mom burnout, so carving out moments for genuine connection is so important. Enter the concept of “yes day ideas”.

There are days when I feel like I’m always saying no to my kids, and I hate that. I had one recently. My oldest was home sick from school getting over a stomach bug. Luckily she was feeling mostly better and we were just keeping her home another day to make sure she was over it. I was working from home and trying to finish a work assignment. Oh, and there was laundry too.

Because my daughter was feeling great, she wanted a “let’s play!” day. First it was gem art, then it was her new board game. She kept coming up with ideas of what she wanted to do with me. I did some of the things she wanted to, but I also had to say “no” a lot too.

So many no days

Sometimes there’s a weekend day, my day off. (Who am I kidding – moms never have a day off!). I have plans for things I want to do to be productive or to just relax, and my kids have other plans. I get pulled into multiple directions and find myself “mom yelling” or saying “no” – whether it’s to my kids or myself – and it just doesn’t feel good. Someone ends up unhappy, whether it’s my kids or me.

I know that it’s okay to say “no” to my kids – it teaches them boundaries, patience, and that my husband and I are in charge – but sometimes I’m just so tired of saying “no” all the time. I would rather be able to say “yes”, and be happy about that.

So, are “yes days” really a thing? Yes they are! But “yes days” look different from family to family.

What is a “yes day”?

A “yes day” is a day where children get to choose what they’d like to do, within reason. Adults do set some ground rules. Believe it or not, Yes Day is actually a holiday! International Yes Day is March 12th and National Yes Day is December 19th. Yes days gained popularity due to the children’s book Yes Day! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and the movie Yes Day starring Jennifer Garner.

Do children earn “yes day” ideas? No, yes days should not be considered a prize for good behavior. Yes days should be more about creating a stronger connection for the family.

yes day ideas, mom baking with children

Benefits of “Yes Day” Ideas

Yes days have many benefits! As moms, we’re always saying no. We’re tired of saying no, our kids are tired of us saying no. A “yes day” is a good opportunity to feel more connected as a family and for kids to have some control over decisions as long as certain rules are met.

Yes days release anxiety.

My oldest daughter is sometimes nervous to ask my husband or me to do things with her because she is afraid that we will say no. Even to this day, I sometimes get nervous to invite people over in case they will say no! Many of us have a fear of rejection, so having a day where we hear “yes” instead of “no” can make us less anxious.

Yes days create moments of connection.

We feel more connected as a family when we have a day with a lot of yeses. Going into a day where we know that we will be saying yes as parents and our children know that we will be saying yes to them makes everyone happier. Chances are, a “yes day” will help you be a fun mom, and you’ll create lots of memories with your children.

Yes days give children experience with decision making.

Yes days teach children how to make decisions. They get to choose the activities for the day, but know there is a limit on what they can choose. Children learn about setting priorities and preferences to help them choose what they’d like to do for the day.

Yes days teach children to be creative.

Children learn to think outside the box and be creative when planning yes days. They come up with their own ideas and know that we’ll say yes to them as long as they stick to the ground rules.

Yes days give the family something to look forward to.

When a “yes day” is coming up, everyone gets excited! Days can feel draining due to our daily responsibilities so it’s always nice to have a fun day to look forward to. I know my children always like to know what is planned for the weekend and get excited when we’re going to do something that’s enjoyable for them.

Yes days build communication skills.

Children learn different communication skills when planning yes days. They learn about speaking their wants and needs and negotiating. Perhaps a child suggests something that is about to cross one of the ground rules. We may have to push back a bit but then they can negotiate a different option.

Yes days teach gratitude.

Children learn about gratitude. They see that a “yes day” is a special experience, so they value it more. Children are grateful for hearing “yes” and getting to do so many fun activities for the day since a day like that doesn’t happen all the time.

How do you plan out these “yes day” ideas?

Here are some guidelines for planning out a special “yes day” for your family.

Start at a reasonable age for “yes day” ideas.

Ages 5 and up is a good time to start planning yes days. Children at these ages are better at making decisions. They understand more and won’t throw out as many random, unrealistic requests that a toddler would.

Set some ground rules for “yes day” ideas.

It’s a good idea to have some ground rules for a “yes day” so you are better able to say “yes” instead of “no”. Come up with your own rules but here are some suggestions:

  • Parents choose the day that the “yes day” will happen.
  • Children work together to plan out the day.
  • All activities must be safe.
  • Decide how often you want to have yes days, and share that with your children. Once a year? Once a season?
  • Set the budget for the day in advance.
  • All activities must be appropriate for children.
  • Some junk food is fine, but healthy food options must be consumed too.
  • Set a limit on screen time.
  • Set a limit on how late children can stay up.
  • Parents have final veto power (but will only veto when absolutely necessary).

Try to have an open mind about “yes day” ideas.

It can definitely be difficult to give up control and let children plan the day. However try to have an open mind. Our inclination is to always say no. Give the kids some freedom as long as they stick to the ground rules.

Plan “yes day” ideas in advance.

Have conversations with your children in advance to see what they would like to do for their “yes day”. You don’t want to have to say no because something is closed on that day. Things will go more smoothly if a lot of the day is planned out in advance.

Leave some parts of “yes day” open-ended.

You don’t have to have every single minute planned out though. It’s good to have a basic structure for some of the more involved activities, but leave some time for spontaneity too.

