Keep smiles simple creating a new family tradition, Yes Day!
Smiles are simple. Simple and powerful. Seeing a smile on a child’s face is one of the best feelings. Seeing happiness in children expressed by a smile can eliminate all the dreariness of the world while it shines. Kids these days are harder (and more expensive) to please than ever. How do we get beyond their craving for electronics and media and give them something else that will make them smile and feel happiness themselves?
I heard this idea a while ago. I believe it was on PBS Kids. Make your own family holiday and call it Yes Day. The kiddos can ask for anything to which the parent’s answer is yes. Now of course there have to be some budget and safety guidelines. In my house we explain them at the introduction of Yes Day and they are accepted as simple rules of the game.
Our rules are: it can’t cost money, it can’t hurt anyone (physically or feelings) and it has to include the family. So, yes we can play Minecraft, no you cannot play it solo all day long.
Can we eat in the living room? Yes. Can we watch another episode? Can we can go to the park? Yes. Can I pick your clothes and mine, Mommy? Yes. Can we set up the tent in the living room and camp? Yes.
The requests rolled in all day long. So sweet, so simple. Simple, yet powerful to build memories and family time. Giving kids small bits of control over their own destiny is a healthy exercise for everyone. It makes them happy to have the deciding factor, and it’s refreshing to relinquish the reigns for mom and dad on occasion.
If your house has well kept rules like mine, Yes Day can cause trepidation. I thought it was going to be oh so hard to keep the little ones in check while still allowing the Yes Day to carry out. What if they ask for donuts for dinner?!?! Honestly, if they were creative enough to come up with donuts for dinner, let them have it! No one has ever died from a donut in place of a meal I’m pretty sure. Doesn’t it sound good to you? It does to me. Funny thing was though, my kids didn’t even think that far out of the box.
What they asked for was some of the simplest things. Some things opposite of the regular house rules to get the experience. Some things I’ve said no to recently. If they remembered to ask for it on Yes Day then they must really want it, and my answer was not just the obligatory yes, but enthusiastic seeing their determination. The experience rewards both sides. They get what they want, and the parents gain insight into the minds of the children. It is wholesome, refreshing and simple. Reflecting on it now inspired this post. My heart smiles thinking of the memories and left us all the lesson to keep smiles simple.
Good times do not need to be meticulously planned, elaborate or expensive. We all have the tools to create our own Yes Day. It requires no save the date, no fancy materials or decorations. Just your family. I’m sure as our children grow we may need to spread the Yes Day out into separate days for them both, but that will just multiply the fun! …and likely require an additional rule of no complaining, but that is yet to be seen. : )
So what did my young ones ask for dinner on Yes Day? No, it wasn’t donuts. Or candy. Or cookies. They asked for chicken and bananas! Two healthy foods that are their faves. Proof of parenting done right. I’ll take it when it comes and keep Yes Day a tradition forever to promote our desire to keep smiles simple.
Keep smiles simple and give Yes Day a try! See what pleasant surprises await you. We would love to hear about them too!