Details for FAMILY FOCUS COVER 8

Pros and cons
to giving kids
allowances

P

arents can employ various
strategies, including
assigning chores, to
instill a sense of responsibility
in their children. The natural
segue from chores is to offer
compensation for the jobs that
children are doing.
Allowances can provide
foundations for parents to
teach kids about working for
a living. Kids are able to grasp
the concept that money doesn’t
come without hard work. Also,
allowances paint the picture
that one’s financial resources
are commensurate with the
effort he or she puts in. Giving
allowances also can help teach
children how to manage money,
plan ahead and make spending
choices about what’s most
important,
according to the parenting
guide Raise Smart Kids.
Allowances can be tough
to figure out. For example,
parents may not know how
to determine the rate and

frequency of payouts.
According to Lewis Mandell, a
former dean of business at the
State University of New York
at Buffalo, giving a child an
allowance, especially a regular,
unconditional allowance that
the child can depend on, isn’t
the right way to approach
allowances. Children may begin
to view this allowance as an
entitlement. In fact, Mandell’s
research on teens in the United
States, Canada, Europe, and
Australia found, without
exception, that teens who
received a regular unconditional
allowance had diminished
financial literacy, lower levels
of motivation and an increased
aversion to work.
But when handled properly,
allowances can be important
tools. Here are some additional
benefits to allowances.
•Allowances can provide
incentive to get chores done.
•Allowances can motivate
students to work hard at
school.
•Allowances can include a
required portion to be donated,
teaching kids the importance of
being charitable.
Learning the correlation
between work and
compensation is a lesson that
starts in childhood. Allowances
can be an important part of
kids’ early financial education.

Family cycling:
An enjoyable escape

G

oing for a bike ride is
one of the best ways for
people to exercise in fresh
air. Cycling is not only earthconscious and convenient, but it
also is a fun and popular activity
that anyone can enjoy.
Around 1.6 million residents of
New York City ride a bike at least
once a month, and in Portland,
bike riding rose by 3 percent each
year since 2012, according to
Bikemunk, a website dedicated
to helping people understand
bikes, especially in the context of
making a purchase. The Alliance
for Biking & Walking discovered
that 0.6 percent of all commuters
in the United States biked to work
in 2013, up from 0.5 percent in
2009 and 0.4 percent in 2005.
But many people are embracing
cycling as an entertaining form of
recreation that the entire family
can enjoy.
Adults may have fond memories
of their own cycling adventures
as children that they want to pass
down to their kids. Since families
may feature cyclists with various
levels of experience, it can be safe
to employ certain strategies in the
hopes that everyone gets the most
out of their time in the cycling
saddle.
Buy the right bikes. Take time
to research different brands of
bicycles and what they offer.
Some bikes are ideal for streets
or paved trails, while others are
better for rustic roads and trails.
A qualified bike retailer can help
shoppers find the right bike for

them and their families, ensuring
everyone in the family is riding
the right size bike and the one
commensurate with their skill
level.
Limit the distance. Children
won’t be able to put in as many
miles as their parents or older
siblings. Limit cycling excursions
to a reasonable amount of time
so youngsters’ health is not
compromised.
Focus on fun. Consider what
kids will get out of the trip and
gear the afternoon around that.
Choose a path that leads riders to
a playground or one that circles
a scenic lake. Make your cycling
excursion more of an afternoon
out than a marathon biking
session.
Take frequent breaks. Little legs
may not be able to keep up, and
adults will need to anticipate
stopping along the way.
Know the terrain. Stick to routes
you have ridden before. Leave the
more intense courses that include
extreme climbs and dips for those
times when kids are not in tow.
Stick to lightly trafficked routes,
or travel during off-peak hours.
Consult with trail guides and read
reviews as well.
Check bikes before departing.
Make sure tires are inflated and
everything else is in working
order. Bring a small tool kit along
in case a repair needs to be made.
Cycling as a family can be an
enjoyable way to spend an
afternoon and get some exercise.

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