Yes parent

Be a YES parent

Sometimes we get into such a routine of saying ‘no’ to our children,  not out of being a bad parent but just because we condition ourselves into having this response.

D1: “Can I tip this tub of trains out Mummy?”
Me: “No, it’s too messy, you don’t need to!”

I say no because it’s convenient for me. Surely he can play without tipping them all out, and I guarantee I’ll be the one putting them all back into the tub later. D1 looks sad.

Why didn’t I just say yes?

A tipped out tub of trains wouldn’t be that messy, he probably just wanted to see which ones he’d got, and he would have probably helped me pick them up.

D1: “Mummy can we play outside in the rain? ”
Me: “No it’s too wet, and you’ll get filthy!”

I say no because it’s more convenient for me. I don’t want to stand in the rain. I’ll have to wash wellies and dry coats, and even iron fresh clothes. D1 looks sad.

Why didn’t I just say yes? Puddle jumping is fun. Dirt washes away. We have plenty of fresh clothes to put on. Fresh air is good for them and gets rids of their excess energy.

D2: “I play playdoh a bit!”
Me: “No we’ll play with it later I’ve just swept the floor!”

I say no because I’ve cleaned the house and want it to stay tidy. Playdoh is so messy. Plus they’ve just had a bath and don’t need playdoh stuck in their fingernails. D2 cries.

Why didn’t I just say yes? Who cares if I have to sweep again? Will it hurt me?! No! Who cares if they need rebathing? They love the water anyway. They love creating playdoh models, why don’t I use the time to interact with them?


Be A Yes Parent by Becci Nicholls | Photo: © Miredi

Be A Yes Parent by Becci Nicholls | Photo: © Miredi

It’s so easy to say ‘no’ without thinking things through. Children are not an inconvenience.

Do you want to create a tidy house with neatly stacked toys or do you want to create memories to cherish forever?

The truth about YES parenting

All the above are actually real examples, but I learnt a long time ago to say yes whenever I can. Life is too short to be anything less than fun. An untidy house doesn’t matter, but your children do. A simple yes will make their day. Try it out!

My boys love making my garden look a mess. Onlookers would see sand covering every concrete surface, chalk drawings on the floor, fences, and sheds, an upturned police car, water soaked toys, an empty sand pit, and a slide covered in wet sand. My kids see an adventure land / beach. They’ve carefully spilt the sand. They’ve drawn sharks in chalk. They’ve tipped their police car upside down to fix it with their invisible tools. They’ve played. They’ve unreservedly played, and that’s what rears happy children. Fearless children.

Sand can be swept up. Chalk can be washed away. Toys can dry out. Cars can be put the right way up. But children’s memories cannot be faked; they’re either good or not good.

Last week I filled our garden path with shaving foam and hid lots of dinosaurs in the ‘snow’. It was messy from the start. It got even messier when they figured out clapping your hands in the foam created a mini blizzard! I could have easily not bothered, or said no to the clapping but they had so much fun! They even spoke about it the next day! And the worst that happened? We all had to get changed.

Does your babba want three bedtime stories? Why not! Who’s counting anyway? One day they’ll be too big to have a bedtime story so don’t ever refuse them now.

It’s not about saying yes all of the time

Obviously this post is about saying yes more often in regards to fun and play, it’s not about saying yes to everything else. Children need healthy boundaries, but they also need a safe environment to be children. Let your babbas be free to play. Yes parenting is vital to their development.

Try having a day of ‘yes’, let them have fun, messy fun. You’ll enjoy it too and feel much more relaxed!

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48 replies
  1. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    I love love this post. So true and I have never thought of it like that until reading this. I will be more aware of this and try not to say no just because it’s more convenient for me. You couldn’t be more right. So sorry for the delay in commenting while on vacation. I hope to see you again this week! #sharewithme

  2. Loving life with little ones
    Loving life with little ones says:

    This post is really true and has made me think, I often stop them doing something I consider a mess or inconvienience and like you say ‘does it really matter’ I am a lot better than I used to be, watching them playing happily has definitely relaxed my mess meter! There are lots of things I would like to try and I must give them a go. We are huge fans of muddy walks and puddle jumping in our house, the children love it! #letkidsbekids

  3. Merlinda Little (@pixiedusk)
    Merlinda Little (@pixiedusk) says:

    I can see the logic in this hehe. I would usually just sway and not say no actually but ask if we can do something that wont cause mess in the house. I usually bring him out and get him dirty there =P

    I really wanted him to play here and be messy but I am renting so as much as I dont want to say No sometimes I have to. #letkidsbekids

  4. Lauren
    Lauren says:

    i am trying to be as much of a yes parent as I can. Thanks for the great post!

    Ps, it’s Pinky McKay who has shared your post from AUS 🙂

  5. Meg
    Meg says:

    I’ll remember this the next time my 14 month old wants me to read Bear Hunt *again!* sometimes I forget how fast it goes. Thank you for this post xx

  6. Elisa
    Elisa says:

    Love love love this post! I keep thinking that I should be more relax about having a clean and tidy house and let my kids enjoy what little people should do! Sometimes we say no because it’s easier for us.. Thanks for remind me this! x

  7. Sarah Jay
    Sarah Jay says:

    I think the same thing all the time! Yesterday, Isabelle wanted to spread her buttons everywhere….I really would have preferred if she didn’t, but let her do it anyway. It was GREAT fun picking them up when she was in bed………………..

    Great post 🙂

  8. Kate @ Family Fever
    Kate @ Family Fever says:

    I ADORE this post. It rings so true with me. I probably say no too much – purely because it makes my life easier – but actually my kids just want to be kids, and who am I to prevent them from doing that just because it might be a bit messy?

  9. Lauren
    Lauren says:

    Thank you for this reminder! I’ve often thought that I’d like to do a day where I only say yes (obviously, like you mentioned, to the things that aren’t harmful, encouraging bad behavior, etc.). It’s really easy for No to become our automatic answer, even when it doesn’t make sense to say it.

  10. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    Awesome! I try to follow a rule of only saying “no” when absolutely necessary, but I can be guilty of not stopping and seeing why they want to do something NOW or a certain way before I put all of my grown-up rules, delays, and conditions on it.

  11. Anita Cleare
    Anita Cleare says:

    So very true and a really useful reminder, thank you. It’s so tempting to over-parent our children and be on their backs for everything. Or just to say no out of habit or inconvenience. It’s great to throw it all up in the air every now and then and do something different.

  12. Becky Pink
    Becky Pink says:

    Thanks so much for this, a great reminder that we had children to enjoy playing with them, not treat them as dolls! I think we are probably all guilty of this at one time or another, but I am going to try and say yes more ☺️


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