Bossy Kids

By Kate Riley August 21, 2012

Yesterday we started a new tradition, one I just came up with when I woke up and realized there was only one real last day of summer left.  I decided I was not going to set the pace for the last day, but instead it was ‘Kids Are The Boss’ day.  The rules were simple, no buying new toys and nothing too far away, just pick five things you want to do and we will do them.

The wide eyed looks of “What’s wrong with Mom?” turned into smiles of glee as they conspired and whispered among themselves to decide what were those five things they wanted to do.   Then they made their announcement, here were their choices:

Destination #1, The Candy Store.    We have a great candy store downtown which offers every kind of candy you could ever want in the world and plays the Willy Wonka movie all day long.  I knew this was coming.

willy wonka movie

powells candy store


Destination #2: The Park   I confess I get tired of repeated visits to the park but when the kids are boss, it’s a required stop. 

park visit


Destination #3, Frozen Treats   No objections from me!

frozen treat 

Destination #4, Miniature Golf    I haven’t done this in ten years, so it was fun for me too, plus we did a little bumper boat action at the end getting soaked in the process.

miniature golf

My girl has mad mini golf skills, she got two hole-in-one puts and even won herself a free round of golf on the last hole when she made the money shot!

kids miniature golf


Destination #5   Swimming (but of course)   An afternoon dip the pool ended the ‘Kids are the Boss’ day and on the ride home the talk was “This was the best day ever.”   

swim team

Kids are so easy to please.  All you have to do is make them the boss.  :)

How are you spending your last days of summer?




  1. I love this idea. When I have kids in a few years and they go off to school I definitely want to do this and make it a tradition. I would’ve loved this as a child!

  2. This is an awesome idea! I think I will make this a tradition in our house too. I’m pretty sure I already know my kids’ 5 choices: a trip to the YMCA, being allowed to use playdough, a Mcdonald’s Happy Meal, Hide & Seek, and the back yard sprinkler, but maybe they will surprise me. :)

    You are a super cool mom, I love your son’s face at the playground!

  3. I love this idea, Kate! We’re actually heading out your way (kids-free!) next week, hitting up Vancouver, Seattle, Crater Lake, Sonoma, and San Fran. Your Sonoma-in-a-day post was really helpful and we have reservations at El Dorado and The Girl and the Fig. Not a bad way to end the summer :)

    • Sounds so fun Jennifer, you’ll love Sonoma and The Girl & The Fig! Be sure to pop into SummerVine across the street, one of my favorite shops!

  4. That’s a great idea kate! I am so sure there’ll be more requests for days like this in your household. I’ll do this with mine one of these days. ;-)

  5. What a fantastic idea! My kids would LOVE a day like this… Our school starts back on the 4th of September, so we have time to fit a day like that in… thanks for a great idea :)

  6. I absolutely love this idea! I have a tradition with my son to bring him out for a special back to school treat day the week before school starts every year. We’re doing our day out on Friday and really looking forward to it, I’ll have to squeeze some candy and icecream treats in too (for me as much as him!)

  7. Cute! You are making lasting memories. My mom used to take us to Farrell’s for ice cream right before school started every year.

  8. What a fun idea! You’re a great mom and I’m sure your kids will remember this for ages. I still remember one year during spring break when my brothers’ and my friends were all gone on extravagant trips and my mom took us to Costco and said we could buy whatever food we wanted. We thought it was fantastic!

  9. What a fun idea/surprise for your kids! Although I will admit at first I started to panic because I thought that was a picture of your TV with all the candy they brought home. I’m sure your kids won’t forget this and it will become a new family tradition.

  10. What an awesome idea! I have a five year old little girl and five year old step son. Your little ones are a bit older but makes me wonder what a pair of five year olds would think to do if they were made bosses.

  11. Such a wonderful idea for kids! I love how you gave them control for the day….kids don’t often have control over anything…so I am sure that it was a refreshing change for them! Have a lovely week! Angie xo

  12. We love Powell’s. My kids have been riding bikes to the Windsor Town Green all summer and they never come back without going to Powell’s. They don’t bring me anything though….

  13. What a great idea!! Sounds like your girl needs to go on the pro tour! (I cheat at mini golf) Natalie started 1st grade today with mixed reviews. ;) Maybe I’ll take them for ice cream after dinner.

  14. Our kids picked ‘sheet forts’ (you put a box fan on one end and seal all the sides so that the fort fills with air), a trip to the pool and then ice cream downtown. So cool that what they really want is to spend time together :)

  15. Yep – you are making great memories for your kiddos! Sounds like it was a fun day for all.

  16. I love this. There is actually a book called, Yes Day. Similar concept. I have been meaning to do a yes day with my kids. I like the idea of it being the last day of summer. Why not go out with a bang?

