Book: Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma

Today’s book review also comes with a neat little TV segment interview to give you a better idea of the topic of the book. Kay Wills Wyma actually goes to our church and is one of the teachers at the study I attend during the fall and spring. However, this book isn’t a “Christian” book – it’s a book about Kay’s life and an experiment she did with her kids. This book was not a “how to” or a “what to do”. It reads more like a blog than anything… and it is a blog too: The Moat Blog.

Kay realized a few years ago, to her horror, that her kids ages 2-14 years old were really unable to do even some of the most basic things on their own. She started seriously thinking of how our children are affected in the long term when we tend to do things “for” them instead of teaching them how to do those things themselves. We are afraid they’ll fail or they won’t do it right. Or we rescue them from situations they could have learned from. She has an article in the New York Times this week called Let Them Climb Trees (and Fall).

“Cleaning House” is a book documenting Kay’s journey to teach her kids some basic skills and how she watched them grow in confidence and capability, even when they resisted and failed along the away. In the end, the whole family gained a whole new set of skills and a whole new “can do” outlook on life.

I loved that this book made me laugh, sympathize, and keep reading! In fact, I had a book club book I was “supposed” to be reading at the same time but I kept putting it down to read this book instead! It’s a highly readable and relatable book. I plan to hang on to my copy and refer to it often over the years to help remind me to teach my kids to learn and fail on their own. I am already practicing this on the playground with my 2.5 and 1 year old, as I let them climb and play on their own. I’ve actually already done this most of their lives, so that when they fall sometimes now, they are able to brush themselves off and keep going, for the most part. There’s a bonus to letting your kids do more on their own, too – if they’re still napping, they seem to take better naps after a good independent playing session!

I’d love to hear if you’ve read this book and loved it as much as I did or if you plan to read it too!




NOTE: I did receive a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review, but all opinions are my own. If I didn’t like it, I promise I would tell you.

3 thoughts on “Book: Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma”

  1. Yes, this school of thought pays off. My now 15-yr-old could most likely take care of himself completely, and the house, if I were to run off to France for a month. Plus, he’s not rattled at all if he can’t do something the first time. Let ’em fall down. Let ’em screw up. Then you say “Ok, now try it again a different way.” It encourages problem-solving and self-sufficiency. 

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