Irish Daily Mail


- Anitaclear­

ANITA CLEARE is a parenting expert and coach, co-founder of the Positive Parenting Project and author of The Work/ Parent Switch: How To Parent Smarter Not Harder. She says: A YES Day is a bit like a team-building day at work, where you go off on an outward-bound course and solve problems together.

Its purpose is to reduce hierarchy and destabilis­e the dynamic, so you see people in a slightly different light. It’s a bonding exercise and when done well — as a very occasional treat, not every day — it can really improve your relationsh­ip with your children.

It works best when parents are involved in activities we wouldn’t normally do — like gaming with teens, or doing something messy with little ones — and when we find an unexpected enjoyment in it and really have fun. Our children understand us differentl­y as a result, and vice versa.

In general, it’s good for children to explore the edges of what they’re allowed to do — but the fact is a lot of them are quite likely to want to eat junk food all day or spend 24 hours on screens.

You might want to think about how you apply the principles of Yes Day to make the most of it without completely erasing boundaries. Perhaps by saying it’s a Yes Day for activities but not for food.

Having said that, when you take away the forbidden aspect of sweets for breakfast, you might find children discover for themselves how unsatisfie­d all that sugar leaves them, which is not a bad lesson.

When children ask whether they can do something, it’s good to stop and think: can I say Yes to this? Is it going to take us as a family to a new and interestin­g and refreshing place?

This past year we’ve got so used to saying No, it’s what lots of children have come to expect. No, it’ll make too much mess. No, we can’t spare the time. No, I don’t have the energy.

It’s our job to set boundaries and sometimes be unpopular, but it’s good to have a reset of that mentality too. A Yes Day as a oneoff can do that. But my advice is to challenge ourselves every day to say Yes more often.

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