Add some elements of surprise for “yes day” ideas.

Make yes days even more fun by having some surprise elements. You can have a “yes day” jar where everyone writes down “yes day” activities, puts them in a jar, and then chooses items from the jar for the day. Another option is a “yes day” wheel that you spin to come up with activities for the day.

Be prepared for “yes day” ideas.

Grab your diaper bag checklist so you can make sure you pack all the essentials you will need for the day – change of clothes, snacks, items to keep the kids amused in case waiting is involved, etc.

Document your “yes day”.

Make sure you take lots of photos on your “yes day” so you have something to look back on. You can revisit yes days of the past and see how they have changed as your children have gotten older.

Reflect on your “yes day”.

Sit down as a family and talk about what went well and what didn’t. Update your ground rules as necessary. Start planning for the next “yes day”!

pin for yes day ideas for kids, keep your sanity while parenting!

40 “Yes Day” Ideas

So now you know about the benefits of having yes days and how to plan one. Here are some “yes day” ideas to help you get started!

  1. Have a picnic in the backyard.
  2. Build a fort out of blankets and cushions.
  3. Bake cookies or cupcakes together.
  4. Have a movie marathon with some favorite films.
  5. Go on a nature scavenger hunt.
  6. Have a water balloon fight.
  7. Create an art project.
  8. Have a dance party in the living room.
  9. Go on a bike ride around the neighborhood.
  10. Make homemade pizza for dinner.
  11. Have a pajama day.
  12. Visit a local zoo or aquarium.
  13. Go to a nearby park and play on the swings.
  14. Have a family game night.
  15. Make homemade ice cream or popsicles.
  16. Go on a hike and explore nature trails.
  17. Have a treasure hunt with clues around the house.
  18. Go to a nearby beach and build sandcastles.
  19. Have a backyard campout with a tent.
  20. Visit a local farm or petting zoo.
  21. Have a spa day with homemade face masks and foot soaks.
  22. Go on a scenic drive and have a picnic at a lookout point.
  23. Have a mini Olympics with fun outdoor games like relay races.
  24. Visit a nearby museum.
  25. Go to a local botanical garden and explore the beauty of nature.
  26. Have a themed dress-up day.
  27. Go to a nearby lake and rent paddleboats or kayaks.
  28. Have a cooking competition where each family member makes a dish.
  29. Visit a local amusement park or waterpark.
  30. Have a science experiment day where you do different experiments with household items.
  31. Have a picnic at a local park and fly kites.
  32. Visit a nearby historical site or landmark.
  33. Have a family karaoke night.
  34. Go on a sunset hike and watch the stars come out.
  35. Visit a local indoor trampoline park.
  36. Have a family bike ride to a nearby ice cream shop.
  37. Go to a local farmers market and pick out fresh fruits and vegetables.
  38. Have a DIY mini golf tournament in the backyard.
  39. Have a family photo shoot in a scenic location.
  40. Go to a local bowling alley and have a friendly competition.

35 More “Yes Day” Ideas

  1. Have a family talent show.
  2. Have an outdoor movie night with a projector and white sheet.
  3. Go to a local arcade and play games like air hockey and skee-ball.
  4. Have a car wash day where kids can wash the family car.
  5. Go to a nearby indoor play center.
  6. Visit a local art gallery.
  7. Visit a local indoor rock climbing gym.
  8. Have an outdoor waterpark day at home with sprinklers.
  9. Visit a nearby butterfly garden.
  10. Visit a local science museum and explore hands-on exhibits.
  11. Have a family day at the park with a picnic and games like frisbee and soccer.
  12. Have a tie-dye day with plain shirts and socks.
  13. Have a backyard carnival with games like ring toss and bean bag toss.
  14. Go on a nature walk and collect leaves, sticks, and rocks.
  15. Set up a lemonade stand in the living room.
  16. Build a birdhouse or bird feeder.
  17. Have a puppet show with homemade puppets.
  18. Set up a DIY photo booth and take silly pictures.
  19. Have a backyard campfire and make s’mores.
  20. Go on a scenic train ride.
  21. Go on a horseback riding adventure.
  22. Visit a local farm or orchard for fruit picking.
  23. Have a family yoga session.
  24. Have a family storytelling night where each family member tells a tale.
  25. Go on a horse-drawn carriage ride.
  26. Have a family painting session with easels and canvases.
  27. Go on a zip-lining or ropes course adventure.
  28. Have a family book club and read a book together.
  29. Have a DIY music jam session with homemade instruments.
  30. Go on a hot air balloon ride.
  31. Visit a local cultural festival or fair.
  32. Have a gardening day and plant flowers or vegetables.
  33. Go on a whale watching or dolphin sighting excursion.
  34. Visit a nearby historic village.
  35. Have an astronomy night with a telescope.
yes day ideas, mom and daughter baking

It’s clear that saying “yes” can open doors to unforgettable experiences for families.

By embracing the wishes of your children, you not only create cherished memories, but also nurture a sense of trust, love, and communication within the family. I hope that the tips and ideas I shared serve as an inspiration for a day filled with laughter and enjoyment.

Take a break from saying “no” and say “yes”! What are you going to plan for your next “yes day”? Let me know below!

Here’s to saying “yes” to the moments that matter most!

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