The “Yes Mommy” Game

The "Yes Mommy" Game

When I stayed home part time with my kids when they were younger, the quote, “The hours are long and the years go fast” (I am fairly certain that is not exactly how it goes…) was eerily accurate. I absolutely loved it and it was the craziest I had ever felt. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the fact that both of these could be true at exactly the same time. I imagine there are a lot of us that feel this right now. We have been thrown not only into full time parenting but full time teaching on top of it and if the memes I am seeing on social media accurately reflect our feelings about this, it’s HARD!! 

Brandy Freeland, a mama of some of my favorite kids, two of whom have special needs and a current BCBA student (You’ve got this Brandy!) taught me a life changing game that I would like to share with you today. This game is called the “Yes Mommy” game. The idea behind this is that our children get to practice listening to us and being compliant BEFORE we actually need them to. If we can practice giving directions and the practiced response becomes, “Yes Mommy” or Daddy or Grammy or any name that is appropriate, it will become more habitual and more likely that this will be the response when you give a novel direction. 

Here’s how you play-

You get a small treat (we used mini chocolate chips) that your kids really like and that they only can access when you are playing this game. You sit them down in a designated spot and explain that you are going to play the “Yes Mommy” game. You will give directions and if your child says, “Yes mommy” before they complete the direction, they get access to one piece of the candy (or whatever you have chosen as your reinforcer). If they follow the directions but don’t say the words, “Yes mommy” they don’t get a piece. We keep this silly and fun so there isn’t melting down when this happens. I say something like, “Oh no! You forgot to say, “Ok mommy”, we need to do another one quick!”. 

Then the fun comes in. The directions that you use for this activity are silly and fun. You can use things like, “pretend you are picking your nose” or, “spin around in a circle”. The idea is to make it fun so that your kids enjoy following the directions and practice the response! 

If you have questions or want to brainstorm more of what this looks like, send us a message or email

I hope this brings some sanity and giggles to your day!

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