Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Can't say no" day

I find myself saying “no” a lot to the kids. Or “wait a minute”. Or “not right now”. They seem to pick the worst times ever to ask for things! But I read somewhere recently that children’s refusal to do as you ask of them could come down to our refusal to do things they ask of us. I’m trying to be mindful of this advice when they ask me things now. So instead of saying “I’ll just put the noodles on first” when they ask me to come outside and look at their painting, I’ll just go and look at it. Noodles can wait that half a minute and I’ll just have to suck up the fact I just turned the tap on as they asked. I’ve tried it a few times and they seem quite surprised I stopped what I was doing and just did what they asked. I have seen that favour returned a few times, but it’s early days still!
Taking it one fun step further, I decided the kids could have a “can’t say no day” last Friday. Steve was in New Zealand for his brother’s bucks weekend and it was just us for a few days. I just ignored everything else that day and let them decide where we went, what we ate and what we did. The rules were it had to be nearby (we were going to Sydney the next day so I refused to go anywhere far) and as long as they were reasonable requests, I would grant them.
Kids are so predictable – there would be requests for entering the Lego competition at the nearby shops, donuts, McDonald’s, a play in the park, a milkshake, a movie… I was also prepared for demands to look at the toys at the shops and buy cars or Pet Shops but that didn’t happen – I was happy to do so, but they never asked. Not even when we walked PAST the toy section while buying Zak some shoes. Go figure! I wonder if they’re just too young yet to take advantage!! They also asked for – and were granted – lollipops, lemonade with dinner and a ride on the carousel. I nearly tried to talk them out of going to the park – they asked at 5.30pm to go for a scooter ride and play in the park. I was just about to get dinner ready! Instead, we popped our shoes back on and off we went. By the time we got there it was almost dark, but they happily played in the empty playground until I couldn’t see them anymore! We got home around 7pm, had dinner and then they watched a movie until they fell asleep. It was so chilled and relaxed and fun, I might even do it again one day…
Pics via Instagram (@belindagraham) left to right, top to bottom: The kids trashed Zak’s room in the morning while playing anything and everything they wanted; Layla gets to push Immy in the pram; Walking hand-in-hand; Layla and I made a Rapunzel tower; Zak made a “super car” and Immy just kept running away and chewing on the pieces; Happy meals, milkshakes and a play at McDonald’s; donuts on a stick

6 Responses to “can’t say no day”

  1. Georgy says:
    I love this idea of a can’t say no day, I think I might try this Friday as the last day of school holidays. I know what you mean about often saying in a minute because..and on occasions when I have just focussed on the kids for a number of hours we have all had a great time and I have felt a lot more relaxed, rather then feeling continually interrupted. G
  2. Katrina says:
    I love this idea! Might need to try it.
  3. FAB Belinda!
    Love this story…love the *Can’t say no day*!
    Glad you were surprised to by how wonderful your kids were NOT asking for everything!
    Melissa x
  4. heather says:
    I totally love this idea. I’m definitely going to take a leaf out of your book there and try it with my boy too. x
  5. Belinda says:
    thanks guys, I just love that they felt SO special and so happy that pretty much everything was a “yes”! There were some conditions (you can only have a donut king donut if coles don’t have any – they didn’t so they got a donut kind one! and they could only ride the carousel if I got the right change from lunch, which happened.) but they totally got it. definitely one to do as a reward for good behaviour i think! xx
  6. This is something of a tradition in my family — we call it “King For A Day” (or queen if it’s a girl). We generally do it on birthdays instead of a huge party, but I’ll do one to celebrate big accomplishments or to break up the monotony of everyday life. I love getting the insight into what the kiddo truly loves and it does do so much for their behavior. Obviously we can’t live like that all the time, but they sure are great on occasion. I’ve found that giving the kids some power (or the illusion of power) makes them shine. My son has embraced his chances to take on responsibility in ways that continually surprise me. I’m so happy to read that you enjoyed the day too. The idea of doing whatever the kids want to do for a day sounds terrifying in theory, but is usually do much fun!

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