    • Thank you Megan, I’ll check it out! It’s fun to turn rules on their heads and let them be “in charge” for a day!

  17. This is a fabulous idea … besides being fun for the kids, it helps them with decision making and also lets them feel in control from time to time. My kids are grown now but, I’ll tuck this away for future grandchildren. You sound like a wonderful mom.

  18. I love this idea, I will make my children boss this saturday! Thank you for the inspiration!!

  19. If I was a kid, I’d love to live at your house…beautiful home and a wonderful mom inside.

    For me, saying “yes” is one of the hardest things to do as a parent. I love that you took a whole day to say “yes” to your kids. I am definitely going to borrow this end of summer idea.

    On a similar vein, I wrote about how much I love libraries because they are the one place that I always say “yes” to my kids…as in “yes, you can have that book, any book.”

  20. what a great day – and you’re an awesome mom! although, if I were looking on those sweet faces in the last picture, I might cave to “boss for a WEEK”.

  21. Haha, when I first started reading this post I thought the movie was playing at your own house and that the kids had asked you to buy all that candy. :) It looks like it was a super fun day! What a fun way to say goodbye to summer and welcome the start of a new school year!

  22. Because I’m the mother of teenagers, I’d refrain from ever letting my young kids “be the boss”, even if for only a day, but I fully support the idea of letting them choose fun things to do on their last day of summer vacation. I’m sure your kids will always remember the fun they had this day and will talk about it for years to come. :)

  23. Ha! I feel the same way about parks. But more so about pools. While I love swimming I hate the hassle of packing, getting ready, getting there, dealing with the inevitable incidents that arise, and then the peeling off and storing of wet layers and getting said wet layers into the washing machine before they start to mold? No? Just me.

    Kudos on being a SuperMom. And Kudos to your kids for choosing a great list of fun activities. I want to go to that candy store immediately.

  24. What a fun idea! We don’t really have a tradition for the day before school starts, but we always read “The Kissing Hand” the night before the first day. It’s such a sweet book, and it reminds the kids that I love them even when I’m not with them.

  25. Chuckle – awesome – we’re stealing this idea. I just forwarded this to my wife so we can plan doing something like this on the weekend with our 3 and 5 year old boys, before they start school next week…

  26. We ended our summer with exactly the same thing: Anything he wanted to do, and he loved it. Swimming, as much Wii as we all could take, pool and ice cream to end the day. It was great….and their smiles are the best payoff!

  27. I’m trying to imagine how I could incorporate this idea into my private home daycare setting. May not work because I also have little ones that need to nap. That doesn’t mean I won’t try to figure out a way to make it happen though. It’s a wonderful idea to do with your own kids though and they will probably make this happen for their future children too.

  28. P.S: Your children are so cute. Your daughter looks just like you (I’m sure you’ve been told that more than once)

  29. BUY THE TABLE! If you love it so much, don’t let a mere $800 stop you from having it. (Save money in other ways until you’ve made up the $800 somewhere else. A couple of months of not eating out can net you $800 easily!) “Kids Are the Boss” day is awesome, and I think we’ll have to steal that idea from you!!

  30. What a fantastic idea! I work outside the home, but I always take a couple days off right before schools starts. This idea is going on the calendar for next year!

  31. This is a great idea! We celebrated our last day of summer yesterday with a trip to the zoo. We spent the whole day there! I posted today about how while there, my friend and I realized our kids are growing up!

  32. This is crazy but as soon as you mentioned the candy store that plays Willy Wonka all day, I knew where you were talking and see the store’s name in the picture. I grew up 30 minutes from you! Small world.
    Looks like a super fun day!

  33. Such a great idea! I can’t wait to do this with my kids someday!
    Your kids have great taste in summer-fun activities! Looks like they had a blast!

  34. My mom did this with me and my sisters when I was growing up. We called it “Kid’s Day” and it yielded some of my most treasured childhood memories. I now celebrate the same “holiday” with my daughter each year… It’s so amazing! Love, love, love it!

  35. I wish I would have thought of this myself. My kids are older (9th and 7th grades) and have already started school but would have loved to boss Mom around for a day. Definitely will save for next summer…and yes, a stop at Powells (we live in Burlingame) will certainly make the list! Thanks for the idea.

  36. I have had a mad busy summer that included being evacuated from a wildfire so I have missed MANY of your wonderful posts…trying to catch up now! Have to say that your boss for a day was priceless! What a fabulous gift to your kids (and you)! I am sure that all of you will never forget it. If my girls were younger, they are 21, 25, and 28, I would adopt your idea! Enjoy your kids they grow up WAY too fast!!!!

  37. what a great day…and fun post to read! We have that ‘YES’ book, where the whole day is yes day. My kids fantasize about it…but it makes me nervous. I like the boundaries you set…maybe I’ll have to give it a whirl! Safe travels home!

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