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Working Together

Last week, I was at a brain storming session for a top Nigerian seasoning brand and the conversation veered towards the average age when children start learning to cook in Nigeria. There was quite an argument as everyone had varying opinions. There were those who thought that a child who could boil rice at twelve was outstanding. There were others who thought that children must start learning earlier. So I asked someone what the difference was, between a child who could cook and one who couldn’t. “Skills”, came the reply. I disagreed and explained that the difference usually was that one was taught and the other wasn’t.
I understand that in this fast paced world where couples usually are both working, we may not have so much time to spend with our kids to begin with, let alone teach them how to get domestic work done. But western propaganda aside, the truth is that ours is a society where you do not want to be a grown female who cannot cook or a grown male who cannot change a car battery. I mean even oyibo women expect their husbands to come home and fix broken pipes, blenders, electronics and the likes. And let’s face it, no matter where you’re from, it doesn’t hurt to know how to get things done around the house.
Growing up, I remember my mom would sit in our bathroom every Saturday to wash our clothes. She would get a stool beside her and make me sit to wash my own casuals. (I am the first child so being male did not matter). Usually she would re-wash them, but she made me wash them first anyway-just to get me accustomed to this chore. In the same manner, she would make me stay in the kitchen with her, bringing this and rinsing that, with time my role was expanded to stirring, peeling, salting, seasoning and the likes until she began to let me cook somethings on my own.
I have met two and three year olds who are simply amazing at doing things around the house and I think the secret is that their parents encourage them to. Some might think that you should wait till they are of a certain age before teaching them to participate in house chores but I think it’s never too early. Besides children usually are more intelligent and willing to help around the house than we think.

Never under estimate the power of Leading by example. Let you children help out as you do things around the house. Even toddlers can help, and you’ll have the added benefit of mentoring and having fun at the same time. If you are washing plates for instance, they can help you place them in the rack. Or if you are spreading clothes to dry outdoors, they can help you fetch and hold clothespins. You can begin to engage them with minor tasks and heavy supervision, and as time goes on, increase the tasks while reducing supervision. Before long, you will be a proud parent of a responsible young adult. It’s never too early to start, and definitely never too late!

Seun Martinson
Stuff Kids Do 7493724130914578640

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