Young boy stretching

Last Updated on March 21, 2024

“Pick up your toys. Who left this glass on the coffee table? Hang up your jacket. No, not now.” 

Do you ever feel like a parrot; repeating the same words every day? Or, perhaps like a grinch who says “no” more often than you say “yes”?  If so, say hello to two words that power up your instructions and let you say “yes” more often. 

Say Hello to “Yes, After”

“Mimi, will you play with me?” My nine year old grandson woke before the rest of the family and found me in my study where I was having my morning prayer and Bible reading time. After giving him a big smile, “good morning, and bear hug, I started to say, “No, not right now, but I will in a few minutes.”

Rather than say that, though, I said, “Yes, I’d love to play with you after I finish reading in my Bible. Come join me.” Logan got what he wanted, a “yes” that I’d play with him. I got what I wanted – to play after I finished reading. It was a win for both of us, with the added bonus that he joined me for my Bible reading time. 

“Yes, After” Can Help You and Can Help Develop Good Habits in Your Child

Consider the following situations and how choosing the second Mom Response is a win for you and your child. 

Situation 1

Child: Mom, can Steven come over and play?

Mom Response 1:  No. I have a stack of laundry to fold and put away and need to run the vacuum before dad gets home. 

Mom Response 2: Yes, after you fold and put away your clothes that are in the dryer. While you do that, I’ll run the vacuum.

Situation 2

Child:  Mom, can I have a cookie? 

Mom Response 1:  No. You haven’t finished your meal. 

Mom Response 2: Yes, after you eat your spinach. 

Situation 3

Child:  Mom, can I be excused and go play?

Mom Response 1:  No, your sister is still eating. 

Mom Response 2: Yes, after everyone else finishes. Besides, I want to hear about your day. 

Situation 4

Child:  Mom, can I watch TV?

Mom Response 1: No. Your room’s a mess and you left your plate on the table after I told you to take it to the kitchen. 

Mom Response 2: Yes, after you put your plate in the dishwasher and your sports bag and shoes in the car for tomorrow. 

Implementing the words, “yes, after” is advantageous to our children and to us. They help teach our children responsibility, manners, priorities, and values. “Yes, Logan, I’d love to play with you after I finish reading my Bible. Come sit beside me and read this verse with me.”

Your Turn

Think through a typical “ask” you get from your child. Now, fill in the blank with a responsibility or habit you’re helping them develop. Please share your example in the Comments so we can pick up tips from one another. 

Your Child to You: Mom, can I __________________________________________________________________

You to Child: Yes, after ________________________________________________________________________

Can we always say, “yes”? Of course not, nor should we. Our children need to hear and understand that our “no” is “no.” But, a “yes, after” can sometimes be a welcomed response that also develops good habits in our children. 

“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; And confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands”

Psalm 90:17