Setting Ground Rules for “Yes Day” and Our Yes Day 2019

Let’s talk about setting ground rules for “yes day” and our Yes Day 2019.

A few years ago we started having a “Yes Day” each summer.

What is “Yes Day” you ask?

I’m not sure if there is an official definition of Yes Day but I consider it a day where the kids get to make plans and decide what to do during that day.

They have more freedom than the typical day and their parents say “Yes” to the plans the kids decide.

How We Do “Yes Day”

When people hear that we have Yes Day they are often very surprised.

I’m a pretty hardcore mom and others are shocked that I’d allow the kids to be in the drivers seat for planning their day.

Yes, they get to PLAN Yes Day. But it doesn’t mean that all rules go out the window.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t have “veto” power as the parent.

yes day rules

Our Ground Rules for “Yes Day”

I have very clear rules regarding Yes Day for my children.

Yes Day is a SPECIAL, FUN day. It’s a privilege. A gift from me to my kids.

It is not something that is required of me to allow of them. It is not a right of theirs.

Deciding on the Date

We always have our Yes Day during summertime on a date that MOMMY chooses.

I pick a day where we have nothing planned so the kids can have a blank canvas to work with in organizing their day.

Leading up to the day the kids come up with their plans for the day and we discuss them TOGETHER.

Working Together in Planning Yes Day

Yes Day isn’t a day where everyone does every little thing they want to do.

It’s a day that is well-planned in advance and organized.

The kids work together in making their plans.

They write out things they each want to do, to eat, to play and figure out a compromise for ways to make sure everyone gets to have items included that are important to them!

Each child knows they won’t get to do everything they want to do, so they learn to prioritize their favorite items in planning with their siblings.

Mommy Veto Power

In planning Yes Day I also explain to them that Mommy has VETO POWER.

They can plan the day, but their plans have to align with our regular schedule.

We have a toddler who isn’t going to miss nap time. I don’t care what the older kids do during nap time but we will be at home for that period of time.

They can choose what they eat, but healthy options still have to be part of the meal plan.

I don’t care if they choose strawberries, grapes, watermelon or blueberries – as long as a fruit is on their plates.

They know that Mommy has the power to say NO when they make their plans and they have a goal in mind when mapping out their day – plan it so Mommy doesn’t have to say no.

Balancing the Amount of YES in Yes Day

I am present when my children make their plans for yes day and help guide them in their choices.

They know the non-negotiable Yes Day rules and know their limits.

They may watch a movie of their choosing – but it must be a movie that we’ve already watched as a family and has been “Mommy approved”

They may have a special treat for breakfast – but that means they have to have healthy things at the other meals of the day.

They can stay up late that night – but that means they will all be having nap time the following day.

I like to set them up for success in enjoying the day by letting them know upfront what boundaries and limits exist for it.

In order for it to be a day where Mommy says YES all day long – they need to choose things that they know Mommy will say “yes” to πŸ˜‰

Our Yes Day for 2019

Our Yes Day this year fell on Thursday 13th.

Britt wrote out the plans with Kye and Tess in the car leading up to the day!

Daddy was sweet enough to pick up donuts the night prior so the kids could have their special breakfast of donuts and ice cream (If you’ve never tried it IT IS AMAZING).

The kids have been LOVING the summer reading program at our local library so they spent some time that morning writing out all their books they read to turn in the forms!

yes day rules

During Spear’s morning nap the big three wanted to watch movies and wanted to watch Tom and Jerry.

I’m not a HUGE fan of it but they watch it at school sometimes and we have some random dvd versions that apparently came from China so it was a generous “Yes” I didn’t mind giving!

After a bit of movie time they played board games together which was very sweet and they got along SO WELL.

Yes Day is a team effort and I think it really encourages them to ENJOY each other!

For lunch they had a picnic outside with their swimsuits on so they could quickly start swimming after eating!

yes day rules

We all had swim time with Spear included until nap time!

yes day rules

During naps they wanted to…shocker…have more screen time.

Can you tell I’m pretty limiting on the amount of screen time they have on a daily basis?

Limiting things like this allows for bonus time to be a special treat!

Kye played video games and the girls played games on their tablets together.

After naps Daddy happened to be home which worked out perfectly as he kept Spear so I could take the older three by the library to get more books on our way to the mall to play games at the Fun Factory before dinner!

We headed to the mall and the kids were SO disappointed when we got there and found out the Fun Factory was closed.

