The ‘yes’ effect: have you tried it?

How many times a day do you say no?

The life of a modern parent is beyond busy. We all have so much to to, we spin so many plates that sometimes we say no when we should say yes. Do a little experiment, see how many times in a day you say no to your children.

Now firstly, let me clarify – I don’t mean that “no” to another slice of cake, or a “no” to staying up late on a school night. Of course, we are parents and we have to do just that, we have to parent our children and that does involve saying no to them.

I’m talking about some of the other “nos”, the ones that could be yes without risking a cavity, loosing their respect or the end of civilisation as we know it.

Just try it, count how many times you use that kind of no each day. The next day, try turning one or two into yes and see what happens.

buying for baby

Why say yes?

I know what you might be thinking. If you say yes more, you will have less time to yourself, everything will take longer and there might be other things, important things you can’t do.

The thing is though that parenting is about sacrifice anyway isn’t it. We learn to juggle priorities and manage multiple people’s needs and schedules.

I’ve tried to say yes a lot more lately because I realised something, well a few things really:

They won’t always be this small.

They won’t always fall asleep in the car.

They won’t always want me to cuddle them to sleep.

They won’t always have sticky fingers and a chocolatey face to wipe.

They won’t always cry for me in the night.

They won’t always call my name in the morning.

They won’t always need me or want me the way they do now.


So, as hard as the juggle is, as much as there are 20 other things I need to do at any given moment in time, I’m trying to juggle more so I can say yes more of the time.

Say yes to one more story.

Say yes to one more cuddle.

Say yes to one more puzzle.

Say yes to one more tickle.

Say yes to one more race.

Say yes to one more kiss goodnight.

say yes

The “yes” effect

So what’s the effect of saying yes more? Well, in many cases saying yes actually has the opposite effect of what you’d expect. Saying yes to lots of things like a story, a kiss or a cuddle can mean children settle faster than if you battle backwards and forwards for ages with “no”.

And the rest of the time?

Well, the rest of the time of course saying yes causes that look on their faces, you know the one, the one that says you are a freaking superhero! We all want that don’t we – let’s face it, it’s the closest you’ll get to magic.


  1. I just love this post. You have completely inspired me to say yes more, as I’m always saying no, no, no, because like you say, I always think there’s a hundred and one things that I should be doing instead of reading that story or doing that colouring with them. I had a real moment this morning as I realised that my youngest only has 3 weeks left in year 1, and how on earth did that happen because he’s only just started in reception surely? And I got that panic that time is going far too quickly and before I know it, they won’t want to do any of these things with me. Thx for sharing this #sharewithme

  2. Wonderful post! I catch myself saying no all the time as well, and the look on my daughter’s face breaks my heart, especially at the end of the day when all I want to do is get her to bed so I can go to sleep myself. I tell myself to say “yes” more often, but I don’t always do so. This post is a great reminder to focus on the here and now before she’s grown!


  3. We really try this as our girls are really strong willed and if they hear the word ‘no’ they just go into meltdown and don’t listen to the rest. We say yes to the not important things and phrase the other things differently so they understand why x

    1. That is exactly how I have to be with my 3 year old son. NO causes carnage in my house and complete melt down too!

  4. Aw this is lovely. My two are well beyond asking me for one more story or one more hug, and to be honest I do miss those days now. Luckily I did give in a say yes a bit more. 😉
    Morgan x

  5. Awww. You hit me right in the feels, lady.
    They won’t always want what they want right now. Giving in and taking the time to appreciate our littles is so important! <3

  6. Have to say in the past I have often answered no to something and then wish I hadn’t, but no meant no, so will let it go at that point and then maybe half an hour later suggest “why dont we go and ……..” and let them do ot.

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