Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Review is In :: Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma

Is childhood entitlement becoming a problem in your home? Are you looking for a solution to encourage kids to take responsibilities and chores seriously? If so, you have got to read Kay Wills Wyma's Cleaning House, a mom's 12 month experiment to rid her home of youth entitlement. But, you don't have to take my word for it.

"In an age of youth entitlement, this is a must read for moms who desire to raise godly kids with servant hearts!" - Joe White, president of Kanakuk Kamps

"Parents, take note: Kay Wills Wyma's experiment could change your life, especially if your kids suffer from 'me first!' syndrome. If you want your children to be more responsible, more self-assured, and more empathetic, Cleaning House is for you." - Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family

Kay begins Cleaning House with her newly discovered epiphany: her children don't appreciate what they have and they definitely don't understand where their possessions truly come from. She feels they believe they are 'owed' things. Her biggest push to change the way her household runs is when her eight year old son asks one day, "Why should I make my bed? That's your job!"

As a stay-at-home mother of five in the age range of three to fourteen, Kay was at her wits end. She decided to redo her thinking and implemented changes forever altering her family's lives. She set up a rewards and loss system strictly dependant on the children and her actions for each day of the month. She began each month with a challenge and $30 in a jar. If the monthly challenge was met each day, the money stayed in the children's jars. If the goal was not met daily, money was removed from the jar and paid to Kay for services rendered. It didn't take long for the kids to catch on.

The tasks Kay assigned her family were simple, but worth knowing and doing correctly. She wanted her children to gain something more than responsibility - she wanted them to gain self-confidence, understanding, respect, and a sense of pride in their accomplishments. She hoped, through their constant positive actions, her children would come to reap the rewards of their hard work; as well as build a stronger relationship with their siblings.

The Cleaning House challenge for the Wyma family included the following tasks to be mastered: make a bed and maintain an orderly room, cook and clean the kitchen, do yard work, clean a bathroom, get a job, do laundry, do handy man tasks, host a party, work together, run errands, put others first through service, and act mannerly. Kay didn't ask her children to do all of these things on Day One; she gradually worked up to these objectives throughout the year.

I really enjoyed the way Kay set up her book. She went beyond just discussing how she got her children to participate each month; she included in every chapter advice from her "Ironing Board," a group of special friends, what her children learned at the end of the month, as well as what she learned. She also added wonderfully inspiring quotes, as well as great links to resources.

One of my favorite chapters in the book deals with teaching the children to cook and clean up a kitchen. Every child must prepare an evening meal once a week. Of course, she helps the younger children, but even they must pick out a recipe and go shopping for the ingredients. I enjoyed Kay using these lessons as teaching moments every chance she got. Her youngest child was unfamiliar with a grocery store and the definition of produce. Her eldest child tried to get by with purchasing the family dinner because he was not confident in his cooking abilities.

Even if your children help out around the house, I believe your family can glean something positive from Cleaning House. I'm not sure I would implement the monetary system used in this experiment, but I did like the ideas behind it and how Kay tried to teach her children fiscal responsibility along with mastering tasks. I highly recommend this book for all stay-at-home parents as we (the larger communal we) often times tend to do the work for our children instead of allowing them to do things for themselves. I'm also very glad Kay Wills Wyma cared to shared her story with all of us.

Here is your opportunity to read the first chapter of Cleaning House.

{I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.}

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