We let Zach know to go ahead and head up to the mall to meet us for dinner and just checked out the dining options at the mall (which are SLIM).

The girls found the Mickey items at Zales πŸ˜‰ Diamonds and Disney are a great blend!

yes day rules

The kids all chose an option from the “food court” for dinner. The girls chose CFA (shocker) and Kye got a burger from a random restaurant.

For dessert we went to Menchie’s which is a Froyo place we’ve never tried before.

It was SO GOOD.

The kids all loved it and Zach said it’s his new fav local ice cream place!

We got home at bedtime but the kids had planned on night swimming which requires it to be DARK so they hung out a bit and waited for it to get dark enough to qualify for swimming at night.

I wanted to take part in the night swimming FUN and it was such a blast together!

I usually don’t swim-swim with the kids as I’m always handling Spear and helping him swim. So they LOVED having me in the water with them to play games and jump in together!

It was one of my favorite moments of the summer so far πŸ™‚

Tess said “do we need sunscreen?”

It cracked us all up so we officially became TEAM NIGHT-SCREEN and yelled our team name every time we did group jumps together into the pool.

We also played Marco Polo which is legit HARD when you don’t cheat and peek!

The original plan for Yes Day was to end with a sibling sleepover but it was literally 9:45 when we got done with the night swimming – which is basically like midnight for my kids haha.

So Zach and I were both a solid NO on the sleepover.

The kids got ready for bed and when I went to tuck them in?

After our SUPER FUN DAY?


Britt was crying. Literally crying. Because she didn’t get to have a sleepover with Tess.

And Kye was complaining that the Fun Factory was closed.

And my first reaction? I felt BAD FOR THEM.

Then I got downstairs and Zach told me that they had been complaining to him about it and he told them they better not complain to Mommy since I’d been the one to put the work and effort into having the day happen.

Oh y’all.

I went from COOL MOM to HEATED MOM.

Entitlement is like my PET PEEVE.

The next morning? It was ON.

We had a BIG TALK about appreciation and gratitude and how special things won’t be happening as often because they aren’t appreciating them.

And I’ve stuck to it.

I usually plan our summers FULL and I’ve stopped. We travel a lot and when we’re home? We are AT HOME.

We have a schedule and we stick to it every day and I have ZERO guilt about it.

And ya know what? It’s still been a great summer! They’ve still had fun. We’re still making great memories.

Every day doesn’t have to be some exciting adventure. And less is MORE. The less we do the MORE they appreciate the things we do!

The Future of Yes Day

Will Yes Day happen again? Yes.

I think there are lots of benefits to it and I like that it’s a special day every summer.

But my goal? Is that next year the kids are truly appreciative of the day and the experiences they get to have! And of course, the Yes Day rules are not going anywhere.

yes day rules

Have you done a “Yes Day” before with your kids? What were your “Yes Day” rules?

Sharing is caring!

Emily Parker

Hey Y’all, I’m Emily! I’m a stay at home mom and consider parenting to be my passion. Disney is my happiest place and I love making memories as a family together. I’m a big believer in transparency and share all of my real-life moments as a mother of four.

My work has been featured on Love What Matters, Today Parenting and Babywise.Life. I’m also honored to be a member of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network.

You can read more about our family on my About Me page. Also be sure to follow along with me on Instagram, FacebookΒ and Pinterest!

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


  1. Ramsey
    February 17, 2021 / 1:46 pm

    I liked reading your article, but I didn’t see a lot of Yes day happening. This should be a day children can ask for things you normally wouldn’t say yes to. However, what I really want to point out is that I didn’t see your children explaining their frustration with some of the plans they had in place not working out as being unappreciated. They had to have a lot of these plans in place day and weeks in advance and they didn’t work out. That’s disappointing to children for sure and they are trying to cope with that feeling. As an adult, if you had planned a vacation and couldn’t see an attraction you were excited about, you would also complain. It’s not that you aren’t grateful for your vacation, it’s that you are sad about something you were excited about. That’s probably how the children felt. This is the time as a parent we help our children with these life long coping skills on how to make the most of a disappointing situation. How to acknowledge the disappointment and how to actively get past it.

    • February 17, 2021 / 3:16 pm

      Thank you for this insight!!! I really appreciate it and take it to heart – because YES after a year like 2020 we ALL have felt so much disappointment over things that others may say are minimal but are important to us. It’s important to meet our kids where they are at and I dropped the ball on that opportunity and appreciate your thoughts and ways to improve there in the future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *