What’s a “Yes!” Space?


When We had our first child…

I started voraciously reading about all things childcare. It turns out there are a lot of different parenting styles with ardent followers. There are books and blogs and social media groups and endless sources of information on how to not screw up your children. Here’s the thing though. Every child is different. And every parent is different. So I picked and chose from all the philosophies and mostly just learned to listen to and trust my intuition. One suggested technique we followed that made a ton of sense to me was creating a “Yes” Space.

Babies and toddlers hear a lot of "No!" and "Don't touch that!" and "Be careful!" A Yes Space is a carefully crafted area that is safe for babies and small children where everything is a "Yes!" Yes to moving your body freely, yes to experimenting with how you want to hold and use your toys, yes to staring off in wonder without interruption. Yes to falling down on a soft surface and getting back up again. Children then make discoveries about how the world works, how their bodies work, what they can do and how they learn - all on their own. The parent is not (in that moment) actively participating. This is how they build confidence, innovation, resilience, and coping skills.

In the case of a Yes Space, the boundaries are very clear, physical boundaries – a fence, a gate, a playpen. You’re either in or you’re out. That’s the simple beauty of it. Within that well defined space, with limited options available, anything is possible.