Inspired by Awesomely Awake, via The Parent Water Cooler, to have a Yes Day.
Now, I try to do a lot of things with my kids, but I don't think of my parenting as being necessarily child-centered. We limit their extra-curricular activities and constrain their choices most of the time. They have lots of chores, responsibilities, and consequences. I find myself saying "no" a lot, and if I am to be completely honest, there's not always a "good" reason for it. Sometimes it's just because saying "yes" would be inconvenient or would take more time than I think I can spare. So when I read about the idea, I thought it would be worth a try, to help make sure that
We read the book Yes Day! as a prelude and laid out some ground rules the night before. Basically, I promised to say yes to any reasonable request. They had to understand that since there is only one of me (my husband was working) and two of them, they had to realize that there might be times when we could not have simultaneous yeses; I could not do two different things or be at two different places at once. And finally, I tried to make it clear that it was not a carte blanche shopping day.
The kids started the morning watching TV with breakfast. My kindergartener wanted to go to an egg hunt (this was just before Easter) and go to the Children's Museum. I let her take the lead in how long she wanted to spend on an activity and didn't encourage her to move on to something else just because I was getting bored.
When we were at the grocery store, she wanted to go in the lane where you can scan the items yourself. Normally, I say no because it takes too long--no 6 year old can scan as efficiently as a grocery store clerk--but that day I said yes. I also said yes to playing Monopoly (am I the only one who dislikes that game?).
My older daughter wanted to stay in and relax all morning long, so I said yes to deferring chores till the next day. She lounged, watched TV, and texted her friends as much as she wanted. In the afternoon, she asked to go shopping, so I said yes even though I knew it would be a crowded day at the shopping centers. She did try to test the rule about not having a shopping free-for-all, but I stood firm and she had to limit herself to what she had available in her allowance spending account (that did generate a lot of "no" from me).
All in all, it was a wonderful day. My little one said at one point, "this day just cannot get any better!" There was so little stress, and an unexpected side effect is that the girls didn't bicker with each other at all. I realized that my kindergartener just wants to spend more unhurried time together, while my tween needs more down time by herself to decompress. I get that, and I've been trying to carry some of those lessons forward.