Comments 6

My 24 hours of ‘Yes’

If you’re reading this because you think I’ve come up with some new found way of finding happiness or fulfilment, then you might as well stop now.

Truth is, my 24 hours of ‘yes’ was born out of guilt. I’d been a bit harsh on Miss 10. Two days running she had organised a playdate with a friend, and 2 days in a row I’d had to say no. While the first ‘no’ was based on a very legitimate reason, the second ‘no’ was not one of my proudest parenting moments.

No amount of telling her I was wrong, apologising or offering to fix the situation by magic-ing up an instant playdate seemed to help. Apparently all I ever say is ‘no’.

In a moment of madness, I turned to Miss 10 and offered to make it up to her by giving her ’24 hours of ‘yes’ – for 24 hours I had to say ‘yes’ to anything so long as it was within reason, and so long as each request only had to be granted once. Given it was a Friday night, rolling into a Saturday I figured what the heck.

My 24 hours of ‘yes’ has just finished. During that time I had to say ‘yes’ to:

  • Drinking lemonade and eating chips after dinner
  • Giving her 4 technology points (only 4 – I need to teach her to think bigger!)
  • Letting her stay up til midnight (that was never going to happen)
  • Letting her have an icecream in a cone for breakfast
  • Taking her to her favourite café for a mince pie and a gingerbread man
  • Taking her shopping for a friends’ birthday present (on my ‘to do’ list anyway)
  • Letting her wash and vacuum the car at Wash World (knock yourself out)
  • Letting her have free time on the iPad
  • Walking to the dairy with her to buy her an ice cream

In hindsight I got off pretty lightly, but it has opened my eyes to a different kind of treat or reward to offer – one that is about giving presence and not presents. After all, with a few rules in place saying ‘yes’ doesn’t have to cost a lot. In fact it can even be fun and create opportunities for some really valuable one-on-one time.

So next time you feel like you’ve been a bit grumpy give it a go and see what happens!


  1. I love this Polly! I know I am the “no” person in my family, so I made a more concentrated effort to be a “yes” person over the school holidays. I think in our family it’s me saying no because I’ve prioritised work, so most of the requests were requests for my time – going to the beach, exploring together, having picnics… Of course there were more than a few frozen yoghurt requests as well! It made me really aware of what I have prioritised, and I’ve made a few scheduling changes so that I have two scheduled days off during term time.


  2. I know exactly what you mean Meagan. All they really want is a few moments of your time and I think that’s what I was trying to achieve with this. When I’m busy juggling work, responsibilities and other children it feels like ‘no’ becomes my default.


  3. Amanda says

    Awesome Polly ! We are all guilty of the ‘No Bug’ and also FEEL guilty when our attention is drawn to the fact!
    Nice that you took the time to rectify it with presence!


  4. What a great idea! I’m definitely guilty of being a ‘no’ parent more than a ‘yes’ parent, and often a ‘we’ll see’ parent, which the kids have all figured usually means no anyway. I need to try to say yes more often.


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