Years ago, when Jennifer Garner started giving her kids a "Yes Day," she had no idea it would lead to a family film on Netflix.
The annual tradition, which became cherished by her kids — Violet, 15, Seraphina, 12, and son Sam, 8, with ex-husband Ben Affleck — was initially inspired by the children's book Yes Day! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. "I read it to my little daughter when she was 3," Garner, 48, tells PEOPLE. "And her big wish all the time was, 'I just want a yes day. I just want a yes day.'"
During a "Yes Day," kids are not told "no" for any request (within reason — every household is advised to have a few parental safeguards in place). "I love that it's always the little things that kids care about," Garner says. "It's just a little breaking of the rules. It's like staying in the driveway but putting your head out of the sunroof and just standing there with the car off and seeing what that looks like. Or sitting in the front seat while you drive around a parking lot somewhere. Or getting lottery tickets and Doritos if you stop for gas."
Turning the beloved best-seller and now-Garner tradition into a Netflix family comedy costarring Edgar Ramirez, Jenna Ortega, Julian Lerner and Everly Carganilla was "such a no-brainer," adds the actress, who also serves as a producer for the film. "It all just seemed so obvious. And it has all the way through. When we would go into Netflix and say we need an international Day of Yes, they're like, 'Yes, of course we do.' We all do. And that was before the world stopped. Now we need it more than ever."
For her family's "Yes Day," Garner puts away her phone and "has things kind of set up to coordinate their asks since I have a six-year age gap with one on either side and one in the middle," she explains. "And so once a year is golden. They can come up with what they need and want on that day."
When her kids say, "'Can I do your hair and makeup? I say, 'Yes! Top priority,'" she says. "And when they say, 'Can you please make us waffles and ice cream for breakfast?' I say, 'Top priority. You got it. Yes!' So it's just my energy and their silly requests are my absolute top priority in the world and I say that over and over the whole day. It's just a fun tradition."
Almost every "Yes Day" for Garner has ended in the family's backyard after sunset in exactly the same way: "In a tent playing chicken foot with dominoes, which my kids call chicken butt," she adds, laughing. "After a day that has been totally focused on them."
Yes Day is now streaming on Netflix.
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