Parents with more than one kid know how important it is to have one on one time with each child individually. Life so often gets in the way and we (or at least I do) sometimes forget to stop and take time out to get to know our children as individuals, not just as a set. I find this is particularly true for my older, more serious son.
A few weeks ago I pinned a post from Here Come the Girls, titled Yes Day!, and as happens so often with Pinterest, I didn't actually read the post at first, I simply "pinned it for later." (You do that too, right?) It reminded me of the book Yes Day! by Amy Krause Rosenthal (which, as it turns out was the inspiration for Here Come the Girls's post!) in which a girl experiences one whole day of her parents saying "Yes!" to everything she wants to do.
This summer, I have been able to spend several days with just my 8 year old and primarily they are quiet days. Lots of reading, a walk to the park to birdwatch, a bowl of popcorn and a game. However, one day I decided to have a Yes! Day.
Unlike the girl in the book, however, my son was not aware it was an official "Yes Day!" I didn't make an announcement. I didn't make any grand plans. I simply said "Yes!" to everything he wanted to do.
YES to going to the Central Park Zoo.
YES to panini for lunch.
YES to buying an overpriced ink cartridge to print out his photos instead of waiting for an Amazon shipment.
YES to playing Qwirkle.
YES to riding in the first car of the train, even though the back was more convenient.
YES to soft tacos for dinner.
(I may also have said YES to a glass of wine for me.)
I didn't tell Kiddo it was a "Yes Day!" because I didn't want to my yeses to seem unusual, as if it was a special treat that we followed his lead instead of mine. (I also didn't want him to take advantage of me!) I wanted to normalize the sense of peace, the lack of conflict, and the steady rhythm of contentment. Those are all qualities that are sadly absent from a typical day when I must negotiate the minefield of sibling rivalry.
It was a great day. Instead of chasing after his brother, I could listen to Kiddo tell me all about every single bird we saw at the zoo. I could ask him questions and hear the answer. Even though he never realized what I was doing, I knew he appreciated the day. I could see it in his ease.
Even though not every day can be a "Yes Day!", the success of our time spent together is motivation enough to try and create as many little moments of YES! in each day as it comes.
Have you ever had a "Yes Day!" with your child? How did it go?
In case you are wondering about the photo.... That is a curious demoiselle crane at the Central Park Zoo who suspects Kiddo's shoelace may, in fact, be a tasty bug. After I took that photo we had to hightail it out of there because cranes are not shy creatures and they started to wonder if our legs may be delicious, too.
What a fun day! I love that you didn't tell him about it! Wasn't expecting that.
Natalie F says
Even with one child not every day is a "yes" day, but we had "follow your dreams" day once, and daughter is still talking about it 🙂 I wish I didn't announce it, it would have been even more fun. I'll try it next time...
Amy @ Sunlit Pages says
Erica, this post makes me happy. Ever since reading Yes Day! with my kids, I've wanted to give my kids their own Yes Days, but I was a little unsure how to do it (and, I'll admit, a little afraid of what they might ask for). Your idea of not telling your son that it was a Yes Day sounds perfect. (Did you tell him when the day was done?)
Erica MomandKiddo says
No, I never told him. I wanted it to seem like a normal day as much as possible and didn't want to look back on it as something that wouldn't happen very often.
I think this is the key (not telling to your child that you are having a 'yes day' and treat it a regular day). It works for us and I often do this, most of the time my husband and I split between our two kids and than we switch to have our day with the other child as well. I've noticed that it works better when you have one child only and not try have yes day for both of your children at the same time (maybe it's just us 😉 BTW, I didn't know that a book exists, but I just wanted to have focus on each of my children and have them decide what to do with their time. It also teaches me more about their own individual pace and interest.
Erica MomandKiddo says
Johanna, I think you are absolutely right about two kids. It is MUCH harder to to do it with two kids because inevitably, there requests will clash. I hope you are able to find the book, it's pretty cute.
How was the next day when you had to say “no?” ?
You know, Erica, I can't remember if I read "Yes, Day" 'cause I read so many books! I think it was smart you didn't actually tell him it was a "Yes" day 'cause I think most kids would've taken advantage, and God knows what he would've asked for! lol
When I first saw the photo, I was curious if it was one of your own---and it was! Good thing you didn't hang around 'cause Big Birds aren't always young, yellow, fluffy 4-year-olds on Sesame Street 🙂 My boyfriend had a gaggle of geese run him down when he started feeding them bread. Yep...they were HUNGRY! lol
Glad you had such a great day 🙂
We love yes day at my house. As a teacher with summers off both of my boys get a yes day over the summer. They know that it is happening and wait for it with great anticipation. Their requests must not interfere with anyone else and buying things is not an option! This summer my six year old asked for a canoe ride, fire with s'mores and sleeping in the tent in the back yard. My three year old asked for frog catching at the beaver pond, icecream at the dairy and to stay up late and sleep with his big brother. Yes days always show me what a day would be like if my boys could have anything they wanted all the time. It is eye opening to me their simple requests that make them so happy.
I loved reading this, too 🙂 It IS eye-opening because it makes it almost impossible to ignore how removed from simplicity we can become as adults.
Erica MomandKiddo says
Those sound like wonderful yes days!
claire-Louise Nelson says
I have twin boys of 7 and I sometimes feel the things I do for them within the home and clubs are demands that they know we will do for them from putting their bike in the garden....no out the front....back in the garden all day long ..... having an untold Yes Day maybe just what we all need right now may help pull the reins of routine and maybe even a little sense of calmness back into play:-) thankyou for sharing this xx
Erica MomandKiddo says
Enjoy your Yes Day!