It’s every kid’s dream: one whole day where their parents have to say yes, no matter what. 

A yes day is exactly that, and it’s gaining popularity around the country. Parents can set boundaries on what is allowed during their yes day, like how much money can be spent, or whether kids can choose things that have future consequences, such as adopting a pet. But the point of the day is giving kids the freedom to choose what they think will be fun — and for parents to let loose and be kids themselves.

Planning yes day

Laura is a small business owner in Custer, but more importantly she’s a mom to two wonderful kids; Elliott, who’s just turned seven, and Lola, nine. Like many moms, in the hustle of the day to day she often ends up telling her kids “no,” just out of habit. When we asked if she would take on the challenge of a yes day, she jumped at the chance. She realized a change of pace could be good for their family, but also a lot of fun. 

Laura watched the Netflix movie “Yes Day” with her kids and told them they could do one of their own. She set a couple rules starting out: “Our rules were pretty simple. We had to follow general house rules, and nothing that affects the future.” Other than a couple of requests Laura had to veto, like getting a new pet, the kids planned a great day without breaking the rules. “I was nervous about the day before it happened,” Laura says, “my kids had ambitious goals for yes day and I wasn’t sure we could do it all!”  

Yes Day is finally here

When yes day arrived, the kids had a full day planned. After breakfast as a family, Lola picked Laura’s outfit and did her makeup, which she had to wear all day. Then they headed outside in their yard to kick off the day with a silly string fight. 

Once they’d cleaned up, they headed to Rapid City for a day of adventure. The first stop was at a candy store on the way into town, where they bought candies that had bugs inside them. “They look so gross,” says Lola, “but it was fun to try them!” They tried pickle juice flavored soda, suckers with mealworms and crickets, and candy sushi.

After the candy store, they ate real sushi for lunch, which both kids said was a ton of fun to pick out. By this point, Laura says she started to relax and enjoy the day; “It felt like the weight was taken off my shoulders and I could just hang out with my kids and enjoy their company.”

Next they headed to a trampoline park. Laura normally wouldn’t take them, she says, “but this day I did, and it surprised me how much fun I had playing dodgeball, following them around while jumping on the trampolines, and jumping into the foam pit.” The experience also settled some of her fears of the kids getting hurt, which she had worried about in the past.

Winding down

After the trampoline park, the trio went shopping, where Lola and Elliott got to pick out a couple fun toys. They had pizza for dinner with friends in Rapid City and then headed home to Custer. Lola went to a friend’s slumber party after dinner, but Laura and Elliott stayed up late watching movies. “I got to pick the movies out, which I don’t always get to do,” Elliott said. 

After all was said and done, Laura says, “I would recommend it to every family. It was fun and meaningful for the kids, and I enjoyed all the activities they came up with. I think we will definitely do it again; it ended up being such a great bonding experience, and I relished being able to be a fun parent!”

Still not convinced a yes day is for you? Check out our interview with Dr. Trisha Miller, a licensed clinical psychologist in Rapid City. She talks about the benefits of letting your kids make the rules — and you might be surprised how good it is for parents, too!

The yes day idea comes from a book written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld in 2009, and was more recently popularized by the movie “Yes Day” released by Netflix in March. In the movie, the kids sign their parents up for wild antics like wearing silly outfits, having water balloon fights, and going through a carwash with the windows down.

WORDS: ASHLEY JOHNSON
PHOTOS: JESSE BROWN NELSON, LAURA MYERS