If you've ever sat down and listened to a child play you an annoying animated song on YouTube, you know better than to acquiesce to any of their requests for repeats. In fact, saying "yes" to kids can be a dangerous game — but apparently, it's one that some brave parents play for an entire day with their kids. I'd never heard about this most dangerous game until recently, when actress Jennifer Garner had a "Yes Day" for her kids and shared an Instagram post detailing some of their adventures.
"You’ll never need coffee more than the day after 'Yes Day!'" Garner captioned her shot, in which she looked slightly tired. (To be clear, that's not an insult: Garner's tired look is pretty comparable to my everyday look.)
Judging by the Alias actress' hashtags, "Yes Day" is an annual tradition that Garner and her three kids — 11-year-old Violet, 8-year-old Seraphina, and 5-year-old Samuel — have been carrying on for five years now. The tradition was apparently inspired by Yes Day, a book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal in which parents respond "yes!" to all of their kids' requests. Garner called it "a fantastic children's book" in her Instagram post, even though it apparently led to her and the gang sleeping in tents in the backyard.
Now, I'm all for creative days that change up our status quo, but a "Yes Day" sounds like a thing of horror to me — and, judging by their reactions on social media, to plenty of other people, as well. "I was about to give that book to my nephew who's living with me but thought better of it when I read it," one Instagram user, dimwati, commented on Garner's photo. "I don't have the stamina for it."
Mom and writer Gemma Hartley wrote about her own "Yes Day" experiment for Romper in 2015, and the Fruit Roll-Up and pool party chaos that ensued reminded her why it feels so good to say "no" all the time. "The lack of boundaries seemed to push them over the edge of human decency," Hartley wrote. "That, or the sugar."
Would I ever do it again? No. Was I glad I did it? No. Would I ever suggest that anyone try this at home? No.
But not every parent has had a bad experience with "Yes Days," as Garner's five-year-strong tradition proves. After trying her own "Yes Day," one mom wrote that her 5-year-old daughter's requests surprised her in the best way possible: there were no demands for toys, only requests for more time spent playing with her mom and sister. And she found that "Yes Day" forced her to actually sit down with her daughter and explain why she shouldn't do certain things, rather than simply dishing out a quick "no."
Considering trying a "Yes Day" of your own with your kids? Try to schedule it on a day when you know you'll be free of other distractions and commitments, and make sure to lay down some ground rules (such as, "No, we can't afford to go to Disney World, and yes, you do need to eat some real food alongside your ice cream") before the fun starts.
If you do decide to try out a "Yes Day" — or you're simply curious about where this whole phenomenon came from — consider picking up Yes Day by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Even if you don't decide to acquiesce to your child's demands for a full 24 hours, it just might inspire you to say "yes" to a little more silly fun in your day-to-day life. (And if you do decide to try a "Yes Day," please blame Rosenthal or Garner for the inspiration and not me.)
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