In the circle of parents that I surround myself, we often discuss if we should reward students for good grades. Some feel that doing well in school is expected. Working hard and getting good grades in return is the reward in itself. Others feel that everyone who works is rewarded in some way, so why not students? Add to this quandary, students who have to work harder to get good grades: children with learning disabilities, children who take honors classes, children who have behavior issues in school.
Should You Reward for Good Grades?
Parents have to make the personal decision whether to reward their children for good grades. It may change over time, especially depending on the grade level of your child, your child’s interest in school, and difficulty with specific subject matter. According to a study by the University of Toronto and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, money rewards created only a limited boost in grades. (Please note these were college students.)
I’ve done both – rewarded and not rewarded my children for their grades. One of my daughters was given money by her school for a standardized test before the media caught wind of it and it was disallowed. When I rewarded my daughters, they were going through a difficult time in school and their grades had dropped significantly. Rewards, such as stickers and small gifts worked when they were in elementary school. Money worked for a short time when they were older and in middle school. In high school rewards didn’t matter.
How to Reward Your Child
Learn from teachers and school administration and use rewards to motivate your children to accomplish what they can achieve. For example, if your son regularly gets D’s in Math, has a Math tutor and does extra work in this subject each week, rewarding him for completing his Math homework for the week makes more sense than rewarding him for an A grade.
Be sure that your child is excited about the incentive. Provide choices that interest your child and that you can live up to. Having choices for the end of the week reward encourages children. Don’t forget about praising your children for their effort. Children never forget those kind words. Focus on the effort, the learning and the improvement, not just the end result.
Types of Rewards
There are many different choices of rewards for your children’s good grades and hard work. Some examples are:
- Sticker System in which specific increments equal a reward decided on by parent and child
- Extra TV, Outdoor, Video Game Time, and Other Privileges
- Choice of Dinner Food, TV Show, Family Activity, etc.
- Toys, Games, Books, etc.
- Special Night or Day Out Alone with Parent
Making the decision to reward your child for good grades is up to parents. If you choose to go this route, remember to focus on motivating your child, and to concentrate on the effort your child puts into all aspects of his school work and not just the end result of the report card grade.