A Two Year Old’s Yes Day
My partner and I are constantly evaluating our parenting. We’re very committed to learning from our “mistakes” (aka life lessons) and passing on as little of our baggage to our kiddo as possible (cutting the roots of generational traumas). It wasn’t strange when one day my partner said, “Do you sometimes feel like we’re almost just waiting to correct his behavior?”
I immediately agreed because he named the feeling I was experiencing so accurately that it resonated right away. My partner’s brilliant solution?
To go deep into observation mode by having an intentional “yes day” with our almost 2-year-old.
What’s a Yes Day?
It’s when you say yes to everything your child wants, obviously with reasonable exceptions such as something life threatening. There’s a movie out about the same concept that neither of us have seen (I’ve seen the trailer but my partner has never heard of it).
Our intention in doing a “yes day” was to observe the ins and outs of our son without “waiting to correct his behavior”. So, when he tried to climb somewhere he shouldn’t, instead of telling him “no” or “get down”, we dropped whatever we were doing, went over there, held his hand, and let him climb with supervision.
What did we learn?
As parents, we noticed that “no” and other verbal correcting words came out of mouths more than we’d like them to. Saying “no” was an easy default.
When we went and assisted him with whatever he wanted to do that’s perceivably “not what he should do”, he was less interested in continuing the behavior, and he seemed to like that we came to his side to go on that mini learning adventure.
Our patience more than double folded for the day as well. Because we intentionally knew we’d give him whatever amount of attention he needed, we were able to access more patience within ourselves. We also saw the times when we’re less likely to engage clearer.
As I said in the beginning, our goal is to parent to the best of our abilities, not be perfect. There will inevitably be times when we simply want or need to choose to do something over playing a game or reading a book with our son. As parents, we’re people, too.
However, we recognized we had more space to show up and be present, too. There are moments when we choose ourselves when we should be choosing him (and vice versa!).
We’re now committed to putting more yeses into our days with our son. Instead of saying “no” and getting irritated, we take a breath, get down to his eye level, and talk to him directly (he mostly responds really well to us when we explain things).
So, go ahead and try a Yes Day with your kiddo! It’s better if you don’t tell them you’re doing it because that way you get to observe from a more authentic place (there could be a feeling of taking “advantage” of the “free pass”). You may also want to pick an intention going into the day, whether it’s simply to observe your child’s needs or just to stay open minded to doing things differently.
No matter what, you’re sure to learn something surprising about yourself as a parent as well as more about your child. Have fun!
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Nadia Rumbolt
Nadia Rumbolt is a mom of many trades, including creative writing, blogging, van life, minimalism, veganism, the beach, nature, and the occult.