What Is a Yes Day? Here's Why Your Family Might Need One
If there's one unspoken truth about getting older, it's that as life becomes more complex, the word "No" starts creeping into your daily parlance with greater and greater frequency. For a few years now, one of the funniest and most popular family channel video trends on platforms such as YouTube is "24 Hours of Saying Yes," wherein the parents have to say yes to everything their kids want for one full day. This month, the 24-hours-of-yes trope makes its feature-length debut in Yes Day, a Netflix movie based on Amy Krouse Rosenthal's book by the same name, and starring Jennifer Garner and Edgar Ramirez as parents Allison and Carlos. The film is a lot of fun—with plenty of comical moments. And after watching it, it's not unreasonable to wonder: Do I need a Yes Day?
Turns out, Garner doesn't just play a Yes Day mom on TV, she's also a Yes Day practitioner in real life. And it's not scary, she says.
"We don’t do anything huge," she says. "Truth be told, it’s really more about a kid getting to just bend the everyday rules. It’s ice cream for breakfast, sleeping outside in the yard, and… I do something with them called Coach Mom where I make them run laps and do push-ups—for fun, not in a serious way—but they’ll do Coach Kids, and they’ll make me do all kinds of crazy things.
"My kids’ Yes Days are a surprise, which is different from the movie. We wake up, I’ve cleared my day, I’ve cleared their days, and I just say, 'Hey, guess what, kids? It’s Yes Day!' And by then I’ve already planted little things in their mind like, 'Wouldn’t it be fun if we went to the cake decorating place and everyone did a cake?'"
In fact, Garner says that her IRL Yes Days make everybody in the family happier—and Yes Days can be a good reminder to disengage with the automatic 'No' that so often comes with busy parenting.
"It feels great when you give in to just saying yes," Garner says. "It feels great. Everyone should give it a shot, especially with your kids. I think my knee-jerk reaction is so often 'No.' I think my baseline is 'No.' For me, it’s all so carefully woven together every day with three kids: all their asks, their friends, their activities, and all the things that they’re trying to do. And you just feel like we can’t, we can’t fit more in.
"But I think having a Yes Day is just a great way to celebrate families. And it isn’t about doing something huge all the time. For my family, it really is about my kids hearing me say from the beginning of the day all the way through, 'Yes, what do you want to do? Top priority.' I put my phone down, and I just focus on them."
Related: 11 Inspiring Netflix Documentaries
Yes Day is out now and streaming on Netflix. But if you're in the mood for something a little bit shorter, here are some of our favourite 24 Hours of Saying Yes videos from around the internet:
Hannah From Buzzfeed
Kaycee & Rachel in Wonderland
Would you ever have a Yes Day in your family? What do you think your kids would ask for? In the meantime, for non-Yes Days, check out the Tatler Guide to the Best International Schools in Hong Kong.