Daily Trust (Abuja)

29 December 2012

Nigeria: Why Should Boys Do Chores?

The fact that boys should do chores is one that many may consider a non-issue as for them every child must have some daily task or the other to do a home on a daily basis no matter how little. Regardless how strongly many parents feel about this, there are still some who don't think boys should do as much chores as girls do. Parents spoke on how they get their sons to participate as much as their girls with doing chores.

Requiring that boys are left out of certain chores is a matter of debate. Some believe a male child should be treated as such and not be required to do chores. Others believe he could benefits from doing regular chores which gives him a sense of confidence, responsibility and prepares him for the task of caring and cleaning up for himself and also bonding with the family.

Most parents agree however, that boys should be given tasks which should also be age appropriate and not be so time consuming that it interferes with key areas like homework and socializing.

Mary Osita said she believes that if her son does chores at home, it is a foundation he is building to be responsible. "I have twin sons and then a third. As soon as they were old enough, between ages 4 and 5, I assigned them chores. They had work to do individually, and as a team."

The thirty four year-old said, they did things like keeping their own rooms clean, "making their beds, watering our small vegetable farm behind the house and setting the table for times when we had meals together.

"Individually, they took turns to feed the d and sweep the living room. From this age until they turned ten, I did every thing with them supervising and teaching them how to do these things properly. They still had plenty of time for their homework, friends and to do other things they wanted."

The nursery school teacher added that, "Once they went to boarding house and came on holidays they began doing the chores themselves.

"Now they are almost through with secondary school, I see the benefits of teaching them early to have tasks at home and working with them as well as them working together. They have built a bond which I am so envious of."

Zayan Mudashiru thinks it's especially important for children to learn to clean up after themselves, boys inclusive. "But the chores should be age appropriate," the forty year-old father of four said. "I personally think that they need to be groomed to do housework before socializing.

"My wife and I drew up a timetable that gives our son and daughters balanced time for chores, homework and play. During the week their chores are very light and on weekends we all work together. For the three oldest who are in secondary school, there is more for them to do than their baby sister who is in her last year of primary school.

"There is no segregation as to what chore is meant for the girls alone and what the boy can do alone. My son is the oldest and started helping in the kitchen before the girls joined."

Canice Iroha said it's good to teach children of all ages to clean up after themselves and help around the house. "My son likes to help me with chores that way we spend time together. As a five year-old, he has learnt that it doesn't take long to clear his dishes from the table, put dirty cloths in the laundry basket or put his toys away. But this came as a result of our insisting he did them rather than leave it to the girls as he once commented.

'Age appropriate' Rukky Ilyasu said is the key word when assigning tasks to children, particularly boys. She said, "Sometimes when you have a boy of nine and a girl of the same age, there is the tendency for some parents to give the boy more to do than the girl. It is important for them to remember that he is still a child and has a limit to how much he can do.

It shouldn't end at this, the twenty two year old sociology graduate said. "Consistency matters as well. Make the chores fun so that they don't get bored. Also, they will look forward to doing them more often than if they considered it a pain."

Ilyasu said, more can be achieved from them by praising and showing appreciation when they make efforts to do things.

Parents generally insist that there should be no segregation regarding what chores boys should be exposed to and what girls should do.

For a balanced development they insist that it is best to expose them early in their years to chores which allows them have a good sense of responsibility and self-confidence while being mindful of their ages and limits.

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