Jennifer Garner on why she says ‘yes’ to her children one day a year

Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor
·3-min read

Jennifer Garner has said she spends one day a year saying ‘yes’ to everything her children ask for, including buying lottery tickets and junk food and camping in the garden, because there are “so many nos implied in a kid’s life”.

The 13 Going On 30 actress, who shares three children with ex-husband Ben Affleck – Violet, 15, Seraphina, 12, and Samuel, nine, adopted the tradition of a ‘yes day’ after reading the children’s book of the same name by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrator Tom Lichtenheld.

In the book, parents say yes to every request, as long as it is not dangerous or illegal, for 24 hours and Garner said it was a huge hit with her family.

It has also inspired a film, also called Yes Day, and stars Garner, 48, and The Undoing’s Edgar Ramirez as the parents who reluctantly agree to give in to their three children’s wishes for a day – including dressing up in wild costumes, water balloon fights and a trip to a theme park.

She told the PA news agency: “I read the book to my kids and my middle daughter just loved this calendar in it that says all the nos, and at the very end it says yes on the last day.

“It’s very easy to think of yes day as only being over the top and, granted, we are a wish fulfilment movie, but I really have learned over nine years of doing yes days with my kids, that it’s little things.

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“Like, ‘When the car is parked, can I put my head out of the sunroof? Can I sit in the front seat and turn all the knobs?’ You don’t even realise how many nos are implied in a kid’s life, because they’ve heard it so many times they’ve stopped asking. So it’s just letting that free and just having a little bit of fun, staying up late, choosing the cereal at the grocery store.

“For my kids, it’s buying lottery tickets, things I would never do, or stopping at a gas station and letting them get junk food and lottery tickets, things like that.

“And it’s the energy of giving your entire attention to your kids for an entire day with a whole lot of yes, yes, yes – that is what it’s really about. Although the big stuff is fun too.”

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Discussing some highlights from over the years, she adds: “My kids’ yes days have always ended in a late night out in the backyard,” she says with a smile over Zoom.

“We have ours in August, almost always, at the end of summer when I’ve run out of anything fun to do and they just need to go back to school, and we are trying to fight our way there.

“Having a s’more (campfire treat) in the backyard all together and playing flashlight tag and then going to sleep in a tent in the backyard, it’s just that you’ve earned the feeling of cosiness by the end of the day that is special.”

Yes Day is released on Netflix on March 12.